People often ask me how I do it, how I do it ďall.Ē By day, Iím CEO of a media company. Iím on more boards than I can recite in one breath. I have three girls between the ages of 28 (just married) and 4. And I blog, cook, blog about cooking and stuff like this, and in general have enough time to do lots of fun things. I came up with the phrase ďthe art of living in balanceĒ years and years ago when I launched Organic Style magazine. Unfortunately, we had to shut the magazine down. But that phrase still guides me. So, when people ask me how I do it, I often canít give them an easy answer because itís just something Iíve been doing for so long. But since someone asked me just the other day, Iíll try to give an answer that you all can use in your own lives.
1. Surround yourself with good people and keep them happy. Iíve had the same babysitter for 28 years, the same husband for 18. They are reliable, comfortable, and wonderful people I appreciate every day.
2. Outsource the stuff you donít like to do. I hired a woman to do laundry almost 20 years ago because not only do I loathe doing laundry, but also Iím terrible at it. When I first hired her, it seemed like a total luxury. But freeing up that time gave me the opportunity to devote my time to other areas in my life that led to more success and more happiness. I adore and respect Betty so much that I even wrote a laundry book, Bettyís Book of Laundry Secrets, to capture all her wisdom. Sheís in her 80s and still comes to my house every Monday. I love her.
3. If you see a problem, fix it. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time fuming about problems and people. Now, people often call me ďdirect.Ē But what that means is if there is something I donít understand, or that isnít working, I say something. Iím that person that asks the stupid question in the room that everyone else wanted to ask but was too afraid to. Whether itís a family issue or a work issue, I have found that the direct, respectful approach gets the best results.
4. If you canít fix it, let it go. I am a firm believer in the energy and power of the Universeóthat there is a time to fix and a time to not fix. If you have an issue that you canít resolve, donít keep banging your head against the same wall over and over. Take a break. Try something different. Distract yourself. Forget about it. When the time is right, the opportunity will present itself.
5. You canít change other people, you can only change yourself. This is something I learned after years of therapy, which was worth every minute and every dollar. Itís not my job to fix other people; itís my job to understand them so that I can fix my own response to them. This alone has saved me countless years of agony.
Next: 5 More ways to find balance
6. Have a purpose and a mission. I truly believe that each person has a special mission and purpose on this planet, and the closer we all come to finding it and living it, the happier we are. My mission and purpose are closely aligned with the family business I run and are all about healthy living on a healthy planet. In my fairy-tale mind I am a knight protecting people and the planet from harm. Hey, it works for me. Donít make fun of it until youíve tried it.
7. Listen to nature. Whenever I have a question I need an answer to or a problem I canít resolve, or I just need comfort, I go out into nature and sit quietly ALONE! and listen. I may just be listening to that quiet, still voice inside of me that canít be heard unless I turn off all the other noise. But I also believe nature loves to converse with us, and if we are open and still, she has quite strong opinions. Try it!
8. Exercise. Iíve seen all the studies in the world, just about. And if there is one thing that is essential to health and happiness, itís exercise. I know. Itís hard for me to fit it into my life, too. But it works. I do yoga and Pilates. I garden. But those alone are not enough to keep me truly fit. If I am feeling depressed, a walk, run, or bike ride really does the trick. It doesnít matter what you do, just that you do it, and do it a few times a week. Iíve started putting stars on the calendar every time I do 30 minutes or more of exercise. My goal is to have a five-star week every week. I have learned that we ladies have to put ourselves first if we are going to take care of the other important people in our life. Itís not selfishness; itís sanity.
9. Eat healthfully and well. Food is important, tooóorganic, of course! Fresh, toxin-free fruits and veggies. Meats from local organic farmers. Whole grains. I find that cutting out white flour really makes me feel so much better and so much less hungry. Exercise, too, controls my appetite. But good, yummy food is essential to having energy, strength, and stamina to live a full life. And sit-down dinners with the whole family are a key to family harmony and health.
10. Feel the love. I think this is the most important thing of all.† Surround yourself with love. Snuggle and play with your kids. Donít waste time or energy on movies or TV that are violent and depressingówatch happy-ending love stories! Reach out to friends and family on Facebook. A good email from a long-lost friend can make me happy for days. Forgive and forget the bad stuff, and focus on love. Itís a happy feeling (most of the time).