How to live a balanced life.
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony," Thomas Merton
As we go through our day-to-day routines, it can sometimes feel like we are being pulled towards a thousand directions at a time. This is especially true for working moms and dads, who usually feel the need to maintain a perfect family life, while having to excel at work at the same time. The pressure of having to juggle between work and home often leads to burn out, resulting in anxiety, depression and sometimes even resentment towards life.
Life is a balancing act, and burning both ends of a candle can only lead to exhaustion. In today’s society, how do we achieve balance without sacrificing performance? The tips below might help.
- Take time for personal reflection
The first step towards change is to assess every area of your life right now and acknowledge how each of them makes you feel. The five main elements of life for most people are: health, family, work, social, and fun. Take some time to reflect on each of these segments and rate your satisfaction for them on a scale of one to ten. How did you score on every individual element, and how did you feel overall? This practice allows you to really reflect on your current state of mind and create a clear picture of which area of your life requires more attention.
- Learn how to set priorities
As Oprah Winfrey once said, "I've learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time." One of the most important rules to remember in achieving a balanced life is that you don't have to do it all. Trying to cram in all the activities that you want to do into a short period of time can not only burn you out but will result in mediocre results in the tasks that you manage to complete. Instead of trying to achieve perfection in everything, examine each pending task that you have, and decide which ones are most important to you now. Focus on one major project at a time and set appropriate boundaries for other stuff to avoid biting off more than you can chew. Although we may want to do as much as we can at a time, oftentimes, quality matters more than quantity in life.
- Plan and prepare
Success doesn't happen spontaneously; it is the result of careful planning and effort. Just thinking that you want to live a balanced life is not adequate; you will have to take time to plan for it. At the end of every week, carve out some time to re-examine your priorities, and write down the main projects that you want to focus on for the next seven days. Remember to ensure that all five elements of your life are taken care of, so you can achieve balance without sacrificing productivity. This may seem time consuming for some, but the activity of planning out your week consistently allows you to have a good idea on how to divide your time effectively, and get used to the habit of prioritizing.
- Practice letting go
As much as we'd like to oversee our lives at all times, there will be things that fall out of our control every now and then. We have all experienced unexpected setbacks, whether it be financial problems, work issues, or even the weather; which can disrupt our plans. When this happens, instead of feeling upset over it, practice letting go and just going with the flow. Stuff happens, and when you are able to accept that, you will develop the ability to navigate life with more serenity. When your plans get thrown off, being frustrated or angry will not help; on the other hand, taking some time to adjust and get back on track will help you achieve better balance.