What do we mean by a balanced life? Isn’t that going to be different for everyone?
Well, yes it probably is but for me, and I hope for you it’s going to be about having a happy, healthy mind and body. That then enables us to focus on having good habits which then lowers our levels of stress, anxiety, pressure.
Whilst often we can talk about wanting to be happy and healthy, for me this means emotional health too. That’s why I talk such a lot on the podcast about our mindset, our actions, how we respond and react.
It’s all very well going to the gym regularly or some other form of keeping fit. We might eat healthily – much of the time at least. We might work hard, do a job we love, strive to be a good person, be helpful, be kind. But what’s the point of doing all that if we are still getting stressed and anxious about it. Worse still, if we are not properly giving ourselves time to rest, recover and re-charge our batteries.
I’ve talked previously about all sorts relating to the subjects of mental health. It’s not just about self care. It’s about changing your mindset, having great boundaries, saying no to things (so that you say yes to others). All this reduces your stress and anxiety levels, so then you have more time, more energy to do things we love, just because we love them. Or even doing nothing. Yes, that’s allowed. Give yourself permission to do those things without guilt, pressure or other expectation.
How often do you do something you just love to do. It might be reading, drawing, singing, dancing – the list can do on.
When did you last learn something new – that wasn’t work related?
The trick with getting the balance in life is to ensure that we incorporate things we enjoy doing – just for the sake of it, for fun, for relaxation, for pleasure and balance it with things that we …. I hate to use the word … but things we must do.
We all have responsibilities, like work, paying the bills, looking after kids / family, but we need to get that balance between those things and the fun and joyful things. They often end up last on the list.
I don’t mean burn the candle at both ends so you can fit all this is. It’s a matter of prioritising or scheduling or just giving yourself permission. That way you ensure you don’t burn out or become ill.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. Thomas Merton
Recognise what your priorities and values are and then plan accordingly. These can change over time.
One of my clients came to me for help in the confidence to go for promotion. Then found out his wife is expecting, just after we started working together. This baby has been a long time coming and so he’s shifted his priorities a little and is going to wait a few months until the baby is here and stay in his current role, rather than be overloaded with expectation and commitment. New job, new baby, new routines, all the new that comes with both those, do not necessarily want to happen at the same time. He made a choice.
Sometimes you have to plan to do the must-do things and the fun things. Often if we don’t plan and put them in our calendar then weeks and months go by and nothing has happened. You’ve not met those friends, you’ve not started to read more even though really want to. Putting it in the calendar – not every day – but some days, means it’s more likely to happen.
But if other things happen, something unexpected, then you’re able to go with the flow and change things without stress or frustration. Then those times with friends, or the dancing or whatever can often be re-arranged rather than never happy at all.
We can’t plan everything, and I wouldn’t recommend that. But we do have the power to choose that we do, when we do it.
Focus Your Energy
When the kids were little, we were fighting with social workers to get additional help for them. It was hard and we were getting nowhere. I was getting incredibly stressed by it and the kids needed a lot of my time, but the fighting needed a lot too. It was emotionally draining.
One day I realised that I needed to put my energy where I would get the best outcome. Fighting a system of protocol and red-tape was not going to change things. Focussing my energy on the kids could.
You can too. Decide where and how you can focus your energies. Physical and emotional energies. It might need a change of mindset, just like I had to.
It will lead to a less stressful, more balanced life.