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When life starts to feel a little crazy and a lot unbalanced, it’s time to find your center. There are some easy things you can do to balance out the parts of your life that need a little help. Even though “everything” may seem like it’s out of whack, chances are if you look at the main facets of your life there will be some steadiness.
What are the main facets of your life when it comes to balance?
Well, it depends on who you are- but they probably involve a few or all of the following:
You (You’re first, no matter what else is going on. You can’t be your best for everyone else if yourself isn’t taken care of.)
Marriage (Marriage is second. If your marriage is worth it, you’ll place it high on your list.)
The rest are in no particular order.
At any point one or more of these areas will probably need some attention. You know what it is- maybe you haven’t spoken to your teen daughter in 3 days other than “how was school” and “who’s driving to practice?” Like, really, *really* spoken with her. Maybe you & your husband are both crazy busy with work, and carpooling and Girl Scouts & hockey practice and you haven’t seen each other much except for the occasional high-five as you pass by in the hallway. Maybe your boss doesn’t think it’s a big deal that you’ve been at work until 8pm three nights this week.
Whatever it is you know it needs some attention, so identify it & address it! Here is a simple balance wheel to refer to when something seems a little off.
What is balance and why is it so important?
We constantly hear about bringing balance to our lives, but why? Finding balance is on ongoing process and it takes work. If your life is chaotic it may take awhile to get it under control, but it’s possible & so worth it when you do! If you’ve woken up recently thinking something’s gotta give it’s likely your life is missing balance.
So what is balance, exactly?
Balance is when all facets of your life act in concert with each other. You make yourself a priority, your marriage is thriving, you have good relationships with your children, your career is moving along at a pace you’re happy with, your finances are manageable, your house is under control, you’re involved in groups & activities you’re passionate about… in a nutshell, life is good.
All of the above may not apply to you- maybe you’re not married, maybe you don’t have kids, maybe you don’t have a career, per se. That’s ok! A “well balanced life” looks different for everyone because we’re all living different lives!
And why is balance so important?
Balance is so important because it’s what allows you to stay calm and remain grounded. A balanced life lessens your stress level, it leads to a healthier life and it improves your overall mood. Bottom line, when your life is balanced you feel great and can live your best life.
Ideas for creating a well-balanced life:
Going back to the facets listed above, what are some ways you can give the attention to each facet that it deserves? Let’s start at the top with You and Marriage, as I believe those are the most important areas to focus on. If you’re not married that’s ok! As I said above, a well-balanced life looks different for everyone. Being married, having kids and having a career do not define a well-balanced life. But if you are married your marriage needs to be a priority that comes right after You.
How can you take care of you to bring balance to your life? First, determine what self-care practices you have done in the past that have brought a sense of calm. For me, the sound of water and looking at water calms me. Fortunately most of the year I live on a lake, so the water keeps me calm. But I can’t hear or see the water from my bedroom, and that is where technology comes in. The “RelaxMeditation” app is amazing- it has every sound and combination of sounds you can imagine. I love to set it to the sound of waves and just decompress.
- Yoga, pilates or meditation.
- Take a hot bath.
- Read a book.
- Get a pedicure.
- Read The Little Book of Hygge (I *love* this book!) and start a list of things you can simplify in your life.
- Make an appointment with your therapist, or find a therapist.
- Take a walk.
- Go to a movie alone.
- Give yourself a facial.
- Schedule a massage.
- Take a mental health day- and don’t let anyone else stay home.
- Walk along the lakeshore.
- Take a hike.
- Spend time in your garden.
- Cook an amazing meal.
- Learn to bullet journal- it will keep you organized and force you to take time for yourself every day. The Bullet Journal Method book is great.
- Order dinner out.
- Take a nap or rest for a little while.
Marriage takes so much work & effort and should be a top priority in your life. If it isn’t, you may want to think about why it isn’t, and if you want it to be. Ho can you regain balance in your marriage?
