I have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.
The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?
There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!
As someone with a mental illness, I find it hard to stay on track sometimes. I stress easily over the smallest of things. Whenever I’m in a rut I turn to my notebooks and planners with reminders, and notes. I often feel like everything needs to be done right then and there. So I stress, and get on everyone’s nerves while trying to take on the world.
Some strategies that work:
- Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!
- Trim, trim, trim – 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.Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!
- Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. 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.
- Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people(complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible
- 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; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!
- 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.
- Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
- Explore the world – Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!
- Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.
- Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.