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balance « Carolyn Anderson – Wellness & Productivity Expert, Surgeon balance

Posts Tagged ‘balance’

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Energy Management- Keeping the 4R’s- Routine, Relationships, Reach and Rejuvenate in Balance.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

This week’s blog in the Energy management series will deal with the R in ENERGY which represents the 4R’s we must strive to balance in our lives.

The 4R’s are

  • Routine
  • Relationships
  • Reach
  • Rejuvenate

Although I am not certain striving for “balance” in life should be our ultimate goal. I am certain that I am happiest and have the greatest amount of energy when my time in these four areas in life is somewhat balanced.


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Routine

Routine encompasses all of the regular things we do day to day to function. From brushing our teeth, to paying the bills, to buying groceries, to driving the carpool, taking our children to their many activities, to answering email, to returning phone calls, to cooking, to cleaning, to showering, to filing etc… etc…

These routine “To do’s” can be all encompassing. If we are not careful they can take up our entire lives. It always seems like the more we do, the more there is to do. It is a never ending cycle. If we are not careful, we could spend all of our time in routine and never really get to live.

The statement “I have too much to do” has become the rallying cry of a generation of women as we balance career, motherhood and life. I have actually heard people brag about having too much to do and never having any time for themselves.

I was in the supermarket line up last week and the two ladies behind me were going on and on… “I’m so busy,” says the one, “I have to get Jack to soccer school and Emily to dance and I feel like a taxi driver with no time for myself.” Her girlfriend replies, “You think that’s busy, the other day I had to do this …and this and this” and on and on it goes…..

The competition ensues about who has more routine crap to do. It’s odd that some of us think that rushing around like a mad women and having no time to enjoy our lives or really be in the moment is some sort of a badge of honor. It’s like bragging that you never eat vegetables and haven’t used your vacation time in 5 years. It’s crazy. We can address this by making sure that all of our time is not spent in the routine. And by trying when we are in the routine to live in that moment and really embrace and enjoy it as much as possible.

Relationships

FriendshipThe second R is Relationships. Spending time on the important relationships in our lives is essential to maintaining a healthy state of mind and a healthy energy level.

A recent longevity study revealed that people with a number of close friendships live on average 7-8 years longer than those that don’t maintain the strong social connections. Finding time to nurture our relationships with our children, our siblings, our friends, our parents and our significant others will enrich our lives. Spending time with people we truly care for that support and honor us will increase our energy levels. Women tend to embrace their relationships with other women and these connections can often be mutually enlightening and energizing. Make sure you make time for these important connections.

Reach

Reaching is striving to be more. Growing and developing. Reaching is making an effort to step out of our comfort zone. This often involves confronting our fears. Never forget that on the other side of our greatest fears we will find our growth. We often have deep desires and dreams that never see the light of day because of our fears of pursuing them (You can download a free report on overcoming your fears by signing up for my newsletter). I had a number of fears when I was growing up and I used to carry around in my pocket, purse or wallet a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that said,

“You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do that which you think you cannot do.”

Every time I was truly afraid I would pull this out unfold it and read it to myself. Ask yourself honestly when was the last time you did something for the first time? Then reach beyond your comfort zone and go for it. Reach for your true potential.

Rejuvenation

The last R is Rejuvenation. Rejuvenating is spending time on yourself to restore your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Often, we as women, never take the time to look after ourselves. It is the old oxygen in the airplane story. When the oxygen mask comes down you should put your mask on before trying to assist others. You cannot help others if you can’t breathe due to lack of oxygen. Well you can’t help others if you can’t function due to lack of energy. Take some time for you.

Another good rejuvenation ritual is something I call my authentic 30. It is 30 minutes every morning to myself to meditate, do my morning pages (a great book by Julia Cameron called the Artist’s Way recommended just writing something called the morning pages when you awake every morning to release your creativity and passion), stretch, review my goals and plan my day. It has become a ritual I do prior to my workout. It helps me be grounded and focused for my day before it gets too busy.

You should try to spend some time in each of these areas of your life, Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenating. Doing so will insure you are replenishing your energy reserves to meet the demands of a busy life. Try the action steps below to help you with this practice.

Action Steps for the 4Rs

  1. Do an inventory of the last month of your life. Did you spend time in all 4 of the R’s- Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenation. If not why not? And what can you do to make sure you spend time in all these areas next month.
  2. Try waking 30 minutes earlier every day for the next month to spend 30 minutes to yourself. Connect with yourself, review your goals, plan your day.

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From Diapers to Microsurgery

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

life on maternity leaveMy maternity leave ended when I went back to work earlier this month. I had mixed feelings about the return to the world of medicine and surgery. In one sense, I was so looking forward to once again doing what I have been trained to do and love to do. In the other sense, I knew how difficult it was going to be to leave my little man Nicholas.

Becoming a mom has been a life altering experience. I had no idea the impact it would have on me until it occurred. When he was first born I was struck with the newness of the responsibility. I was no longer the most important person in my world he was…he was everything. It was as if I had passed through a thin boundary into some finer land where the self dissolved and another was born. I was overwhelmed by the unconditional love I felt for this precious little person. This has only grown in magnitude over the year I have been blessed to spend with him.

eye surgeryAs women I think our choices can be challenging. But we can never lose sight of the fact that they are OUR choices. Never let anyone judge you. We have to follow our own instincts in these circumstances and do what is right for us and our families. I chose to take a full year off after Nicholas was born, some of my colleagues go back after 6 weeks and some never go back. Only by looking into our own hearts do we truly find the path that is right for us. The issue of balance is a challenging one and I honestly wonder if that should be our goal anyway. There are going to be days when I will be miserable having to leave Nicholas, but I am sure there will also be days when I am looking forward to the challenge of practicing medicine and the adult conversation. I don’t think we find the perfect balance rather I think it is a day to day process. I suspect flexibility and a sense of humor will be tools that will come in handy in the next little while.


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It is interesting to me how the universe often provides what we need when we need it. Just before I went back to work my oldest friend Sarah invited me to an event put on by Mom Café. It is a great organization based out of Vancouver that gets Moms together to discuss business and personal topics. The energy and support in the room was amazing.

I asked some of the other moms how they handled their transition back into career after baby and I received some very wise advice. Someone pointed out that you are likely a better parent is you are not a parent every minute of every day. Also by getting out there and contributing in the world you are being a great role model for your child. It was also mentioned that by exposing your child to care givers other than yourself you are broadening their horizons and helping with socialization.

The support of many of the amazing ladies at this meeting underscored for me the importance of putting a positive spin on your decisions and supporting yourself with the right attitude. As I mentioned earlier, no one is forcing you to take a particular action. I realize there are often financial and other factors involved in a decision. But you always have the freedom to choose your own course of action. This applies to anything not just balancing work and family. Remain flexible and positive and don’t forget to laugh at yourself on occasion.

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