How is your day going? Did you get a good night of sleep? How is your energy level? Do you feel like you’re rushing from one thing to the next? When was the last time you had a chance to sit quietly and enjoy the moment?
These are not easy questions to answer. And for most of us, when we answer these questions honestly, we realize that we’re not as balanced or as happy as we’d like. In our hyper-connected go-go society, living a balanced life can seem like an impossibility.
However, we want you (and us) to get closer to having a sense of balance in your day-to-day. You know that the more on-the-go and harried you are, the higher your stress levels, the less time you have for exercise and healthy eating, and you miss out on time with loved ones. This can culminate in illness, depression, joint health concerns, and an overall unhealthy life.
This slide happens gradually and before you know it, you’re skipping tennis, missing out on pottery class, skipping book club, eating fast food, and not supporting your long-term health and life goals.
Read on to learn more about living a balanced life and how you can make subtle changes to keep you from sliding into habits that can create life chaos.
Of course, we always want to hear from you so if you’ve got advice on how to live a balanced life or have a personal experience you’d like to share, visit the SierraSil Facebook community page or send us a Tweet.
What is a Balanced Life?
It’s not easy to answer the question: what is a balanced life? The challenging aspect of this question is in defining the word balance.
Balance is completely individual. What is balanced for you might be the polar opposite of the meaning of balance for your friends and family. This is what makes achieving a balanced life so challenging.
A balanced life can have some or all of the following indicators:
- Stress. You can manage your stress levels and are able to handle a sudden increase in stress because you know this will not be a constant.
- Mind. Your mind is active but not racing at all hours of the day and night.
- Energy. You have high energy levels that allow you to get through the day. You have the energy to do get some daily exercise, you have the energy to focus through-out the work day, and you have the energy to give your friends and family the attention and love they need.
- Health. You feel good. You’re not dealing with headaches, gastrointestinal problems, sore teeth, muscle or joint aches and discomfort, or simply not feeling great. If you do feel unwell, you are able to make the time to see your doctor and get on a path of wellness.
In other words, you feel balanced. Life might be busy but it’s manageable and you’re not feeling overwhelmed with everything you need and want to get done.
How to Find and Maintain a Balanced Life
Just as there is no clear-cut definition of a balanced life, finding and maintaining a balanced life can be as equally individual. The reality is, that if it was so easy to define balanced living and to give you 10 guaranteed ways to live a balanced life – we’d all be much more balanced, happier, healthier, and stress-free.
What you can do though is think about your life and what you’d like to change about it. Are there parts of your life that are causing you too much stress? Are there things you’d like to add or remove from your day? Is there anything you’ve been meaning to do but simply haven’t had the time do? Are you feeling pulled in all directions with zero time for yourself?
Now, answering yes to one or all of these questions is not sign of anything other than that you’re a human being. So, with this in mind, let’s look at some ways you can find and maintain a balanced life.
- Cut it out. You have only so many hours in the day. Determine your priorities, and cut out anything that doesn’t mesh with or support these priorities.
- Say no. Starting saying no and give yourself the chance to really commit to what you’re doing.
- Ditch the digital. Choose one day and one evening a week when you don’t look at or touch your digital devices. Put your smartphone in a drawer and leave your mobile devices in another room. Read a book, go for a walk, take a nap, cook a meal, talk to your friends – do anything but stare at a digital device.
- Breathe. Make time in the day to pay attention to your breathing. Let your mind relax and just breathe. Listen to your breathing rate and to the sounds you’re making. When you’re feeling pulled and stressed, stop and take a few deep breaths in and out.
- Move. Find time in each day to move your body. This can mean starting the day with a run or walk. Or going to the gym at lunch to lift weights. Find a yoga studio that is easily accessible and commit to one or two yoga classes a week. Walk – get up from your chair and walk – go outside, take the stairs, park farther away – just walk.
- Listen to your body. Think of how you feel in the morning when you wake up. Is it hard to bend over and put on your socks? Maybe your knees ache for the first hour. Do you have a persistent health problem that needs attention? You should not be in pain or experiencing joint discomfort.
- Eat well. Eat the rainbow. Eat the dessert. Enjoy your food. But remember to keep things steady. A good rule of thumb – eat well 80% of the time and let yourself indulge 20% of the time.
- Be selfish. Yes, be selfish. You have the right to do what makes you happy and well. All too often, we put the needs of others first. Stop this and do what makes you happy.
As you can see, finding and maintaining a balanced life is a process and requires constant attention. But when you get to this point of equilibrium, you’ll realize how much better you feel – making it easier for you to stay committed to this balance.
It’s not an overnight change. But with a little extra attention to how you do and don’t spend your days, you’ll recognize where it’s best for you to make adjustments. Remember living a balanced life is unique to each person. Do what feels right for you and chances are very high that the people around you will soon feel happier and more balanced.