We’ve all heard at some point that we need to find better balance in our lives. This sounds like a fantastic concept and conjures up images of a perfect daily routine in our minds. A day in which we exercise, eat well, spend time with our families, work hard, take care of ourselves (and our children, if your are parents), keep our homes clean, do all of our errands, work on creative projects, manage our money, and so on.
Sounds overwhelming? Well…it can be. We all lead busy lives to some extent and attaining balance can feel more like a chore than anything to actually strive for. In the following article, we’ll explore just what the meaning of balance is and how to achieve it in your day to day life. Enjoy!
Learning to Ride the Bike of Balance
Balance has several definitions and interpretations. It also has many diverse meanings for different types of people and circumstances. The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of balance is:
A state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.
Knowing this, I like to explain balance by using the analogy of a bicycle wheel. The tire is your life and all the different areas of your life (such as career, relationships, spirituality, finances, education, physical activity…etc…) are the spokes. If one of those spokes comes loose or becomes compromised, it starts to have an effect on the whole wheel – throwing other spokes out of alignment, causing the wheel to wobble.
It is a good way to visualize that our lives are not as compartmentalized as we think. We are holistic beings and every individual area of your life is connected to and affects all other areas.
The Convenience Conundrum
I believe the main reason that people are so out of balance these days is because we have been conditioned to believe that productivity is king. Relaxation and “me time” have become something we more often than not put on the back burner. People worldwide are experiencing all time highs when it comes to stress levels. We have become all about instant gratification and have adopted a mentality of:
“let’s make things easier, faster and more convenient”
This way of living is a surefire way to get yourself caught in a permanent state of imbalance. To read more about effective stress management, I recommend reading 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress
Me: The Best Company
One of the most important things I relay to my clients is that it is an absolute necessity to have “me time.” Balance goes right out the window when you don’t have a moment to stop and get present to your own life. Many times we go on auto pilot and our days become a series of going through the motions.
It’s important to take care of our self from time to time. Try to reduce the stress level by taking a warm bath, writing down what you’re thinking and feeling in a journal, or doing your favorite activity. Living a more balanced life also entails making good use of your time. Although technology plays a vital role in your life, it’s a good idea to put down your electronic devices and stay away from social media for a while. You can read, go for a walk, or spend time with your loved ones.
Taking time for yourself is one of the easiest ways to keep your life in balance. This will also have an overall positive effect on your entire body. I often hear people say, “But I don’t have the time!” To which I reply, “Make the time!” Sometimes we forget that we are the ones setting up and planning our own lives. Most of us don’t have much flexibility around our work schedules (although some do). However, the time you are not spending at work or on personal/family duties is wide open for you to create what you want. Your calendar is not going to magically find time for you, you have to create time!
Make good use of your working hours
Make a mental or written list of all the tasks you need to complete during the day and prioritize them. There are numerous strategies for maximizing your working time that are now widely accepted. Good time management at work has the advantage of not leaving you feeling overwhelmed and allowing you to leave on time without feeling guilty or stressed, as well as freeing up a suitable amount of hours for your personal hobbies.
Spend your non office time with your family. When you are at work, give 100% to your work tasks. But when you get home, you absolutely must learn to disconnect from work completely. Only then will you be able to enjoy your spouse, your children or your friends. People will let you go and support you in your goal if they believe it will be beneficial when you return. When it comes to work-life balance, the quality of family time is more important than the quantity.
Priorities as a Priority
What is most important to you? What makes you happy? What would a balanced life look like for you? In order to live in balance you need to figure out your priorities and create your life around them. For me, my number one priority is making sure that I get time to unwind.
For someone else it may be spending time with their family. Maybe your number one priority is dedicating your life to your work and keeping your bank account healthy. Discovering what your number one priority is can be the key to leading a balanced life. When I say priority I mean authentic priority.
You have to get real with yourself. Maybe you think your number one priority is your job because you need to make money to support your family financially. However, I would like for you to consider that your REAL number one priority may be spending quality time with your kids as they are growing up. Creating and knowing what is most important to you will automatically bring balance to your life. As you focus more on what really matters, the secondary things seem to fall into place.
Need a priority makeover? Check out the book, How to Get Your Priorities Straight.
Pizza, Beer, and Yoga: Creating Harmony in a World Out of Balance
Living a balanced life is a challenge well worth the rewards. Every area of your life has an equal contribution to your overall health and well-being. Emotional, mental, and spiritual health are all huge contributors to how you eat. When it comes to living a balanced life, I consider these types of non-physical elements a primary form of nutrition because they directly influence how you eat.
Someone who is authentically happy with their life is going to eat much differently than someone who is miserable or hates themself. All aspects of career, relationship, physical activity, community, spirituality and even thinking patterns have a profound effect on what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat the way we eat.