Most of us feel like we’re being pulled in a million directions most of the time. Work pressure is high all year round and we seem to be expected to be available via email in the evenings, on vacation, over the weekend… We have social events and family gatherings. Some of us have children, who, as much as we love them, take away our sense of control over our own time.

We’re told that the cure is balance. Set aside an hour for yourself every day. Meditate in the mornings before work. Drink lots of water and eat your vegetables. Cook your own food and meal prep on Sundays. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Sleep for 8 hours.

I’m not knocking this. Balance and the self-care movement at large can provide us with positive coping strategies for our busy lives, but a lot of our coping strategies can actually create their own pressure and expectations. We can beat ourselves up for missing a workout, watching tv instead of meditating, or ordering delivery instead of cooking because it wasn’t in alignment with this vision of success we had for ourselves. We end up feeling guilty instead of being grateful for the times we did eat healthy or get our workouts.

Keep an eye on what coping strategies come up when you feel stressed. Reflect on where they come from and whether they serve you. Ask yourself where your expectations of yourself become pressure.

How do you talk to yourself when you feel overwhelmed? Where can you allow more gentleness in?

Want to keep moving forward as you create balance? Download our goal setting guide to support yourself in setting goals that are aligned to your highest good.