Balancing Your Life – Secrets To Reducing Stress And Enjoying Your Life
By Sonja Ridden
If you are older than 21 I am sure that you have discovered that life is a balancing act. The trouble is that the older one gets the more there is to be balanced…and I am not just talking about cheque books. For those of us in the workforce, juggling time between all the important things in life is a delicate balancing act indeed. For those whose workplace is the home, who divide their time between feeding the new baby, taking their toddlers to the park, preparing a never-ending stream of school lunches and/or providing taxi services for their teens, even finding the time to think about life balance can be an enormous challenge.
Having said that, I always find it amazing how some people seem to breeze through their daily tasks with the apparent ease of a ballet dancer, then zoom off to the gym, manage to fit in a massage, have a coffee with their partner, a nice phone chat with a friend and at the end of the day still have the energy to feed their soul with a good book, whilst others struggle to simply get through the day barely managing to keep their head above water.
Yes, it is true that some of us have greater energy levels, some have better time-management skills and it is also important to remember that there are extremely stressful times in life when survival is all we can realistically focus on. Nevertheless, striving towards a healthy life-balance is a worthy cause and one that deserves continuous effort because a consistent lack of balance makes us far more susceptible to physical and/or mental illness.
How to get started? To help you ‘get this show on the road’ I’ll share a few simple steps with you:
In order to clearly see were you are lacking balance in your life you’ll first need to take a look at the important areas that make up your life. Most people identify these as being the following:
Now look at every one of these areas and establish, in percentage terms, the level of attention you give to each of them. If you discover in this process that you spend 85% of your time at work, 10% of your time with your family and 5% socialising chances are that you are financially secure but that your partner can’t remember when you last spent some quality time together, that your fitness level leaves a great deal to be desired, that your health isn’t as good as it should be and that it’s been years since you’ve read a book, visited a place of worship or spent some time just being. If this is you, my guess would be that you don’t feel particularly satisfied with yourself or with your life. Why???? Because your life is out of balance!
Okay, having identified that your life is out of balance you now have some choices to make. You can decide to leave things as they are or to make those changes you always talk about but rarely tackle. Should you choose the latter, read on for the next steps in this process:
Look at the areas that currently get too little of your attention and consider how much time would be appropriate for each of them. If you are not sure, just ask your partner. Partners are usually quite good at letting us know where we need to improve!
Now consider which changes you can realistically make that will move you closer to your desired time and attention frames in each one of those areas. Having established this your next step is….
The MOST IMPORTANT step, the step without which you will get nowhere – you need to commit to making those changes.
To help you with this step:
- * Write down your commitment.
- * Tell other about your commitment.
- * Give a friend or mentor permission to hold you accountable to your commitment. (We all know how easy it is to think about change and how difficult it is to implement that change).
- * Focus on making no more than 3 changes at a time and ensure that those changes are small enough to be realistically achievable. (It’s easy to throw in the towel if the steps you are planning are too big).
- * When you feel discouraged, remember that even a journey of 1000 miles starts with one step.
Now, get started on the implementation process!
If you are serious about achieving greater balance in your life, this simple yet not easy process works every time. The secret to success is to stick with the program even when you don’t think that you can afford the time or when you suffer from the ‘I don’t want to’s’. JUST DO IT!
Sonja Ridden is a counsellor/psychotherapist, life and relationship coach. Passionate about personal and professional development she considers herself a change agent and is committed to enhancing people’s potential in all areas of life. To find out more about Sonja, go to http://www.sonjaridden.com.