From Juggling to Balancing Life: Concepts, Strategies, and Coping Skills

In our lives we learn tjuggle the multiple identities that make up who we are: daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, partners,friends. bosses. employees, students, teachers....

Just stop and think for a moment, how many identities dyou have? Take me for instance: am a daughter, a sister, a wifea friend, a therapista boss, a student an advocate ...a woman.

Most of our identities are in relation to others, and each of them have theiown set of responsibilities attached.

For example, a working wife and mother has three identities right there: wife to her partner,mother to her children, and employee (not to count daughter, friend, potentially sister/PTA member..).The question is.where is her relationshito self?
Sometimewe are so caught ujugglinour responsibilities in relation to others that we forget about our responsibilities to ourselves.

So how cawe move frojugglinto balancing?

Awareness: The first thing is to become aware of the different identities that make up whom we are and understand that their order of priority can be fluid.

Let's go back tthidentities that make up who am: there are times within a day,or sometimes entire days,when being a therapistbusiness ownerand a PhD candidate take priority over the otheidentities, and find myself allocating mortime and attention to the responsibilitieassociated to those identities compared to others. However, after a certaitime of thday, thorder of priority may change. Foinstance, once get home my wife identity often takes priority and turn of  working mode and spending timwith my partner. Other times I prioritize being Patriciaiwhiccase focus on my relationshito self.

Prioritize, Communicate, Share responsibilities: You are awesomebut you are also human!

Notwhich identities neeto take priority today, thiweek, this month. Once you are aware of them,communicatwityour support system (partnerfamilyfriendsco- workers), allowing them to knowhat you would likor need from them.

Contrary to popular belief people cannot read minds, and whethere is ncommunication all they can do iguess what yowant or need and act upotheiguesses. The only problem with that ithat their guesses come from their wants and needswhich can bthe complete opposite of what you woulwant or need.

Self-Care: Think of self-care as want: a way for you tstrengtheyour relationshito self. You spend so muctimthinkinabout your responsibilities to your familyyour work, your friendsand your community that you deserve your time for self. This is the most important relationshiof all.To move frojuggling to balancing,we must learn to attend to self as much as we do to others. A way of doing so is by implementing A2C's Need-To-Want ratio:

Need-to-Want Ratio: When we arjuggling responsibilities,we tend to focus owhat we need to do and often forget overlookor even cancel the things we want to do. This creates a lack of balance in our lives. To help brinbalance back,  A2C  hadeveloped the Need-to-Want Ratio.
We have many needs iour lives,which represent our responsibilityand we often sacrifice the thingwe want to din order taccomplish what we need to doWith the Need-to-Want Ratio,you get to do both. Start by determininthe average number of needyowoullike to accomplish to get a want. You can do that by creatina to­-do list of your needs either for the day or for the week.This list allows you to prioritize your needstrack them by check marking as you accomplished themand implement a want in between the needs.
In mcase, have implemented a 5:ratio. know want tgo to the gymeat healthyand be able to have timtenjoy my coffee. usually try to starthe day with a want by going to the gym before headintwork. After accomplishing 5 needs from mto-do listallow myself to have another want and gto a cafwhere can eat a delicious parfait while listening to music. Afterwards, returto my needsand once have accomplished another 5 of themget to take another break to have my coffee.

The needs or wants may be bior small and the ratican fluctuatebut what's important ito make sure that we implement a balanciour lives. 

hope these have been helpfulRememberyou have the ability to chooswhich identity you want or need to prioritizeeven when ifeels like that choicis being taken away or seems to be non-existentiis there and it is yours.

  Article written by Patricia Timerman, LMHC, LMFT, NCC and Executive Director of Advocate2Create


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