Balancing all facets of life can be a challenge. Learning is one of the greatest skills you will ever obtain. Shirley has some simple tips on how you can become an expert at the balancing act.
The great balancing act of life is one of the lessons we all will be forced to learn at some point in our lives. Maintaining a healthy, balanced life is essential for our happiness and our well-being and it will ensure that we are successful in school and work.
What exactly is a balanced life you may ask? This will vary from person to person and rarely looks the same to everyone. Balance in your life might be about maintaining good grades, while also taking time to see your friends and family, study in the evenings as well as eat well and exercise daily. To someone else it may be about volunteering once a week, running 5km once a month and seeing their family every weekend.
How can you start practising habits that will help bring balance to your life?
Decide What Balance Means to You
What do you spend most of your time doing? Is this activity in line with your goals? If the answer is no, it’s likely that your life is slightly out of balance. Make sure that you align your actions with your goals. Rather than spending half the day watching movies or series and then complaining that you haven’t had enough time to study, consider watching one episode a night and an hour studying. Keeping a balance in life is about maintaining your goals daily.
Perhaps your life is out of balance because you have not set goals. It’s time to set goals and make a conscious promise to yourself to achieve these goals. What kind of goals should you be setting? It can help to set daily, monthly and yearly goals. This means that a daily goal may be to finish an assignment, eat three healthy meals and go for a run. A monthly goal may be to save a certain amount of money per month and a yearly goal may be saving enough money to travel somewhere, or achieve a certain academic result for the year. The reason that setting daily, monthly and yearly goals works, is because it forces you to keep your priorities in check.
Bonus tip: Write your goals down and put them somewhere where you will see it daily to keep you motivated.
Speaking of priorities, learn to set boundaries for yourself and for others. Creating balance means that you will need to set boundaries for yourself. These boundaries can mean limiting your TV or internet time in the evenings to study. Your boundaries could also mean that you limit the time you spend with family or friends in order to maintain balance.
Set ‘Me Time’
Taking time for yourself is just as important as making time for friends and family in your life. Me-time can be anything from exercise to meditation to baking. Making time for yourself is an intrinsic part of a balanced life because it helps you to determine what is important to you and what isn’t. Take time to have a nap if you’re feeling worn out and make time to have a coffee with a friend if you need to talk. It’s important to look after yourself and your needs.
Sometimes, it’s about me…
Trim the Excess
When you know what is important to you, you will quickly learn to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t bring you closer to your goals. Trimming the excess in life means cutting out friends who are negative or who don’t support your goals. It can mean getting rid of bad habits which are negatively affecting your life such as drinking ten cups of coffee a day and then staying awake all night. It will help you determine what activities you have time for and what you simply can’t commit to.
Positivity is so infectious! Spread positivity and happiness around and you will soon see it impact all areas of your life. Creating goals and maintaining balance does not mean you need to be so rigorous in your determination that you shut people out and judge people who might not have as much balance as you. Choose to see the positive in every single situation and you will soon see that what seems like a curse at times can actually be a blessing.
Expect the Unexpected
Expecting the unexpected goes hand in hand with staying positive. When you expect the unexpected, you anticipate that things might not always go your way and you will learn to adjust your goals accordingly. Rather than getting upset if things don’t work out the way you planned, learn to roll with the punches and appreciate the positives in each situation.
Connect with the people around you – not only your friends! Be kind to everyone and see how people change before your eyes. It’s easy to ask someone how their day went, but it’s much harder to really listen. Make sure that you are taking time to really listen to people and to connect with your friends, family and colleagues.
Gratitude is critical to a balanced life. When you put all of your blessings into perspective you begin to realise how lucky you really are and this helps you to be kinder, more positive and to assess the important elements in your life. Of course being grateful can be really hard some days. On days when it feels like everything is going wrong, be grateful for the simple things – like a roof over your head and an able body.
Keep your Body and Mind Healthy
Keeping your mind and emotional well-being in balance is just as important as keeping your body healthy. Get outside and take a walk! Exercising daily has been proven to keep you healthier and happier. Eating healthy is another aspect of balance and one of the areas where most people struggle the most. Try to focus on eating as many fresh, raw foods as you can throughout the day, and keep the take-out and pizza for special occasions.
While setting goals is important to creating a balanced life, it is equally important to have fun and let go every once in a while! Laugh, crack jokes, play and keep your sense of humour while you hustle to achieve your goals. Nothing feels better than a good belly- aching, tears-streaming laugh with friends and family!
Remember that balance is different for everyone, so it doesn’t help to compare your life to someone else’s. Rather, focus on what balance looks like to you. A balanced lifestyle allows you to achieve your goals and be happier, more grateful and more positive! As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”