Balance in life is something that we all seek, but many struggle to find. We all wear so many hats; employee, spouse, parent, friend, child, volunteer, the list goes on. While many of these hats bring us immense joy, they also bring us a feeling of stress and failure when we aren’t able to balance it all. All that stress, especially when it’s chronic, can cause negative emotional and physical effects, ranging from muscular tension to depression and even heart problems. So, here are a few simple ways to bring more balance into your life every day.
Who are you spending your most time with?
Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Have you ever noticed that you take on many of the traits and emotions of those around you? If you’re constantly exposed to negative people, stressful situations, and let’s face it, drama that doesn’t need to be in your life, it’s going to take its toll. With all that you have going on in your life, the last thing you need is to have to worry about baggage that never seems to go away. Helping a friend through a rough patch is great, but if it’s a constant source of stress with no reciprocal support, it may be time to cut back on the time you spend in that relationship. Those that give you a real break and let your social self flourish, spend more time with them. If you have someone who leaves you even more stressed and down after your interaction, set boundaries and limit your time with them.
Are you doing too much?
Once you’ve established more boundaries concerning the people you surround yourself with, it’s time to turn your attention to balancing all the plates you’re juggling. We live in a busy time, so prioritizing your schedule is a must. And be sincerely honest with yourself on what things are genuinely priorities and what things are just emergencies. Obviously, work is a necessity for most of us, but if you’re taking on extra hours or staying over all the time to complete a project because you’re struggling with time management, find ways to optimize your time while there so you can avoid that overtime if possible and keep the rest of your time for other things. As for home life, something as simple as making a cleaning schedule and meal planning each week can immediately help to save you time and stress. Getting your family on board takes even more stress off of you. Also, you can have one meal prep day every week or so to get breakfast and snacks ready to grab at any time and either cook ahead or at least prep ingredients to throw in a slow cooker or the oven as needed. An hour every Sunday can save you a few hours through the week.
Are you getting enough me time?
Make sure your personal time is valuable, helping you nourish yourself and the most important relationships in your life. Family game night, movie night, and craft night can all be great options that allow your family to put the phones down and focus on one another. Scheduling one day a month with friends to grab lunch, dinner, or even a quick coffee to catch up can be a perfect solution to your self-care and social needs. Make sure you are adequately filling your cup so you can pour out to others.
Another thing to keep in mind is it’s okay to say no. With such a busy schedule, you’re going to need time to not only keep all these things balanced, but take time for yourself too. Whether you promise to read a new book each week, treat yourself to dinner once a week, take an hour for yourself, or get a monthly massage, doing something for yourself is a must and should be just as much a priority as anything else. Finding balance in life isn’t about putting as much as you can on your plate, it’s about knowing your limits and working within them to build the most meaningful life you can.