7 Easy Steps To Create Life Balance
One of the easiest things that we do in life is forget about the value of our self. When our lives get busy we have a tendency to put friends, family and any other person in front of our own needs. This is neither unusual nor uncommon. It is in human nature that we look after our community and take care of others with great attention. The cost to this nurturing of others, comes at the expense of one’s own well-being. In particular, people tend to most greatly distort their work-life balance.
In a universally connected world of cell phones, laptops and the Internet, we are able to work longer, work remotely, and never figure out how to leave the office. This life centered on work, and devoid of natural balance, adversely affects every relationship in your life. The increased stress levels and lack of rest adversely affect your health and emotional well-being. By failing to take care of yourself, even the time spent with your loved ones is fractured.
Here are seven easy ways to find life balance. You can start these this very moment and reconnect with yourself, and the ones you love most.
1. Decide what is most important to you.
Before you can create an action plan for changing your life and bringing a healthy balance to your work schedule, make a list of your top priorities. It is natural that you will be torn in some of this decision-making process because of the inter-connectedness of your work and family. Work provides opportunity, lifestyle and security. It is natural that you work as much as you do, and have created the in proper life balance because of your commitment to relationships and family. Revisit your list and make sure that it is honest and agrees with your emotional content.
One easy method for developing this exercise is to take time apart from work. This may be easier said than done, but the reward will be great. A cautionary note, however. Trying to find your life priorities on a family vacation is probably as difficult as trying to prioritize your life on a lunch break at work. Take some time for yourself and focus on just taking care of you. Remember back to when your life was relatively carefree. Think about the things that you loved and enjoyed the most. These areas should be the focus of your list, and the areas that matter most to you.
Allow your goals and purpose to reflect your priorities. After all, the major theme running through the LivingSingleLivingWell blog is about finding purpose. It is not until we find our individual purpose and allow that to be a firm rudder in the river of life that we find a sense of calm and peace.
2. Be unwavering in pursuing your priority list.
Tasks other than those which are on the priority list detract from your direction and overall sense of well-being. They take time away from the things that are most important to you. As another exercise, keep track of all of the time killers and things that you do throughout the course of each day. Keep that list for one week. At the end of the week, review the list. Decide what is to be eliminated from your schedule during the following week. You’ll very find that there are hours of mindless television, errands that did not have to be run, and countless other tasks that took you away from your priority list.
The test is quite simply the following: do these activities support my goals and objectives? If the answer is anything other than a definitive “yes”, eliminate those tasks, duties and time wasting events from your life. Life balance will be an impossible objective unless you weed out irrelevant tasks from each hour.
3. Set clear boundaries for your family and work time.
Because we are able to be connected to the office at any moment, or even to casual relationships who demand time, set clear boundaries between each relationship. Think of every relationship that matters as having been placed within a silo. When you are together with a friend or family member, devote your full attention to that person. Do your best to avoid time-sharing your life between work and pleasure. You’ll find that in all instances, your life will be more focused, more productive, and more connected.
Disconnecting from social media and the television will be the most difficult aspect for some. For all, however, this will be one of the most important components of creating life balance.
4. Make time to connect with self.
Usually we neglect ourselves at the expense of everyone and everything else around us. When life gets busy, we neglect our fitness, our diets, and our time to just be still. The most important aspect of finding life balance, is to ensure that you allow time for yourself. There is nobody more important than ourselves. If we fail to take care of ourselves, we are no good to anybody else. Neither your family nor friends want to be around a zoned out, workaholic, who is so self absorbed that they have no ability to connect on some deeper level.
Here are a few strategies that you can incorporate to start taking care of yourself today.
- practice meditation
- create a routine fitness schedule that takes you away from your normal life
- take a nap
- go for a walk
- sit in the sun and be still
- enjoy your children’s sporting events on the sideline under the trees
There are 1000 ways that you can find time to relax and take care of yourself. The important part is that you choose at least three of them and incorporate them into your schedule this week.
5. Restart your fitness and diet plan
There is no reason to wait until New Year’s to make a resolution to live a healthier life. If work has taken over your life, restart the diet and fitness plan that you put on the shelf months or years ago. Do not go overboard on this change of schedule. This does not need to be a burdensome challenge. We can see great benefit from even a small course correction in our lives. The changes can be as simple as 20 minutes of stretching in the sun, a short walk around the neighborhood, or giving up the diet soda drinks that you have in the afternoon and evening. Everything counts and everything makes you better. Within a very short period of time, even your small efforts will pay great dividends for your long-term health and your emotional well-being.
6. Cultivate a new activity or hobby.
While it seems counter-intuitive that in your quest for life balance, you are incorporating a new activity into your life. In fact you are paying yourself. By learning a new skill or new sport, you are creating new outlets and new relationships. Your brain is creating new pathways. You are breaking old routines and habits that once took you away from your priorities. It will be in the breaking of these routines that you see great strides in aligning the other components of your life. Soon you will see a gravitation towards your life balance priority list. Each step that moves you closer to living a life rich with your goals and priorities is one step away from the old, inefficient and tired self.
7. Strengthen the relationships around you.
We live in an interconnected world of community. We are social creatures and we live best when we have a sense of connection to others. It is the rare person that is able to live and function well in isolation. Each of us have people in our lives that love and care about us enormously. Allow them to love you. Make the time to more fully incorporate them into your life. Through the giving of your time, you’ll see their gratitude be returned to you tenfold. Relationships are analogous to a small plant. While many can survive with very little care or water, they bloom with even a little extra attention. People are no different. Take one person in your life, and pay special attention to him or her. Be a little extra thoughtful in your words. Let them know that you’re thinking of them with your actions. In return, you’ll see a level of gratitude that you had previously not seen within that relationship. That return of gratitude will be a boost for your happiness and overall well-being.
Stay vigilant and enjoy your life balance
The road to creating life balance begins with a good action plan. You have your goals and priorities set. Like any good business plan, now it is time to execute on it. Be diligent about taking note of the time wasting events. Enjoy the fruits of your small victories and course corrections. Stay focused on your goals and in a very short period of time you’ll find that your life balance has found a firm platform on which to rest.
Have you tried to set life balance goals and had trouble executing on the plan?