Are you craving balance? Are you looking for ways to create balance in your life? Perhaps you’re wondering, with everything you have on your plate, whether balance is even possible?
When our time, energy and focus are pulled in so many different directions, between work, home, relationships, family, and hobbies (just to name a few!), it’s little wonder that balance can feel elusive.
Focusing too much time and energy on just a few aspects of our life at the expense of others causes our health and well-being to suffer, leaving us exhausted, burnt-out and miserable.
But balance can be tricky to define. We know instinctively when we aren’t balanced, but what does balance in life actually mean, and how can we make it happen?
Read on for my take on balance, and my tips for how to create balance in your life.
Misconceptions about balance
When you imagine living a balanced life, do you picture a time when you are finally able to do it all? When you are on top of everything and totally in control of all areas of your life – work, home relationships, health, fitness, finance etc.
It’s a common misconception, particularly among women that to create balance we need to juggle everything. Do it all – and do it perfectly.
There is also a misconception that in order to create balance everything in our lives should be treated with equal importance, and have an equal amount of time dedicated to it.
Living a balanced life doesn’t mean doing it all, and it doesn’t mean spending equal amounts of our time on all areas of our life.
Balance isn’t a time-management problem that can be solved with “hacks” that help you squeeze more into your day.
What is balance?
To me, balance is a state of mind.
It’s not about doing, but about being.
It’s about how I’m feeling.
When I feel balanced I feel clear-headed, focused and motivated.
I’m able to deal with day-to-day annoyances without getting stuck or overwhelmed by them. And I’m able to enjoy happy moments and simple pleasures in the moment, instead of being distracted by the next thing on my to-do list.
For me, it also means I’m aligning my actions with my intentions and making progress towards my goals.
When I feel out of balance I feel lethargic and stuck. Ruminating, worrying, and going around in circles.
Life is constantly changing, so balance is being able to find stability amongst the motion.
I see creating balance as an ongoing process, not an end goal or something that can be crossed off a list.
It’s understanding that time is finite, that it’s impossible to do everything, and therefore balance is about making intentional choices about how I spend my time and energy.
Balance is something we practice
The more we do it, the better we get. Sometimes we can lose our balance – but we can find it again.
Much like walking across a tightrope, balance comes from making continual small adjustments as you move forward through your day, your week, your year. You feel a wobble, so you make an adjustment.
And you keep tuning in to that awareness as you move forward.
You ask yourself, what do I need to do? What’s important right now?
What does a balanced life look like?
Balance is very personal and can mean different things to different people.
A balanced life means that you make intentional choices about how you spend your time and where you focus your energy.
You are in tune with what you need to do (or want to do) and why. You are self-aware and able to course-correct when you need to.
A balanced life doesn’t mean doing ALL the things.
We can’t do it all. A balanced life means that we allocate time and attention to the things that are important to us, and we make adjustments as our intentions, priorities and commitments change.
It doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
Sometimes it can mean leaning into what’s important right now and letting other things go. Then readjusting as things change over time.
6 tips to help you create balance
Balance doesn’t happen passively.
Creating balance in your life is a conscious choice – it means having the intention and taking action to make it happen.
There isn’t a single one-size-fits-all solution to create balance, because balance doesn’t look the same for everyone.
We all have different goals, aspirations and intentions. We all want different things out of life.
That said, the following actions can help you understand what’s important to you, and help you take action to feel more balanced.
1. Define your values and priorities
Decide what’s important to you.
Then make decisions about where you are going to spend your time, effort and attention. Sometimes doing more of one thing, means doing less of another. Or saying no.
Stop living on autopilot and make conscious decisions. Be aware of when you have a choice, and then choose to live intentionally by making choices that align with your values.
2. Practice self-care regularly
A consistent self-care practice, which protects, nourishes and enhances your health and well-being is vital for creating and maintaining balance in your life.
Read more: What is Self-care & Why do you Need it?
3. Develop a gratitude practice
As humans, we all have an inbuilt negativity bias (great for our survival thousands of years ago, but not so helpful now). This bias means it’s often easier to focus on the things that go wrong rather than the things that go well.
Developing a gratitude practice will help you to focus on the good things in your life, and see things from a more balanced perspective.
4. Practice mindfulness
Being mindful is all about noticing where your attention is.
The more you pay attention, the better you become at redirecting your focus to where it needs to be.
Check in with yourself regularly. Consider what’s working for you and what’s not.
Then make a plan to change what’s not working.
6. Question and experiment
Challenge your automatic behaviours.
For example, if it’s your habit to spend your lunch break at your desk in front of your computer, question what would happen if you didn’t.
Ask yourself “what would happen if I took an actual lunch break, stepped away from my laptop and went for a walk outside?” ” How will that affect my mood, my energy levels, and even my productivity?”
Experiment, and find out.
So to wrap up, remember that living a balanced life doesn’t mean giving equal weight to all things in your life, nor does mean doing it all.
It doesn’t mean being perfect.
Balance means knowing how you want to live your life, paying attention to what’s going on, and making adjustments when things don’t feel aligned.
Because our lives can change from day to day, week to week, and season to season there will be times when we lose our balance.
But if we pay attention and make little tweaks when this happens we can regain our balance again.