Balance. Sometimes it seems (and feels) like another word for perfection. Finding balance in life? It appears to be impossible to achieve. But it isn’t.
It is not surprising at all that in the 21st century many people find it difficult to stay balanced. Yet, there are persons that get surprised about the high percentage of mental health problems in the worldwide population.
According to the World Health Organization, 800, 000 persons committed suicide in 2016. (WHO, 2016). Moreover, a study published in The Lancet revealed that around 12 billion days of productivity have been lost due to depression and anxiety disorders (Chisholm, D., Sweeney, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P., & Saxena, S., 2019).
A stressful lifestyle may be the source of many of these cases. For this reason, finding balance in life has become a goal for many people, but few can seem to figure it out.
So, what can we do? How can we achieve a balanced life? Let’s find out.
How to find your balance in life?
To find balance, honesty is necessary
We live in an era when, sadly, appearances matter more than realities. One picture of you reflects more what people want to see than what you truly are.
And although I’m not advocating for the destruction of social media (I own many accounts myself), it is true that it has brought with itself the phenomenon of “fake lifestyles”. You’ve seen it a million times. Hundreds of successful people, full of happiness.
Nevertheless, you can’t expect your life to turn out like someone else’s. Your life is singular, it will never be exactly like another living being’s life. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much you struggle, if you are trying to live your life like someone else’s (like that friend of social, for example), you will not find balance.
Be honest with what you can and can’t do.
Moreover, live a life that’s true to your personality and your taste. Only then you can achieve balance.
Accept yourself and your life
Life has ups and downs, and you know what? It changes a lot, so it is ok for us to change too.
If whatever you considered your ideal lifestyle a year ago doesn’t work for you anymore, ACCEPT IT, and change your ways.
Don’t let anyone call you inconsistent. It is your life and you deserve to seek balance however you wish to.
Also, accept the fact that your ideal balance might not be as you pictured it. Learn to value your peace over friendships, relationships, dream jobs, and money, and make it a priority.
Be realistic with your time
We all get the same 24 hours in a day. However, not all of us spend those hours the same way. There are some that are full-time workers, other students, and other stay-at-home moms.
Although all of us have the same amount of time, not all of us can dispose of it the same way. Therefore, when you try to organize your week, bear in mind your usual schedule.
Analyze the useless things that are consuming your time and declutter your calendar. Fill the space with goals and activities you love to do.
Remember, trying to fit everything in your already-busy calendar will not only make you busier (and that doesn’t mean more productive), it will make your life unbalanced.
Don’t feel bad for not completing the to-do list
Did you do only two things out of that long to-do list? STOP BLAMING YOURSELF for that. There isn’t any reason you should be hard on yourself because you couldn’t complete your tasks of the day.
Even one thing done is better than nothing. Do I tell you a little secret? “Productivity” is overrated.
You don’t need to fill your day from morning to night to have a productive day. If all you could manage was to do 10 minutes of cardio instead of an hour, then that is more than enough and you should be proud of it.
Feeling guilty won’t get you anywhere. Just move the rest of your to-do list to another day. Stop being a baby about it.
Sometimes, behind the lack of balance in life, lies a bad organization.
Maybe you feel like you are not dedicating enough time to your family. It could happen. You arrive from work, only to cook or to do more work, to go to sleep and the next thing you know is that you are waking up again to go to work.
But what could you possibly do about it? That’s when planning comes in.
If you have a calendar or an agenda, then use it to plan activities that are important to you. (You don’t have any yet? Make sure to check out this digital planner for your Ipad or tablet).
On the other hand, if you never plan ahead, set priorities, or organize yourself, everything around you will happen casually. You’ll always live in a reactive mode rather than a proactive one.
Organize your time so you can dedicate yourself to those things that you love and the ones that matter to you.
Go for quality
Can we talk about how many things we always have to do but how little of them are truly important? We are always busy, always working, always doing, non-stop…
Santosh Kalwar wrote, “The world has changed from quality to quantity, and so have we.”.
When it comes to finding balance, less is more. We should declutter our life from things that aren’t of any value.
Instead of being busy all the time, we should focus on our goals and our legacy.
Balance is an illusion
Finding balance in life is something that a lot of people want nowadays. Why? Well, long gone are the days of rural lifestyles, when you could work at your pace and rest whenever you wanted to.
Instead, we constantly live with stress and anxiety. According to a study by the American Psychology Association in 2017 in the United States, 61% of the people surveyed suffered from stress related to work, and another 62% suffered stress because of money.
Therefore, finding balance in life has become something that must be sought instead of something that comes naturally. Ironically, trying to find balance can be stressful too if you are looking for it in the wrong place.
First, balance looks different for each person, therefore you shouldn’t be trying to imitate someone else’s lifestyle. Second, balance is not a formula that you have to follow, instead, it is about how your lifestyle makes you feel.
Ask yourself, does your current lifestyle give you peace? Do you feel accomplished? Are you spending your time on things that matter to you?
If the answer to these questions is yes, even though you are not exercising, or spending your mornings drinking tea on your porch, then you found your balance.
Questions to ask yourself to find balance?
If you are not sure if your life is balanced, ask yourself the following questions.
- Do I feel happy about my life? Why?
- Do I get to do the things I like for work?
- Do I spend time on my hobbies?
Am I growing personally and/or professionally?
- Do I get angry easily? Am I irritated? Why?
- Am I healthy? Is my body feeling good?
- Do I get to try new things?
- Are the people living with me happy? Why?
- Do I sometimes wish to disappear to a place that no one knows me? Why?
- Am I living for myself or for the public opinion?
After answering these questions, reflect upon your answers. If most of them have a “no” as an answer, then maybe you should be making some lifestyle changes.
Finding balance in life is challenging
Finding balance is a challenging goal that hundreds of humans pursue. Although it is a process, it is something necessary to keep a healthy mind and a healthy body.
However, even when you start your journey towards developing a balanced lifestyle, remember that balance looks and feels different for everyone and that instead of following the steps of a stranger on Instagram, it is something only you can work on.
Discover whatever makes you feel good about you and about life. After you do, treasure it and keep it with you.
How does a balanced life look for you?
American Psychology Association. (2017, November 1). Stress in America: The state of our nation. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf
Chisholm, D., Sweeney, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P., & Saxena, S. (2016). Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3 (5), 415-424. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30024-4
World Health Organization. (2016). Mental health. https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mental-health