How to tip your love life back into balance

When you hear balance of life, how do you feel? Overwhelmed, inspired, or confused? Frustrated because you don’t have balance? Angry because others do? Do you think that it is a pipe dream, like “Having it all”? Or is it something for others, yet not something that you can have right now in your life?

Yes, that was me--busy-bee Hilary. Busy with working, more working, being a Mom, taking care of my kids, working, and more working. Busy, busy, busy. Up at 3 a.m. sitting in my home office. I was certainly in charge of my life, perhaps not living the dream with the picket fence and husband, yet I was getting a TON done.

I would get replies hours later to that 3 a.m. email blast I sent. Some would say “WOW, 3:30 a.m. you go girl!” and guess what? I would hold those emails like badges of honor. I could work for 3 hours before I had to get my 3 kids up, make breakfast, lunches and get them off to school. It reminds me of that funny song from the perfume commercial I grew up in the early 80’s hearing, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan... And never, ever let you forget you're a man…” except there was NO man!

Have any of you ever felt like you were too busy...being busy? Too busy for life? Too busy for love? Filling time with things to make you feel important or distract yourself? Are you wearing your busyness like a trophy? Making your list becomes all consuming. You begin to constantly say, “Put it on my list…” What if you instead looked at life and asked: What purpose is this action really serving in my life? Is my crazy early morning schedule really getting me where I want to go?

If you are like me, I was stressed out and fatigued. I wasn’t taking care of myself -- physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually, I was completely out of whack.

Research shows women today are more stressed out than at any other time in our history. Women are taking anti-depressants two times as much as men, and have now have surpassed men in heart disease. Currently, one in every four female deaths are now from heart disease! Women are working more and working in high-level, high-stress jobs. We are four times more stressed than our mothers. Let’s face it - we are doing more and it is killing us. We are working, taking care of kids, etc., and really trying to do it all. And as an executive woman who was suddenly single with kids after her perfect life “blew-up,” I can tell you that I was beyond STRESSED and out of balance.

Stress has many side effects on your body

If you are like I was and trying to do it all, I can guarantee you are pretty stressed. When you are stressed, Cortisol is released in your blood. Cortisol is a hormone that has been linked to a weakened immune system—it shuts off digestion which can put pounds on, and prevents you from sleeping well. I recall those 1:37 a.m. conversations with myself -- “When am I going to fall asleep? I have to fall asleep because I am sooooo busy tomorrow.” Stress also activates the Limbic System, which is associated with emotional responses. Have you ever been so stressed out that you act irrationally and you say to yourself, “I have no idea why I just said that or acted that way?” Now you know why, and that kind of emotional response will not help you when it comes to meeting men.

Interestingly, if you have high stress you also have low Oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone that is released during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. It is known as the love drug, the cuddle chemical, the bonding drug. In the Medical News Today Journal, it says that Oxytocin has an anti-anxiety effect and may increase romantic attachment and empathy. So think of this like a seesaw and the more stressed out you are, the less Oxytocin you have. As you become more stressed out, the harder it is for you to bond, which means you are not sending out the right vibe to connect to you. Your stress sabotages your potential for a happy love life.

How do you get out of this downward spiral?

To get back in balance will require you to put the brakes on some things in your life. Yeah, something’s gotta give.

Here is the quickest way to get back in balance.

Everyone has 24 hours in a day. Those 24 hours are the great equalizer -- how you spend them tells a story about your current priorities.  

What are your top 5 priorities? List them out. Getting clear on what is most important in your life in the near future -- it can be the next week,  month or year -  is essential. This will allow you the clarity to gain awareness so you can filter and eliminate anything that isn’t a priority.

When you have your 5 priorities finalized, I want you to do the following:

  1. Assess: Review how you spend your time. Look back to last week. What % of your time is spent with a romantic interest/romantic partner? What % with family? (without cell phones and tablets to self-entertain). What % with work? How many hours of sleep? What % on exercise? What % on self-care? Spiritual things? Friends? Looking at your phone? Watching TV? What % with other things?

  2. Plan: Look at your calendar and the week ahead. Does your calendar align with these top 5 priorities. Chances are your calendar needs a few tweaks or even an overhaul. Make changes. Decline things. If it is too hard to do for the coming week, look out 2 or 3 weeks. Some commitments will take some time to unwind, so set an end date and start to unravel from these commitments.

  3. Put your priorities into action! As you go about your day and are faced with requests/ invitations or opportunities that come your way.  When you do, look at your top 5 priorities and ask yourself does it align, support or contribute to your top 5 priorities. If it doesn’t, you need to say no.

  4. Take a pulse check. After taking action -- it’s important to reassess and take a pulse check. How do you feel? Better, yet still overwhelmed? Less overwhelmed, yet bored now? It’s important to look at your prior week and see what is missing or needs to be tweaked. For instance, you may be unable to shift your time to one of your personal priorities due to your career priority taking the majority of your time leaving you sapped and time-starved for the others. This is why you may need to examine if you can make changes a few weeks or a month out to get back in balance.

Now, go into the community, and list out your top 5 priorities. Feel free to share what you learned and also the challenges you face as you say no. To help you, we have dozens of ways to expertly say no, so we’ll help you do it with charm.