There are many variables that can destroy your work-life balance formula. The top three I hear are:
A lack of support from partners, family and friends
An inflexible work situation
Guilt about not doing enough in work or life
The first two can absolutely be optimized, tweaked and improved, but the reality is they will take time (and focus!) to adjust because they are deeply connected to your external circumstances and people who may be slow to change.
But guilt, oh guilt—when I see it show up in a session, I feel the potential energy of a transformation. If guilt is your number one reason for being out of balance, you're in luck and you're about to change your life—on the quick. Let me spell this out for you.
Guilt is in your control.
Guilt is your choice.
Guilt is sucking the joy out of all you're doing well.
When you give up guilt, you're not changing your job or your boss or the field trip you had to miss because of a meeting. You're changing what all those things mean to you. Remember—you get to choose what they mean and why not take a deep breath and choose to think that you're doing the best you can (which is pretty damn good).
I'm not saying there's no room for improvement. Of course there is! It's always helpful to reflect on how you're doing in your work or as a parent, or with how you're contributing to the world. But—it's critical to do this reflection without judgment. If you're coming from the perspective of being a self-aware flawed human, you're opening up the possibility for change. You can channel the time and energy you were spending on guilt on some realistic tweaks to your life that can bring you pride and confidence about your path and the choices you're making.
Here's a quick exercise I like to use to move through guilt when it comes up for me:
Become aware of the guilt I'm feeling.
Notice where I feel it in my body.
Put my hand on that part of my body and take 3 deep breaths.
Tell myself, "I'm doing the best I can. I'm loved and respected for everything I do." (Find something you can say that resonates for you.)
Of course, working through guilt will be an ongoing practice because it will never go away completely. But, you will be amazed at how quickly you can find relief from giving it up. It's nothing short of liberating (and addictive!). What are you currently feeling guilty about that you can release RIGHT NOW? Yes, you can choose to feel peace, right now, and it feels calm and safe, like a place to call home.