Life Lessons: Finding Balance

Life Lessons: Finding BalanceAt the start of this year, I found myself without a job.  The contract I had been working under expired at the end of 2016.  I knew it was coming, but I just couldn’t bring myself to jump head on into searching for another “career job”.  I was a little burnt out, to say the least.  The sad part is that it wasn’t really the job, although I had a big project to finish and it came down to the wire.  The burnout came from the fact that I have crappy life balancing skills.  So, I started out the year Finding Balance in my life.

Finding Balance Through Creativity

After evaluating my life, my first priority was to have more time to express myself creatively.  Most forms of creative expression were squeezed into my time.  It is something I allow myself to do when I felt that I have gotten the “more important” things done.  I know that expressing my creativity feeds my soul, and shouldn’t be put on the back burner.

However, when it came to work, I used all of my creative energy getting “my job”done.  While this made me outstandingly good at my job, it left me feeling drained most of the time.  I just simply didn’t have the energy at the end of the day to explore any other creative avenues.

One of the key driving forces in starting Mama Cranberry, was to stretch my creativity to a written form.  I’ve also had to learn to express myself on social media, as well as through other electronic media.  However, it has become painfully obvious to me that I have slipped a little bit, turning blogging into a “job”.  Falling into the trap of spending hours, upon hours working social media outlets and focusing my posts on more mainstream topics.

Setting Aside Time For Creativity

Recently, I have started scheduling time for creativity.  I came to the realization that over half the year is gone and I haven’t done anything.  I started by creating a weekly schedule, that forces me to work on my blog during “working hours”.  My new schedule also has a day set aside for working on something creative.  I have learned that if I don’t schedule it, it just won’t happen.

I decided to start with a small leather working project.  Leather working is a new creative avenue for me.  I made a large map of my dad’s favorite mountain places last year, as a Christmas present.  This time, I decided to make a small pouch.  I am super excited that I was able to get this done in just two afternoons!

First Leather Working Project

Leather Pouch
Leather Pouch with hand painted designs. I created the patterns, and did all of the stitching by hand.  I had to create a stencil for the Eagle design (based on an image found on the internet), and the flowers are completely free handed.

Getting Grounded In Nature

Earlier this spring I started going hiking once a week.  At first it felt like I was Playing Hooky, and ditching out on my work.  What I have come to realize it that getting out into the forest every week is imperative to my health and well being.  I feel calmer, more centered and grounded.  Because I have become more aware of the natural cycle of the changing seasons, I feel closer to and more connected with the earth.  When I get out in the woods, I leave all of the worries, dead lines, etc., at home.  For those couple of hours every week, I truly live in the present moment.

Meditating & Finding Balance

I have been attracted to meditation for years.  Before finding Guided Meditation, I struggled with the whole sit down quietly and don’t think method of meditation.  A few years ago I joined a Women’s Meditation Group, that met once a week.  Through this I was exposed to guided and other forms of meditation.  Now my meditation practice includes some guided meditations, as well as being able to sit and silence my mind.  I also occasionally practice “Active Meditation” by doing yoga or tai chi.

Some of the positive benefits I receive from regularly meditating include less stress and clearer focus on my life’s path.  I find that I’m more open to the twists and turns of life, and am working on letting go of the need to control every aspect.  I also stress less, as I’ve learned to recognize when I’m just dwelling on a problem or reaction, and can change my though process.

Scheduling My Time

For as much as I like to control things around me, I’m not much of a scheduler.  I do not use a planner (or 3), and really do not like to have every hour of my day planned and scheduled.  That being said, I have found that I need to do some planning.  So, I plan the major events of my days.  My current “schedule” is something like this:

  • Monday – Set yourself up for success day.  I work on my blog, and do my social media scheduling.  I also get a good mental grasp on what needs to be done around the house.
  • Tuesday – Publish Blog Post and run errands day.
  • Wednesday – Newsletter day, which usually doesn’t take that long.  So, the rest of the day is open to work on house and yard stuff.
  • Thursday – Creative day.  This is the day I have set aside to work on a creative project.  It is still really hard for me to take this time, and not work on other household projects we have going on, but if I don’t set it aside it’ll never happen.
  • Friday – Nature day.  I usually leave after breakfast, and am gone the majority of the day.  ♥

Enjoying “Downtime”

Part of my journey to Finding Balance has also been to have some downtime.  Taking time to just curl up and read a book, or to just sit outside and enjoy the fruits of our labors, has far to often been pushed to the back burner of life.  Even just taking time to enjoy a hot bath or paint my nails typically gets put off to the last minute.    I still feel like I need to justify time spent doing “unproductive” things.  However, since Life is a Journey, Not a Destination, I will continue to work on putting all of this into balance, too.

So, with that thought, I’m going to be done here.  I’ve got a pile of books, and a pedicure waiting for me.

Take a Break

 

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4 thoughts on “Life Lessons: Finding Balance

  1. I am wild about your post and would love to see more of this. I’m a new mom, new blogger and work a full time job elsewhere that I’m not wild about. (How does a girl who hated math in school end up with a career in math?!) Anyways, I used to meditate, be artistic and very outdoorsy, but lately I spend my time CONSUMED with my newborn (as I should) and working on my blog. I’m burning out and quickly.
    Thank you for posting this. It was a gentle push to scheduling “me time.”
    Found your blog through one of our Facebook groups and I’m super excited I found you!

    Lots of warm regards,
    Stacia

    • Stacy, I’m so happy that my post touched you. I can’t wait to check out your blog, too. 🙂 Enjoy your “me time”, it is well earned!

  2. I have been retired for 5 years now and you would think that without a job to do I would have more creative time. But I still find that I sometimes have to stop and make sure that I set aside just time for the things I want to do. We all get caught up in just everyday living.
    Thank you for sharing Heather. Love hearing about how you make life work for you.
    I have just started taking an ai chi class one day a week. (that is something like tai chi in the water. great if you have arthritis). I have set aside Sunday’s as my day. To do a craft project, or read a book or two. Or just putz around and do nothing. Sometimes I can do this though out the week also. But for me it is nice to have that one day set aside.

    • Chris,
      Thank you for sharing. Ai Chi sounds like fun 🙂 I do think it is so important to set aside time for yourself. It is far to easy to get caught up in the day to day “should do’s” and let the “want to’s” fall to the wayside. Enjoy your day ♥

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