Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”


Life is very much a BALANCING act. We must juggle and choose different paths simultaneously — like work, relationships, families, finances, health, and those personal goals (plus more).  So often we’re running on hamster wheels, left feeling exhausted. . .or stuck. There’s either not enough time to get all your to-dos and goals done — or no time to just stop and BE.

The stress builds slowly from a molehill to a mountain. We may stumble one too many times. . .or eventually down into a never-ending dark hole of learned helplessness.

So what does it take to avoid inevitable burnout or stagnation? How can we find our happy aligned medium?

It comes down to equalizing our ENERGY: high-energy masculine (“striving”) activities with low-energy feminine (“surrendering”) ones.  I believe the latest additions to my endless coffee mug collection (the sweet coral “RISE and SHINE” and sage green “Stay GROUNDED” set pictured above)  represent this yin-yang relationship perfectly.

It’s the bright morning starts with starry wind-down nights.  The productivity followed by peace. Strength and softness.  Effort and ease. Being a risk-taking adventurer. . .and a cozy homebody all in one day.

In order to fill up our cups daily, we must prioritize self-care. A mind-body-spirit alignment means pushing ourselves (kindly) to tackle our goals a little every day. . .as well as soaking in guilt-free R&R time. We must schedule and choose ACTION and RELAXATION — every single day.

What we feel on the inside often manifests on the outside.  Like a field of yellow and lilac flowers, we each need to mix bright bursts of motivation with blissful serenity in order to feel centered.

So how does your work-leisure balance look like right now? What half needs to be nurtured more. . .and which needs to be let go of more? And do you even naturally ENJOY what you’re doing in action or relaxation mode? (hint: you should be!)  Let these questions soak in your mind today, and be honest with yourself.

For myself personally, I realized this entire past year I’ve  had my “work mode” switched on constantly, leaving 0% left for any (much-needed) R&R time.  Since changing to a fast-paced, long-hour advertising retail writing position (plus taking on 2 heavier freelance gigs), I have felt out of alignment with who I really am. I became more negative, sad, stressed, sleeping 5-hours max, and pushing aside people and activities that normally light me up.

Essentially, I was running myself down to the ground.  But step by step, I have made healthy cuts or adds: quitting the 2 side freelance gigs, trying out big goals (like this blog!), and finally scoring a new job that seems way more in-touch with my personality (more on this in a future post!)

Below are a few of my favorite things to do to “go” or “slow down”. Write out your own list, and be sure to mix & match at least one ACTION and one RELAXATION activity for your daily schedule. As juvenile as this sounds, it really can help keep you out of monkey mind (or vegged-out mode) for too long at a time.

My ACTION  list involves:

  • Running outdoors
  • Cleaning up & listening to podcast at same time (work + wisdom killed with one stone!)
  • Writing first thing in the morning (or sometimes later in the evening — whatever feels right)
  • Tackling calls or bills in a 1-2 hour batch
  • Writing lists (from “what to do this week” to “friends to call or catch up with soon” to unleashing all the worries/future goals out on paper)
  • Creating & achieving one goal to get me to next stop (like putting out one job application every other day when needing change, for example)

My RELAXATION  list involves:

  • Light yoga & meditation
  • Doodling or coloring (grown-up coloring books are IN, I swear!)
  • Curling up with a great book on couch or in bed
  • Coffee catchup with someone I haven’t seen in a while
  • Long, hot, unrushed showers
  • Laying out in the sun (ideally on an unpopulated beach)

What activities fuel (and relax) you? How do you balance your life? Share your tips & tricks in the comments!

Hannah Fredenberg

I'm Hannah - happy to meet you! I live in the (frequently chilly) Midwest city of Milwaukee, yet keep a sunny disposition year-round. I’m a corporate copywriter by day, creative blog writer by night (or morning). I light up my life with writing, reading, running, yoga & soaking in the Great Outdoors as often as possible. I'm here to help YOU dig deep and uncover your real roots (who you authentically are) so you can start to align your inner & outer worlds -- one step at a time.

2 thoughts on “Action vs. Relaxation: How to Find the “Bright” Balance”

Kathy Cesarec · July 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Thought provoking, I love the message and the depths of your soul Hannah!

    Hannah Fredenberg · July 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks, Kathy — I feel the same way about your advice & insights 🙂

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