Pressure to succeed, high expectations and constantly being plugged in seem all too common these days. It feels as though we are always putting out fires and tending to somebody else’s agenda. It is a continual stream of physical, mental and emotional energy being drained daily.
Not to mention what we are all experiencing now in the midst of a global pandemic. It doesn’t get much more stressful and demanding than that. Extra responsibility with kids being at home, perhaps trying to find a job or get your business off the ground all while still taking care of the other regular tasks in life.
It’s a lot to handle. It very easily can appear as though the days turn into weeks which turn into months and all you have focused on are these energy draining items on your to-do list.
What about you though? What about your health and well-being?
I was in a very similar spot in my life in my early to mid-twenties, constantly stressed, worried about the next thing to accomplish, trying to find success in my career, relationships, and my health. Trying to better myself was draining me to no end, however. I knew there had to be a better way. To focus on self-improvement and chase my goals while still maintaining personal well-being and mindfulness in my life.
This is the concept that you have heard before called balance. You hear the buzz words, work-life balance, alignment, being centered, mindfulness. They all lead to that wonderful world of being balanced.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
How the heck does one achieve it though? I struggled with this question for years. It took me a lot of time, trial and error as well as frustration at times. However, as I have continued to develop, I was able to strike a balance in my life that helped me to slow down and focus on my inner well-being.
Here are some of the ways in which I have focused on implementing more balance in my life. Which one’s will you try?
- Set boundaries in your schedule between work and personal time
Setting boundaries are key in getting more balance in your life. It sounds easy enough but executing on it can be difficult. A strategy that I began using and has worked well for me is the concept of time blocking. This is where you fill out your schedule in advance with the different areas of focus for the day. Let’s say for example you end your work day at 5pm. Block out time in your schedule immediately after that for personal time. Whichever way that looks for you. It may be family time, getting a workout in, preparing dinner or anything else that helps you release from your work.
2. Say no more or delegate when necessary
We’ve all experienced this. People asking us to do things that we know would probably be taking on too much, but we say yes anyways to be agreeable and in good favour with that person. This is a big hinderance on finding balance. It is important to focus on your priorities with work or any other obligations that you have. Outside of those main priorities everything else is noise. Now, I am realistic in the sense that if your boss asks you for something that you may not deem necessary, you may not be able to just say no. We all have things that we don’t particularly like to do but at times we have to. In those cases, see if some items can be delegated to others. If something is taking away your energy and efforts from your main priorities, then it probably isn’t serving you or your work very well anyways. Say no more or delegate where you can.
3. Have a self-care routine
This was an extremely important one for me. I used to never take intentional time to take care of myself. No matter what anyone says, self-care time is not selfish! That mindset got me nowhere. I would think that I have so many other things to do and just cannot take the time to do the things necessary to feel centered. If not you, nobody else is going to. Once I started a self-care routine in the morning and evening, it completely changed the way that I felt. My routines include; a quick 5-minute meditation in the morning, prayer, reading 5-10 pages of a personal development book, listening to podcasts that help me learn, a quick cold shower and exercising. In the evening before bed, I turn my electronics off 1 hour before bed, spend time with loved ones, get back into a book to calm the mind and stop eating 2 hours before bed. These routines cover all of the bases in centering me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is just an example of mine; you don’t have to replicate this. Find what works for you in helping you feel balanced and centered. It will take some trial and error but in the long-term sticking to these routines will have profound benefits!
4. Track your progress and set reflection time to celebrate the wins along the way
Tracking, reviewing and reflecting are all a big part of my daily, weekly and monthly habits. It is so easy to go through life on autopilot. You get things done and feels like you’re busy but what did you actually do? When I started tracking my progress, writing down daily wins and then being able to reflect back at the end of the week, it was a really great feeling. Tangibly seeing what I accomplished and the challenges that I overcame then enabled me to celebrate those small wins and feel good about myself. It also sets a framework to replicate the next week and the one after that and so on.
5. Be kind to yourself
I know this sounds basic and cliché. It also ties into celebrating your wins but it is the most important one. This takes a lot of self-awareness because it is much easier to be hard on yourself and feel like you aren’t doing enough to progress and succeed in your life. You constantly want more, you’re comparing yourself to others and it is all extremely overwhelming. Trust me, I have been there so many times. It is a tough place mentally to be in. The key to overcoming this overwhelm and anxiety was being kind to myself. Acknowledging to myself that I am putting my best effort forward in life and that I need to enjoy the journey along the way. This is not meaning to become complacent and take your foot off the gas. It is the ability to shut down that voice in your head telling you that aren’t doing enough. You will begin to get to a point when you hear that voice and feel the overwhelm start to overcome you that you will be able to calm it simply by acknowledging that your self-care is the most important thing for preservation and long-term success
What ways are you going to implement more balance into your life? Take the time to focus on yourself and it will pay dividends for not only you, but others in your life as well. We all experience challenges, roadblocks and setbacks. How we respond is completely up to us. Striking a balance in your life will automatically help you in approaching those responses in a productive way!