Lately it seems we’re obsessed with establishing balance in our lives. The day to day rat race keeps us running in diametrically opposed directions from one moment to the next. When life feels off-kilter, whether its due to neglected or all-consuming life domains, we strive to re-balance ourselves and maintain a comfortable order. Some of us desire more time with family and less time at work. Some need time for self nurturing, and less time worrying about everyone else. Some crave time for education and skill development instead of household chores. The formula for balance may look quite different for everyone. Regardless, the demands of daily life can leave us feeling exhausted and depleted. No matter how it looks for you, at the end of the day, the satisfaction we seek is the same. It’s an equilibrium. A sense of peace. Although it’s not straight forward, it is achievable. It’s composition requires soul searching and personal exploration of values to clearly define its meaning. Use these quick tips for assessing where your life is out of balance and how to restore its equilibrium.
1. What are your top five priorities today? Name the life domains that define you in this moment. There is an emotional you. There is a physical you. There is a sexual, intellectual, professional, spiritual, recreational, and social you. Are you attending to all the facets of your life that are you? Take a few minutes to consider each of the roles and realms of your life that receive your attention, and those that don’t. Give each a score from 1-10 representing how prominent they are in your life now. Give them another score of 1-10 representing how you want them to rank in your life. What do you notice when you compare your scores? Does any area of your life need more time and attention? Name one thing you can do today, or this week, to get closer to that comfortable balance.
2. Recognize feelings as sensory cues to the kind of changes you want to make. If you’re feeling an urgency to devote time to an area of your life that’s been neglected, then get started! Listen to your feelings. This is a valuable source of information about what’s important to you. It’s the voice of your values. It may be the key that unlocks the answers to achieving that sense of satisfaction.
3. Take an inventory of your daily activities. Write down how you spend your time. What do you notice? Are some areas of your life consuming more of your time and energy than others? Is there an opportunity to change that distribution of your time? Is there wasted time? Once you’ve acknowledged how you’re spending your time each day, you can make adjustments based on what you need to be doing. Schedule your time and stick to it.
4. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Identify chores, tasks, and activities that you can share with your partner, spouse, or children to free up time for yourself. Devote newfound time to the neglected areas of your life. Most often, they’re the self care realms of life. Is there a class you want to take, a book you want to read, or a sport, instrument, or language you want to learn? Be creative in finding the time and resources to make it happen. The happier and more balanced you feel, the better you’ll be at fulfilling the roles and responsibilities to which you are accountable.
5. Manage stress. Stress is an implicit part of life. In moderation, it’s what keeps us going. When it’s overwhelming, it can be stifling. Find ways to reduce your stress by reducing your number of daily tasks and do something nice for yourself. Stop multitasking. Slow down. Turn off the television and log out of your computer. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, have dinner with a friend. Exercise a few times each week. Get rest. Breathe. You deserve to have fun and relax. One could argue you need it in order to be your best at the myriad of roles you play in life.