Everyone goes through a period (sometimes many periods) where their life feels out of control and imbalanced. It’s a perfectly normal part of life. But, how can we successfully win the battle to achieve balance during these hectic times?
The first step toward creating a balanced lifestyle is to understand what ‘balance’ truly means. Having a balanced life doesn’t necessarily mean that you give equal amounts of time or attention to each and every part of your life. That’s practically impossible. Everyone has different areas in their lives that require more attention than others.
It’s more about knowing when to give a little more effort, when to call it quits and when to just keep on keeping on because everything just feels right.
Working from home has been a blessing and a curse when it comes to establishing a balance for myself between work, family, relaxation, responsibilities, etc. I tend to be a workaholic to the point where I eventually MUST get away from anything having to do with work in order to recharge. And then, I overdo that and need the peace and quiet of solitude that I can only find at home. This is my own personal battle for balance. Yours may be different.
Achieving balance is a constant struggle for me, but I’ve discovered some things along the way that help me when I get off track. Here are six tips that may help you strike a better balance in life:
1. Make time for yourself. Realize that you’re important and valuable. Taking care of your happiness (and sanity) is an essential part of creating a balanced life. Even if for just two hours each week, put everyone else’s needs aside and focus on you!
* Take a candlelit bubble bath while having a glass of wine and catching up on your favorite book. Or, maybe just take your dog to the park on a sunny afternoon. Do whatever helps you unwind and enter a mindset of total relaxation.
2. Strive for a healthy lifestyle. Both exercise and a conscious diet are necessary in order to remain healthy and happy. Set aside 30-minutes each day (or week) to participate in conscious exercise. Your workout can be anything under the sun, as long as it keeps you active.
* If eating healthy is a challenge, avoid bringing unhealthy food into your home. You can’t be tempted if it isn’t around the house. Pay attention to the way foods make you feel and get rid of anything that has an adverse reaction to your body. I know that I have an intolerance to wheat. Bread makes me sick, tired and miserable, so I try to stay away from it.
3. Leave work in the office. (or in the computer) This is a big one for me. I have to literally tear myself away from my work sometimes. And the fact that it is mostly done online, my FB messenger can be heard going off all through the day and night. There’s a very important reason to have a work schedule: if you work for someone else, your employer is only willing to pay you for a specific amount of time each day but, if you work for yourself you can tend to overdo it by getting caught up in activities that don’t produce any income. Do your family a favor and leave work at work. And if you work for yourself, you need to establish major time management skills to avoid overworking yourself.
* If you find that there aren’t enough hours in the workday to maintain your responsibilities, find a way to strengthen your productivity. If this proves to be fruitless and you work from home, perhaps think about things you can outsource in order to free up some of your time.
4. Make time for love. If you are married or in a relationship, rekindle the romance by making thoughtful gestures. Spend quality, uninterrupted time with your significant other. Intimacy – both physical and mental can be an amazing way to de-stress and keep your life balanced.
5. Live within your means. If your finances are causing you stress, it’s time to reassess your budget. Make budget cuts in order to proactively work towards achieving your financial goals.
* Eliminate obvious splurges, such as cable television upgrades and pricey cell phone plans. Cut down on your energy bill by turning down the thermostat and doing laundry less frequently or during non-peak hours.
* As a final resort, you may need to sell your home or downgrade to a cheaper rental. Sure, it’s nice to have granite counter-tops and sprawling acreage, but can you go without? You sure can. Live within your means and feel the relief it brings!
6. Socialize. Hanging out with friends allows you to unwind and have a few laughs. Make it a point to meet up with friends at least once each month. Go out to dinner or host a get together in your home. Heck, just have a few beers and talk crap!
Leading an unbalanced lifestyle is one of the leading causes of stress for professionals. Inability to cope with stress can cause numerous health problems, such as weight gain, migraines and even heart complications. Fortunately, you can be the exception. You can ward off health problems by nipping stress in the bud.
You are now empowered, equipped, and ready to create balance in your life! Practice these strategies each day and, one day soon, you’ll feel the harmony of a balanced life.
~ Carrie A Medford
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