The French have a saying, a mantra if you will, L’art de Vivre, which translates into the words: the art of living, or less literally, a life well lived.
No, it's not about indulging in wine and cheese or dressing up for a fancy dinner party. Although these things will never be discounted as part of a well-lived life.
It’s quite simple, really. Live your life, and live it well.
The words Work-Life-Balance have been thrown around a lot lately. But.. do we even know what that is? When you break it down, it implies that your work and your life are at a complete 50/50 balance. Like a teeter-totter, if one side needs more attention the other side falls. That’s an unrealistic goal, for as life moves, certain aspects require more attention, and you can’t expect complete balance. So instead, let your life be harmonious.
Harmony is defined as the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions, having a pleasing effect.
Music is not black and white and is certainly not balanced. Life is the same. You must let the dominant parts of life take up the majority of your time. If you’re focused on your career let that be your focus. If it's spending time with your children, allow them those moments. Just don’t forget the small stuff, which often needs only a few minutes of your time. Create time for these daily or weekly habits, and in turn, create a harmonious life.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day- This will not only help your energy and overall health but keep your routine stable. Sleep is the foundation of our health. Understand that even if you're doing shift work, you should keep your sleep schedule as consistent as possible. For more research on the importance of sleep, find some insight here.
- Tidy your house each day- There is something so satisfying about a clean, tidy house. The first step is taking time to declutter- read Marie Kondo and spend a weekend getting rid of all that doesn’t spark joy. Find a place for all your possessions, and if you don’t have a spot, get rid of it. Once things have a place it’s easier to tidy up, so do it each day. Wipe the counters before you leave your kitchen, put your books away when you’re done reading, fold the couch blankets and arrange the pillows after you’re done watching tv, make your bed in the morning. It can take less than 5 minutes out of your day and it will bring you so much joy to walk into a room that’s tidy.
- Keep basics in your kitchen, and a few go-to recipes in your back pocket- Food is the nourishment of our bodies. Eating well creates a healthier you. You never know when you’ll need a go-to meal, or a friend might pop by for a snack or a beverage. Keep the basics in your kitchen, and a go-to meal or appetizers to make.
- Nurture your relationships- Make time for your friends. Plan outings for each other, go for a hike or a bike ride. Call your parents. Check in with your partner. Life gets busy so go for a walk and just talk; how you’re feeling, your goals for the future, your trepidations and what excites you about life right now. Having these conversations will bring you satisfaction and height to your relationships. It’s all about carving out the time and letting the conversations happen, without distraction.
- Schedule in exercise and self-care- It won’t happen unless you make it a priority. So make it a priority.
- Exercise. Start small, and set up a schedule that works for you. Start with shorter periods of time, a few days a week. Make it an appointment, like your dentist appointment, or a meeting you can't miss. Your own health should always come first, therefore before all else, make it a priority.
- Meditate. Download an app - I recommend Calm or Sam Harris's Waking Up. Set a timer and start with 5 minutes a day.
- Indulge in self-care. Choose something each week that will bring you relaxation and joy- an undisturbed walk with your favorite podcast, a bath with a glass of wine, or treat yourself to a message. Allow yourself to be fully present and enjoy the time to yourself.
It all boils down to discipline- with a little commitment to small daily, weekly, and monthly habits you can turn your life into a well-oiled machine. And once these events turn to habits, become so ingrained they are no longer a thought, you will see that your house is in order, your relationships are in order, your health is in order, and as a result- your life is in order. L’art de Vivre!