- Have a weekly “status” meeting. It sounds formal, but knowing what the upcoming week looks like and reflecting on the previous week so you can adjust if necessary eliminates a lot of stress, confusion and resentment.
- Plan a date night.
- Go for a walk together.
- If your kids are school age, go to the park. They can play while you talk.
- Find something fun you both enjoy: tennis, golf, playing cards.
- Volunteer together.
- Plan a weekend trip- and take it.
If your family is feeling a little disconnected it’s time to take a step back from all of the activities that are keeping everyone on the go & schedule some family time.
- Plan a family vacation.
- Have mother/daughter, mother/son, father/daughter, father/son time. Find an activity that you both enjoy that also allows for conversation: coffee, ice cream, golf, shopping, dinner, bowling, batting cages, lunch…and put your phones down.
- Have a weekly or bi-monthly game night. You’d be surprised that even teens will enjoy this. Just be sure it’s at a time that they are available, like Sunday night, so they aren’t resentful. It’s a fine line!
- Find an activity you all love- bowling, geocaching, hiking, go to an escape room, scavenger hunt, camping.
If your career isn’t all you imagine it could be, why is that? Are you putting in hours with out recognition, is your review 8 months late?
- Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your concerns.
- Ask for a raise.
- Update your resume and start looking for your “dream job.”
- Have a conversation with your boss about “conventional hours” if you’re finding yourself at the office at 7pm more nights than not.
When my house is a mess I am super stressed and it really takes its toll on me, my marriage and my kids (when they were at home) because I’m stressed! If your house isn’t the calming oasis you imagine it can be it’s time for a change. Your house should be a happy, clutter free, clam space.
- Simplify by getting rid of stuff you don’t use, need or want. Have a sale, donate to charity, give things to friends or a couple just starting out.
- Organize & clean as you go.
- Lay down the law to your kids: if it’s left out it’s getting tossed. And then do it. They’ll live & they’ll put their stuff away next time. At the very least confiscate it and have them earn it back with extra chores.
Health is a big one. If you’re not healthy you’re not feeling your best & that will affect your balance.
- Eat properly.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take your medicine- don’t let prescriptions run out.
- See a therapist if you need to or want to.
- Exercise- at least walk your dog! (Or your kid.)
Friends are an important part of a well-balanced life! You may not think so, and they may often take a back seat to everything else you have going on, but getting together with your friends to do something you enjoy is good for your soul. I’m really fortunate that I have a group of girlfriends who happen to have daughters who ate my daughters’ ages. A few months ago we started having monthly Mom/Daughter nights and it has been so much fun! We’ve had a secret santa exchange with dinner, went to a wine tasting and attended a cooking class so far. The girls aren’t all “best friends,” but they have known each other for ages and have a blast together.
- Plan a girls night out.
- Have a spa day.
- Take a class.
- Plan a rotating appetizer & wine night at each others’ houses.
- Take a weekend trip.
- Explore a new winery or brewery.
All of that said, not all friends, or relationships for that matter, are worthy of you. Identify any that are sucking you dry and start to break away. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
No, not that kind of passion. I’m talking about what you’re passionate about. What makes you tick? What do you love doing? What doesn’t feel like another job? Find it and do it.
- Take a class.
- Join an adult sports league- volleyball, golf, running, cycling, basketball.
- Paint a picture.
- Write a book.
- Teach a class. You’re an expert at something!
This is a big one. If you are constantly stressed about money your life will never be well-balanced. What can you do to fix your situation? If your situation isn’t dire, and is in fact not bad at all, what can you improve?
- Start paying down debt.
- Work on improving your credit.
- Invest in stocks.
- Take advantage of your 401k.
- Look into investment property purchases.
- Take a money management class.
I hope this helps you get an idea of how to get started on your journey to a well-balanced life! It may not be easy at first, but once you start identifying the areas that are causing you to feel off and you start focusing on them you’ll see the rest start to fall into place.
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