It’s something that can so easily happen to anyone- you can look up one day to discover your life, filled with so many commitments and responsibilities, is running you. We are always looking to find balance, and it can become more and more challenging if we don’t take the reigns, because life can take a hold of us. I have to check in with myself on this regularly. It’s my nature to be a worker. In high school, I worked three jobs during summers. That momentum has never stopped. The difference is that now I’m more responsible for keeping balance and not letting life run me. So, how do I know when I’m in charge or my commitments have taken over?
The tell tale signs that you have taken a backseat to running your life:
1. You are over exhausted.
It doesn’t even register that you are exhausted because you’re just going through the motions. The days feel longer than normal. Perhaps you are 15 minutes late when this is not your usual. At the end of the day, you have little energy to do anything other than do the things that take the least effort. Exercise is not even in the cards because you are drained. You fall asleep as soon as it is possible -everything else is put to the side because the only thing you feel you can do is close your eyes. I know I’m over exhausted when the first thing I want to do when I get home from work is cozy up on the sofa to read or surf the the internet. That is my “least amount of effort” mode. What is your least amount of effort mode?
2. You haven’t done any of these three lately: Laugh, Sing, or Dance.
If you have not done at least one of these three, then life and its demands have taken over your personal needs and happiness. All of these three are forms of joy, and we all need joy in our lives to be balanced.
3. Spontaneity has vanished.
No matter how structured you are, everyone needs a little room for spontaneity in their life. If you have become so rigid because of time constraints, demands, or responsibilities, then you need to take a step back and breathe. Break out of being a creature of habit and mix things up.
4. Planning for fun isn’t happening.
Are you finding that you are so busy that you can’t find time to socialize? Does “fun” sound stressful? If you can’t find the time for fun, that means you need down time. We all have at least one or two people in our lives that we love to see or talk to, who uplift us, and if the idea of seeing them sounds like too much work, then you know your answer.
5. Creativity has been put to the side.
Creativity is balancing. Everyone has their own creative outlet. It could be going outside, doing yard work, tinkering around the apartment or house, cooking, decorating, reading magazines, music, dancing, or planning a night out. What was the last thing you created? Can’t think of it? There is your answer.
So…Why is this important?
The world needs you and the unique gifts that you bring to it. Demands that run your life take away creativity time, which ultimately halts your ability to uniquely contribute to the world. When you are on autopilot, you are neglecting two main aspects of your life:
Emotional Well-Being. If you are going through life without taking a moment to honor your emotions, you are shoving them to the side to be dealt with “later,” which can eventually lead to an emotional uprising that you can’t ignore. This could affect any and all of your relationships: your family, friends, or your co-workers. This is because Spirit will only allow you to push it to the side for so long before it rears back at you that you are missing the good stuff in life by your numbing behavior.
Physical Well-Being. When you ignore the signs that tell you that you are imbalanced, life can catch up to you and literally stop you in your tracks physically, as well. It can be a physical ailment, an actual event that happens to ground you, or something you enjoy being taken away from you. Sometimes, it’s a minor course correction by coming down with a sickness that keeps you home for two days. If you are greatly imbalanced, you will be stopped from doing something you love, which will let you know who is really in charge. These challenges can be our greatest teachers in life, which ultimately is the lesson that you need to slow down. It doesn’t have to be this way, but when you are on autopilot for an extended period of time, you are giving the universe and Spirit no other choice.
How do you stop your life from running you?
1. You have to recognize it and want to stop it. This is the first major way of stopping this cycle in its tracks. It’s very easy to let life run you. You might not realize that you are no longer in charge. Your obligations and your responsibilities take on a life of their own and you realize something is out of balance.
2. You need help: You can’t do it alone. When you’re on autopilot, you can forget about larger networks who can help. Delegate some of those responsibilities and allow yourself support. It won’t be easy at first, but be patient with the transition.
3. Carve out time for yourself. Find a way to carve out a quiet evening, a day, or even a weekend away somewhere so you can hit the “reset” button. Evaluate where you need to start creating boundaries, delegating, and where you need to start saying “no” and start saying “yes.”
Life can be rich. It can be the chocolate cake with ice cream and berries on top. Or, if you don’t make time to deal with the “extras,” it can just be the cake on it’s own. The “extras” can only be added when you create space for down time and they are what makes life even sweeter. I wish you all the “extras” you desire. So should you.