There are so many different components of life, from your career, to your social life, to self care, that it can be seem difficult to excel in all of them. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can better achieve balance in your life, and it just takes a little bit of self-reflection and extra effort to find the right amount of time for everything. We feel our healthiest and happiest when all of our needs are being met, and in order to do that, we have to make sure nothing falls by the wayside.
"Balance and self-care are vital to one’s mental and physical being so that we have the fuel to take on whatever lies ahead," says health coach Emily Marquis over email. "By looking at our life holistically, we can notice that everything is interconnected. When the balance of healthy diet and exercise is off, it can tip the scales on [something like] mood and relationships."
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. Here are 11 helpful ways for you to achieve more balance in your life.
1. Utilize A Schedule
Most people write down meetings and appointments, so why no schedule other important activities you have in mind, even if they don't involve someone else? "There are many tools out there, from paper daily planners to many layers of Google calendars," says Marquis. "Use them and don’t just schedule the tasks or to-do lists. Be sure to schedule your self-care, including exercise, down time and date nights. Be sure to block off this time and stick to it."
2. Be Spontaneous
On the flip side, it's okay to a have a day or two where nothing is planned and you have room to be spontaneous. "Intentionally schedule a day, night, or weekend when nothing is scheduled," says Marquis. "Use that day to do something fun and different locally. Break out of your mold and be creative."
3. Know When To Say Yes And No
"Many of us, women especially, are taught from an early age that we need to please others to succeed in life," says psychologist Dorian Crawford, PsyD over email. "Although there is something to be said about being a giving person, when the takers go overboard, you're done for. "A way to say no that doesn't burn bridges is to say, 'How about giving me a call next month — I think I'll have more time to donate at the animal shelter then,' or 'I wish I could help, but I am stretched too thin right now. Here is the name of the banker I used at my bank to help me get my finances in order.'"
4. Check In With Yourself
"Check in on your satisfaction gauge," says Crawford. "How satisfied do you feel with life? Are you happy with the direction you are going? Is there one thing that is not feeling right or contributing to a sense of well-being?" We can't strive for what we want until we know what we want, so take a break from the hustle and bustle of life to tune in to your feelings.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
We often skip yoga to work late or forego sleep for a night out with friends, but none of these activities are beneficial if your physical and mental state isn't positive. "You’ve all heard the phrase about putting on your own oxygen mask first so you can take care of others, right? Well, it’s true," says Marquis. You must put your self-care first so that you can master stress in whatever way it comes. Be true to a healthy diet and exercise to fuel your mind and body."
6. Focus On A Balanced Week
Not every day can be perfect, as unforeseen bumps along the road are inevitable. "Your boss will need you to stay late, or you get sick" says life and leadership coach Amanda Sowadski over email. "When that happens, be compassionate with yourself and focus on adding back in the much needed balance for the rest of the week. Shift and adjust as necessary so you can have a balanced week."
7. Document How You Spend Your Time
Just like sometimes you need a budget breakdown to see how much money you're spending, it might help to map out exactly how you spend your time to see where your energy is going. "Write down how you spend every 15 minutes for three full days," says Sowadski. "Then you can see where you want to make small shifts in order to create more free-time that can be used for the things you really want to do."
8. Focus On The Good Relationships
If you don't have a lot of time, you want to make sure you're spending it with the right people. "If there is someone optional in your life as a support person who is always taking energy from you, [think about] why are you in this relationship," says psychotherapist Cheryl M. Bradshaw over email. "Can this be altered? Should you re-evaluate? This can bring more balance to your life as well."
9. Stick To Set Work Hours
No one's saying to leave before your work is finished, but try to set a designated work time so you don't carry that stress with you all day long. "Make sure that you have a hard and fast rule that you work during work hours and leave the work at work, so that you can more actively focus on self and others," says psychologist Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC over email.
10. Picture What You Want In Life
Sometimes it can help to look at the big picture. "Think about when you are 95 years old, on your death bed, looking back on your life," says Bradshaw. "What do you imagine being most happy about? What do you imagine wishing you did more of, or less of? Then take this imagining and reflect back on your current life, and see if you are in alignment."
11. Ask For Help
There are times when it's impossible to do everything on our own, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. "Seek out support systems," says Sowadski. "Ask your partner to help with some of the tasks you currently do so that the two of you have more time for each other. Reach out to your friends if you are going through a rough patch and need some extra TLC."
Finding the right balance takes some time, but once you get into a groove, you'll find that staying on track gets easier.
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