Living a balanced life means that you have a handle on the various elements in your life. You don’t feel that your heart or mind is being pulled too hard in any direction. More often than not, you feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.
The elements in life that require the most balancing can be divided into two categories: internal and external. Oftentimes, people focus on one more than the other. For example, you may find that you focus on external things, like work, relationships, and activities, and that you pay very little attention to what is going on inside your heart and mind. On the other hand, you may find that you spend so much time being self-reflective that you sometimes miss out on the experience of living.
If you feel pulled in any one direction and uneasy about it, these steps may help you get your life aligned.
Assess your life as it is now.
Looking at ourselves as we really are is the first step in restructuring our lives. Do you feel physically exhausted, mentally stagnant or find yourself without close relationships? Would you call yourself a workaholic? Do you feel a lack of spiritual alignment? If you answer yes to any of these questions, your life is probably out of balance.
Not only is it important to set goals, but you must prioritize which ones are the most important and act on those first. The problem is often figuring out just what is most important. On any given day, in any given moment, what is your priority? Is checking your email more important than calling your grandmother? Is missing much needed sleep less important than taking on more projects? In order to stay on course, you may have to re-examine your priorities regularly. Don't be afraid to put yourself first.
Disconnect from your phone.
Disconnect on the weekend. You are probably making excuses already, but try it. Even if you only put your phone away for a few hours each night, you'll reap the benefits. You will give your work brain a rest so that you can come back the next day ready to go. Plus, you can spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends in real life. You will make these connections stronger.
Learn to say no.
It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible to do everything you want because there are only so many hours in one day. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. For example, if you have a toxic friend that brings you down don't be afraid to cut off those ties. You don't have to say yes to everything you have on your plate if you don't have the bandwidth for it.
Pay attention to your health.
We hear this over and over again but usually think "I'll deal with it later". We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity. This also will save you a lot of stress down the road, as your body will be stronger and can fight off more diseases.
Spend time alone.
Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try might include meditating, writing, sketching, doing some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. This will give you a space to connect with yourself before having to interact with family and work.
Relationships do matter.
Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you. It's human nature to desire deep, intimate connections so don't deny yourself those opportunities.
Be willing to take the risk.
Being willing to assess your life deeply and really make changes is a risk. It can feel overwhelming and scary at times. However, when you take that step forward to balance your life you will be happier. It will take a lot of work to get to where you want to be. Acknowledging that balance is essential and recreating your life to encompass your decision is worth all the risk.
Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing will make you forget the stresses of life as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh. Don't drown yourself in so many "to-dos" that you never stop to actually have fun. Try to smile just as much as your kids do.
There are so many different components of life, from your career, to your social life, to self-care, that it can seem difficult to excel in all of them. Everyone has different areas they need to focus on, but if you feel like your time is predominantly spent in just one category, it might be time to make some changes. Using these tips though will help you achieve a more balanced life.