10 STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE BETTER BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE
Before I start, let’s quickly address what balance means.
Balance is getting the core elements of your life into equal or at least ‘correct’ proportions. ‘Correct’ for YOU, not for someone else. Not the parents at school, or the professional next door, or those that brought you up. YOU.
So, it’s important you find what’s right for you. Here are some surefire tips that will help:
1. Understand that absolute ‘balance’ is elusive
It’s an ever changing concept. There are times when it feels like you’ve nailed it and times when you feel utterly out of control. This is not your fault! Life ebbs and flows. The tectonic plates of life mean people, work, family and events are constantly moving.
2. Put your mental health first.
When you are feeling strong, agile and happy, everything is easier. You cope better with what life throws at you. Do you know those times when you feel so on the brink that if one more thing were to go wrong you’d lose your shit? Yep, me too. This is why you need to get into good mental-health habits. Mental reinforcement, if you like. Whatever works best for you, maybe it’s yoga, better sleep, exercise, nutrition, friend-time or mindfulness?
3. Get used to saying ‘no’.
You don’t have to take on additional tasks, responsibilities and challenges if it’s going to put you out of balance and cause unnecessary stress. Sometimes, you absolutely can say no to that extra social event, that conference call on your day off, that business trip overseas, that committee meeting at school. Be ruthless with your time, make it work for YOU. Cf The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
4. Be open to screwing it up.
Perfection is so last season. If you accept that you are not perfect (and who wants to be) and that you WILL make mistakes, then you’ll feel more relaxed and accepting. Failure isn’t failure, it’s just an opportunity to do things differently next time.
5. Work towards your purpose.
Understand your ‘why’ and align what you do towards it and then go for it. The brilliant Simon Sinek will shed further light on this for you. When we are happy and fulfilled we feel more balanced. When work doesn’t feel like ‘work’ or we can see the bigger picture of how it’s helping us grow, then we are less likely to feel conflict between personal life and work.
6. Chase your values.
Do you know what your personal values are? Values are the things in life that are most important us, they determine our priorities. You can really benefit from understanding what they are for you, as they can change. Life will never feel in balance if you are not living your most important values. So, find what they are and chase them. If you are not living them at work, ask for opportunities to do so. Perhaps you can pick up a hobby outside of work or start a side hustle? Get creative in finding ways to live them out, fully.
7. Believe in yourself.
You have all the smarts and the experience to find better balance for yourself. You can figure out who you need to ask for advice or support. You can plan it out. Believe in yourself and think positively and good things will come your way.
8. Be flexible.
Often people don’t achieve their balance because they fix constraints around what they must have. For example, when you must have a job in a specific location, a certain house, a salary, a school, a permanently tidy house, perfect looks (the list probably goes on!) Work out what’s really important (tip: look back to your values). What can give? Allow some flexibility, otherwise you could be setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and never have a hope of achieving balance.
9. Find realistic role models.
Who can you learn from? Who inspires you? What can they teach you? A cautionary note: be really careful not to identify unrealistically ‘perfect’ role models who make you feel even more pressure.
10. Get rid of unhelpful thoughts.
We all have autopilot thoughts that are destructive and unhelpful. The Chimp Paradox explains that these are merely an out of control Chimp; emotional and insecure, that you can learn to manage. Maybe your Chimp tells you that you don’t deserve balance, you are not good enough, not confident enough, weak or stupid. Once you understand this unhelpful thought, replace it with a more helpful one. Literally put your Chimp back in its box.
10 simple strategies that really work.
Good luck and let me know if you need any help