Many of us are searching for balance in our lives. We want fulfillment on all levels: family, friends, money, hobbies, and more. The struggle for balance can sometimes leave us feeling like we're falling short in all areas or doing great in some and failing in others. Let's take a look at some tips for achieving and maintaining life balance.
Follow a Stress Management Plan
When you are constantly under pressure and feeling stress from all directions, it's hard to achieve balance. The first step toward feeling like you're doing well in every area of your life is to get a handle on your stress levels. You can do that by planning and following a daily routine that helps you maintain peace and calmness. You might need to test out some different techniques until you find some that work well for you. Don't be afraid to ditch the ones that don't help you and continue to explore until you find some that do. Here are some ideas:
- Yoga. The practice of yoga incorporates both movement of the body and breath work to help center your thoughts and invigorate your body. It has been used for centuries to help people become more in-tune with their physical and emotional needs. Yoga is a wonderful tool for obtaining balance because it benefits so many areas of a person's life. It decreases cortisol, which lowers stress and decreases the risk of many health problems. It improves sleep, which also has far-reaching health benefits. It increases focus, which helps in all areas of your life.
- Meditation. Using focused meditation to help identify unbalanced areas in your life and determine how to bring them into balance is a powerful way to stay in the moment throughout your day. It also helps you ward off stress and stay focused, so you can be more productive and do better at everything you tackle. It improves your physical health by helping to lower blood pressure and improve your immune system.
- Exercise. Physical exercise "blows off steam," allowing your mind to be more clear, so you can more easily set your intentions for balance. It also boosts blood flow to the brain, improves your sleep, and helps ward off depression. All of those benefits help you think more clearly, work more effectively, and achieve better balance.
- Hobbies. Engaging in hobbies, especially those of a creative nature, is something that many people push to the end of their to-do list. However, being sure to feed this part of your life can go a long way toward helping you achieve and maintain a sense of balance. Not feeding your creative side can leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled.
- Time with friends. This is another area that often gets left to the wayside when people are busy. But regularly connecting with other people who love you and have similar values and goals is a fantastic way to help you feel balanced and calm.
- Outside time. Being in nature is one of the most balancing things you can do. Sunshine and exercise feed into the benefits of being outside, but reconnecting with your place in nature is also incredibly valuable in the quest to achieve balance.
If you aren't fueling your body properly, it won't work optimally, and when that's happening, everything else in your life can suffer. Giving your body the proper healthy food and water can go a long way toward helping you achieve balance in your life. Here are some ways to eat well:
- Choose whole foods
- Avoid processed foods
- Eliminate or greatly reduce sugar
- Add fermented foods
- Prepare and eat food mindfully
Give Up the Idea of Equally Balancing Time
Many people feel that, in order to balance the priorities in their lives, they need to give equal time and energy to each area. However, that is not the case at all. Rather, certain areas are of greater value than others, but which ones are which is variable between individuals.
First, you must determine which areas of your life feel like they are suffering and which feel balanced. Then, you need to increase the time and energy that those that are suffering are receiving. These priorities might change over time, and that's OK. You will need to be constantly reviewing and re-evaluating your life, adjusting things so that you can consistently achieve as much balance as possible. Check out this book for a great explanation of this concept and worksheets to help you determine where you are in crucial areas of your life and which ones need more time and attention: Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.
Always Keep Learning
Commit yourself to learning something new daily, and use that knowledge to help you achieve better balance in your life. There will always be something new for you to use to broaden your horizons and implement into your life. When you stop learning, you close off and aren't mentally available to change. Being "stuck in a rut" can be unbalancing, so be sure you cultivate a growth mindset and seek out new ideas and knowledge continually.
You can learn daily by reading at least one article a day, listening to books on CD while you're driving or walking, and watching documentaries and other informative shows. You can also learn by attending local talks, joining clubs related to your interests, and simply talking with and listening to others in your life who have different knowledge bases than you do.
Set Goals and Write Them Down
Declaring intentions is a potent way to create change in your life. When you are working to develop better balance, it helps to break down your intentions into the steps needed to achieve them. Then write them down. Declare them on your social media pages for even more support, cheerleading, and accountability.
Even if you don't share your balance goals with anyone other than yourself, writing them down and being intentional about them will go a long way toward helping you achieve them. Each day, assess where you are with regards to both your small and large goals and make any adjustments you feel you need to.
While perfect balance at all times probably isn't achievable, you can develop your best, balanced life by being intentional and persistent.