When was the last time that you sat down and thought about consciously creating balance in your life? In fact, when was the last time that you really thought about what it even means? It seems like something that is it given something that comes so easy and natural. I mean, it's something that we're supposed to have. We have to eat a balanced diet, and we consistently strive to create an optimal work-life balance.
But what does that mean? And how do you invite more balance into your life?
The Merriam-webster dictionary [JP1] defines balance as 'mental and emotional steadiness' and 'to bring into harmony or proportion'.
The goal of creating a balanced life is not necessarily to dedicate the same amount of time and effort to all spheres in your life. Rather the aim should be to create harmony and emotional stability - whatever that looks like to you. If you spend too much time and energy in one area in your life, and neglect other areas, you will likely feel guilty or frazzled. You might become overwhelmed and be tempted to ignore the constant nagging in your mind that 'something just isn't right'.
The thing is, that balance isn't something that will just eventually happen without conscious effort. Your life will not fall into a state of homeostasis all by itself. It is something that you have to pursue and create. You need to decide what is important to you and invite more of that in - spend more time cultivating and enjoying those things while not neglecting your duties and responsibilities.
What does an unbalanced life look and feel like?
A life that is out of balance in any sphere could feel overwhelming and chaotic. It would feel like you're pulled in a hundred different directions all at once and that you don't know what you pay attention to first. It will feel rushed. It will leave you drained and exhausted. For some of us, it might manifest as anxiety, panic, or depression.
Imbalance in one area in your life can very quickly spread to other areas in your life. for example, a messy uncluttered house can lead to distraction and mental clutter, which could affect your work and even how you interact with those around you.
You would consistently have that niggling feeling that there's something that you're supposed to be doing or something that you've forgotten. And that will take you away from being present in the here and now - the only thing that truly deserves your full attention.
What does a balanced life feel like?
A balanced life feels calm; it feels steady and secure. You are in harmony with your self, with others and with the world around you. Your life will start to take on a richness that might have been absent before.
You feel confident and collected, and you're able to give every task, and every interaction the attention and the energy that it deserves.
How to create more balance in your life.
Clear out the clutter. Get rid of anything, and everything that you do not use or that doesn't absolutely bring you joy. This relates to material things as well as mental clutter. Remove and let go of anything that is in excess. Anything that is too much and that you do not need. Create balance in your mind by releasing and refusing to engage with the obsessive thoughts that keep cycling through your mind over and over again. Through letting go of the clutter, you will slowly stop living in lack – that feeling that you need to hold on to things 'just in case'. By letting go of the clutter, you will start inviting in abundance and joy.
Create boundaries. Learn to say 'no'. Accept that it's OK to say 'no'. Remind yourself that 'no' is a complete sentence. You do not have to provide reasons or excuses for why you don't want to do something or engage with someone. You do not have to take on more than you can handle - over-achieving and being burned out is not a status that should be celebrated. I know that this is easier said than done, especially in the beginning. Learning to create healthy boundaries and enforcing them gently, yet firmly is a vital skill to learn when pursuing a more balanced life.
Pay attention to yourself. By becoming familiar with your internal states, you will start to recognize when things in your life are becoming imbalanced. When you are calm and in harmony, your life is likely to be in equilibrium. When you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and as if chaos is present more days than it's not, it is time for you to investigate which areas in your life need to be balanced out. Where should you pull back and where can you invest a bit more time, attention, and energy. Allow yourself to withdraw where it is needed, and to give more time and attention to things that will serve you better.
Balance does not look the same for all of us. Honestly, balance in your life will probably not even look exactly the same every day. You can keep a journal to assist you with finding out what a balanced life looks like to you. It is an excellent way to keep track of where you are, of what is working and what isn't. By documenting it, you can see how much time you spend on different activities each day. This will help you to plan better and become more efficient. It will also help you to establish the things that are important in your life and what is merely filler.
Realize the difference between being busy and being productive. Just because you've been running around the whole day, filling every minute of every hour with frantic activity does not mean that you are productive. By organising your thoughts, your work, your responsibilities, and your priorities, you can add some structure to your day and your life. In doing that, you will become more productive as you'll be able to focus your attention and your energy on the task at hand entirely. Through this, you'll create balance, and the feeling of being pulled in different directions will slowly start to fade
Make the changes that you've been afraid of making. Remember that you are striving for emotional stability and harmony. And while there are some things in life that we just have to do, responsibilities that we need to carry, there are likely spaces or areas in your life that you can work on or change in order to experience more harmony. Try to find the purpose, the reason, and the good in the things that you cannot change. In the responsibilities that you cannot let go of. Start to show gratitude for those things, and you will see your life change. You might even find that engaging in these activities bring more balance to your life. After all, you do need some bad along with the good and all of that…
Start to take accountability. Today. You are the person that's responsible for your joy and your harmony. You are responsible for your emotional steadiness. You are the only person who can identify the things in your life that is throwing you out of balance. And you are the only person you can make the changes that are needed. It is time to let go of the victim mentality or feeling like you are not in control of your life. You will start to feel empowered, and creating balance will flow more easily. You will find that you will naturally gravitate to the things that you enjoy, that you love to do and that nourish your being.
Self-care is intricately woven into creating a more balanced life. It is the entire reason why you would want to create more balance in your life - to become healthier in every aspect of your life. Through every effort of creating more balance in your life, you are telling yourself that: 'I am important', 'I honour myself', 'I'm taking care of myself'. By dedicating more time to active self-care and self-love endeavours, it will encourage you to create more balance and harmony in every sphere of your life. You will start to realise that your peace and health (mentally, physically, and spiritually) is most important.
Creating balance in your life is not a 'one and done' thing. It is something that you need to pursue each and every day. While some skills and habits will make the journey more manageable, it is one that requires dedication and work. You alone can do the work… and I will be here cheering you on every step of the path you choose to take.
Remember that the goal of living a more balanced life is to create more stability and harmony in you and around you. It will help you to feel calmer and in control, as things start to flow to you and through you.