“If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you just might not like their idea of balance.”
– Nigel Marsh
We all desire to have a well-balanced life yet for many of us, this idea of a life appears to be far-fetched and perpetually elusive. Perhaps the reason why is because our perception of what a balanced life looks like may just be skewed and downright unrealistic.
Consciously done or not, many of us have bought into this absurd idea that in order for one to have a balanced life, one would need to be either a “Superman” or a “Superwoman”. We have been lead to believe that we could only attain balance if we were to simultaneously and effortlessly have it together in ALL aspects of our lives.
Sharing the wisdom of David Allen, a renowned productivity consultant and author, who said “You can do anything- but not everything”, though we do have the capabilities of doing just about anything we set our mind to, we can not do everything and certainly not all at once.
The great news is that a balanced life is not impossible to achieve. In fact, it’s very much attainable. However, it does mandate us to free ourselves from the idea a balanced life equals to balancing 1001 things on our plate without even breaking a sweat. More importantly, it requires us to take charge our lives and to follow through on making the changes necessary to gain balance in life.
So what exactly do we need to do to move closer towards life balance?
Here are 5 practical tips and strategies that when incorporated on a daily basis, may just help you achieve a more balanced life.
1. Prioritize your tasks & responsibilities
It sounds simple enough but amidst the hecticness of life, we can easily think of all of the tasks/responsibilities/ goals that demand our time and effort as equally important. In order to step closer to a life of balance, we would need to take an honest look of all of our responsibilities/tasks/goals and take out any that are not essential and do not add value to your life.
We only get 24 hours each day to cater to all life’s demands. Unless you want to continue to spread yourself too thin, cutting off anything that is not important from your list of priorities is simply a must. Be mindful and ensure that your priorities reflect what is truly important to you instead of reflecting everyone else’s needs. As Nigel Marsh, a renowned personal development author explained above “If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you just might not like their idea of balance.”
In today’s world, so much of our time are wasted on being digitally connected that we ended up neglecting the importance and value of real connection. Whenever you can, preferably on weekends, give yourself ample time off from your gadgets and computer.
At the end of the day, it is our relationships that truly matters most. Unplug and choose to be truly present while you spend time better connecting with your friends and family. Use this time to strengthen the relationships you have with your loved ones and create priceless memories.
3. Set aside some “me” time
When our lives are full to the brim, the first thing to go is usually any downtime we set aside for ourselves. Yet spending time alone is a crucial component in becoming more balanced. It has been proven to help lower stress, increase happiness and encourage creativity.
Should you find it too difficult to block off a significant amount of time for yourself, start by setting aside a mere 10-15 minutes a couple of times throughout the week. Whether you use that time to read, to practice yoga, or to take a brisk walk outside, give yourself some much needed down time to do the things that bring you joy.
4. Get adequate sleep
Countless research found that we feel most energized and at our best when we get enough sleep on a daily basis. Though the amount of sleep needed differ from one person another, on average adults need about 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to function optimally and be in a prime state of mind to make important decisions.
If you are used to getting about half of the required amount of sleep, it’s helpful to start by adding 30 minutes more to your normal sleep pattern and then gradually increase it. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself waking up feeling revitalized and be more ready to tackle whatever life throws at you each and every day.
5. Practice Healthy Eating
For most of us, it’s safe to say that when things get hectic, we often let the quality of our food intake slide. I know first-hand that during busy times, it feels easier and more practical to opt for fast or processed food instead of opting for healthier options and/or preparing our own meals. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that whatever we choose to consume has a huge impact on body, mind, and soul.
Just like your car, your brain needs quality fuel to run efficiently. One study found that eating unhealthy food puts you at a 66 % of productivity loss. In contrast, a healthy, balanced diet, coupled with regular physical exercise leaves you feeling great, more energized and boost your mood.
If healthy eating is not something you are used to, taking a detox retreat can help you to make this lifestyle change more manageable. You’ll have access to the knowledge and support of professionals and be surrounded with others who are also working on the same goals.
Alternatively, you can also take baby steps – such as adding a salad to your diet once a day within your week. When done consistently, these small changes become a habit and you can continue to add more healthy choices as time goes on.
In order to ensure that your efforts are sustainable, be sure to make changes and adjustments over time to determine what works best for you. Understand that life balance will not be achieved overnight. With that said, if you continue to commit the time and effort to progress, you’ll eventually discover that you are well on your way to a balanced life you will more than ecstatic to wake up to every day! 🙂