Updated: May 25, 2021
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but balance, order, rhythm, and harmony".~Thomas Merton
A well-balanced life is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind, and overall health and happiness. However, for most of us, this is a challenging task to achieve living in a busy and over-committed western world where busyness is celebrated, encouraged, and even seen as a measurement of our worth and success. But I believe that to find the balance, we have to avoid the trap of thinking that more things, more commitments, and more everything is always better. Saying yes to everything isn’t the best way forward. It can be a catalyst for physical and mental burnout and a gateway to an unfulfilled life.
Naturally, balance will not look the same for everyone. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. Everyone’s needs and capabilities are different; what is essential to remember is, the decisions you make are influenced by what you value—the beliefs, attitudes, and ideas you think are important. So looking closely at your values is a first step toward understanding your current position to help you determine what is most important and expend your time and energy accordingly.
Here are a few things that I’ve used and learned in my journey that might help your quest for the desired life balance.
1. Cut back on the non-essentials. If you’re struggling to find balance in your life, a lack of time is the most common issue. Take a look at how you spend your time each week. What are the activities you can do without?
2. Re-evaluate your idle time. Now, consider all the ways you genuinely waste time. This might include watching TV reruns, surfing through your social media or news feeds. The more time you can find in your life to apply to the things that matter, the more balanced you can make your life.
3. Set your priorities. Know what balance means to you. What are essential things in your life? If you know your priorities, you can put your time to the best possible use.
4. Focus on your health. Giving your health a high level of priority can help to balance everything else. If your health is essential, you’ll find the time and energy to eat properly and exercise. You’ll get enough sleep. Placing importance on your health can help prevent the rest of your life from getting out of control.
5. Plan your time. Have a plan for your week and each day. Know how you’re going to spend your day before the day arrives. That way, you can make the most of your time. The more you can accomplish with your time, the more your life can be in balance.
6. Focus on the most important tasks. You could work on many things each day, but only a few will make a big difference. These tasks usually aren’t the most fun, but they’ll save you the most time. You can’t major
in the minor things if you want to be successful and have a balanced life.
7. Review consistently. Life is dynamic, so even if you can create a balanced life, it won’t stay that way forever. Keep your finger on the pulse of your life. Look for ways to improve. Notice when things are starting to get out of control again.
8. Get support. Making changes isn’t easy. Rather than struggling and risking failure, get all the outside help and support you can. You might ask loved ones, friends, colleagues or seek professional help.
9. Have reasonable expectations. Unrealistic expectations are one of the biggest reasons for stress and work-life imbalance. Often, we chase a goal or expectation set for unrealistic or too big, too fast. We are often in this cycle of habits and expectations that prevent us from ever attaining our goal. If you want to change or achieve something, make sure it is realistic and achievable, know that you won’t be perfect getting there, and make sure your expectations and daily habits help you reach your goal, not keeping you from ever getting there!
The bottom line is, creating and maintaining a balanced life is hard to master but attainable with hard work and the desire for change that only comes from within!
Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW, Is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...