5 Ways to Achieve More Balance in Your Life
How to Have a Balanced Life
Finding balance in life can bring a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Use strategies to help you gain balance and perspective in how you’re living your life such as prioritizing your time, making compromises, and being optimistic. Engage in activities that are healthy and beneficial to you and that add meaning to your life. Start or continue a hobby, find meaningful work, take care of your body, and cope with daily stress. Above all, make time for people and activities that are meaningful to you. Enjoy time with family and friends and find meaningful ways to connect to those you love.
Creating a Sense of Balance
Maintain a schedule.One way to ensure a balanced life is to schedule your time. If you’re spending all of your time at work or most of your free time doing one activity, it’s hard to maintain balance in all areas of your life. A schedule can help you to balance your time in various areas that are important to you. Maintaining a schedule can help you accomplish goals and create balance in how you spend your time.
- For example, write a schedule based on your priorities each week. You may work a set amount of hours each week, but spend your after-work time with family, friends, and meaningful activities. Participate in a weekly bowling league, schedule regular dinners with your spouse, and plan time for your kids.
- Think about what activities you have to do, enjoy doing, and want to do. Then, try ranking these activities in order of their importance to you and then assign an appropriate amount of time to each activity.
Make compromises.You rarely can “have it all,” so compromises are necessary to keep yourself (and those around you) happy. It can be hard to balance your own life, but if you have a partner or spouse, children, extended family and friends, you must also consider their needs alongside your own. However, whatever you deem to be balanced may come at its own costs. For example, if you want to focus more on family and less on work, this can affect your job opportunities and income. Decide your goals and primary focus and know that you will likely make compromises along the way.
- For example, if you’re a student, you may make compromises for your studies that reduce spending time with friends and having fun, at least for a time. These compromises may be difficult, but can help you attain a job later.
Think positively.Your thinking can shape how you perceive each day and situation. Maintain a positive approach to life and the changes that come across your path. Reduce your negative self-talk such as, “I can’t do that” or, “They would never pick me” and focus on positive things about yourself or situations. If you have a tendency to expect the worst, find things that can go well and how to prevent bad things from occurring.
- For example, you may fear the worst if you fail an exam. Say to yourself, “I’ll be disappointed if I do poorly. However, I know that I can take more exams and bring the grade up later.”
- If you start thinking, “This presentation is going to be awful” or, “I can’t believe I messed up so much,” take a step back and focus on the positives. Say to yourself, “I’ve worked really hard so there’s no reason for things to go badly” or, “Even if I messed up, it doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I can try again and do better.”
- Surround yourself with supportive people as well to help yourself stay positive. Try to spend your free time with people who are positive and supportive, and limit your time with people who are negative or critical.
Keeping a Balanced Lifestyle
Have hobbies.Make regular time for activities that you enjoy. Whether you enjoy hiking, stargazing, playing piano, or woodworking, set aside time to engage in fun activities. Having a hobby is one way to feel fulfilled and create a sense of meaning in your life.Make time during your week to engage in your hobby so that it’s something to look forward to in your schedule.
- Engaging in a hobby is also a great way to make friends and meet others who have similar interests with you.
- If you don’t have a hobby, think of something that interests you that you’d like to try. Maybe you’d like to pick up ice skating or karate or knitting.
Spend time with family and friends.It’s important to make time for people you care about. Even when you are busy or stressed, make time to hang out with your friends and family. Friendships can help you lower stress and increase your overall sense of well-being.
- Make time for your friends, even when you’re busy. A once-a-month volleyball night or karaoke night can help you connect with others and have a great time.
- Stay connected with your family. Whether you have children or are near your extended family, make time for the meaningful relationships in your life. Plan activities around holidays such as meals or game nights.
Relax.Daily relaxation is a healthy outlet for stress. Practicing relaxation for 30 minutes each day can help you stabilize your moods and cope with stress more effectively..Instead of letting daily frustrations build over time, relaxation helps you to cope with problems on a regular basis and encourages you to feel calm and centered.
Find adequate employment.Find a job that meets your needs on multiple levels.This may include having fulfilling work you enjoy, contributing to or creating something meaningful, or having a job that meets your needs and your family’s needs. Think about what needs your job fulfills for you, and whether you want to work there long-term. If you enjoy your job yet you don’t get paid what you need or are required to often work overtime, consider if this job contributes to a balanced life. Keep your work life in balance by finding enjoyment at your workplace and keeping work and other events separate.
- Think of all of the things you want from a job and rank them in order of importance to help guide your search and decision making.
- Leave work at work. This may mean leaving your laptop at your desk and not bringing it home or disconnecting emotionally from difficult situations that happen at your workplace. Don’t dwell on office disputes or “bad days” at the office.
- If your job feels unbalanced in your life, make some changes. You can discuss adjusting your hours, increasing your pay, or transferring to a different department or another job. If this make you anxious, then you may want to work on some assertiveness training. You can do this on your own, such as by reading books or rehearsing what you will say with a friend, or you can work on becoming more assertive with the help of a therapist.
Taking Care of Your Physical Health
Get good sleep.Sleep can affect your productivity at work, irritability and mood, and how sharp your mind feels. If you have trouble sleeping, consider sticking to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. Have a bedtime ritual that helps you feel calm and relaxed. This can include minimizing screen time, taking a bath, meditating, or reading. Make your bedroom comfortable and restful, and make sure your mattress and pillows suit your needs.
- If you tend to let your mind run free at night, calm your thoughts. Remind yourself that you can address problems in the morning and allow your mind to disengage from worries and stresses. Try jotting down what is bothering you and then you can rest assured that you won’t forget it. Keep a pen and notepad by your bed so that you can do this.
Keep your body fit.Exercise and physical activity can help your body feel good and age well. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your mental health and mood.Motivate yourself by doing classes or activities you find fun or working out with a friend. Do something aerobic such as running, biking, dancing, or walking briskly, depending on your ability level. Include strength training in your routine by lifting weights, or doing body weight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups.
- If you’re starting a fitness or exercise program, speak with your physician prior to starting to make sure you are healthy enough to participate. Start slowly and work your way toward more intensity.
Eat nutritious foods.While lots of convenience foods are at your disposal, make an effort to eat healthy and nourishing meals. For example, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Incorporate whole grains into your diet such as brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, and oats. Eat lean proteins such as peas, nuts, eggs, and beans. Replace sugary drinks like sodas with water.If drinking water bores you, add some cucumbers, fruit, or lime juice for a little natural flavor.
- If the thought of eating more veggies annoys you, find simple ways to add them to your meals. For example, micro chop veggies and add them to pasta, enchiladas, or dipping sauce.
- If you don’t enjoy salads, a daily smoothie can help you consume fruit and can help hide greens. Grab a handful of spinach and mix it with your smoothie. While it will likely change the color, it shouldn’t affect the taste. Add a scoop of pea protein for a sustained energy boost!
- Make sure to work meal planning and grocery shopping into your schedule every week.
Avoid addiction.Addictions such as tobacco, caffeine, overeating, gambling, shopping, excessive social media use, drugs, and alcohol can all take a major toll on your overall health and well-being. If you think you have an addiction, seek treatment. Any addiction can cause problems with family and friends, at work, in your body, and in your personal life. Even if you’re not addicted, drinking too much alcohol can cause physical and emotional problems, especially over time.
- If you have an addiction, seek treatment. See a counselor or therapist or enroll in an addiction program.
Video: What one skill = an awesome life? | Dr. Shimi Kang | TEDxKelowna
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