In a world full of so many competing demands, all tugging at your shirtsleeve trying to get your attention, finding balance can be hard. No wonder we feel tired. Being buffeted in this way is exhausting, overwhelming and stressful. What happened to make us feel this way? The answer to this will be different for each one of us but may include:
Your Work Ethic
If you were brought up to believe that hard work and lots of it was the only way to achieve a successful and fulfilling life it can be hard to recognise what is “enough” in a 24/7 world.
If you’re a perfectionist highly motivated to always do your best, driven to do more, give more, no matter the personal cost – it can be hard to retain sight of what’s realistic to achieve.
The daily choices we make, determine how happy, healthy and energised we feel each day. Too little sleep, insufficient physical activity, downtime or too much junk food are all counterproductive to retaining balance.
There is so much that technology provides us to make our lives easier, simpler and faster. But it’s also easy to become a slave to the very technology designed to help. Can you switch off from your computer, turn off your mobile phone or choose to leave the house without it, without experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Studies have shown the more time we spend online the greater our sense of time passing too quickly. Taking a digital detox – even for 15 minutes can help.
Excessive work demands can make us feel guilty about spending too little time at home. Too many home demands and worries can make us feel we’re not giving our work sufficient attention. No wonder it’s hard to find balance.
There are a number of strategies to help.
- Practise a Marie Kondo Moment
Simplifying your life by prioritising your priorities and then deciding how much time needs to be allocated for each (it’s easy to underestimate this). This process allows you see what doesn’t require your attention today. Having only three “must do” things each day, provides the extra headspace needed to do those three things well. Decluttering your mind can feel liberating!
- Respect your Boundaries
If these got lost over 2020, it’s time to reinstate them. Being human, not machine – means accepting that overwork, and overcommitment, even if you’re wearing your super-hero cape doesn’t work.
Decide your boundaries, such as start and finish time of work, when to switch off from technology, how much sleep you need etc. Then share them with family and work colleagues, so they learn to respect them.
- Let Go of Perfectionism
No one is perfect, even those who think they are. Imperfection is not a flaw, it’s reality. When time has run out and you’ve got 10 minutes to find something for your child’s shared morning tea, buying something is not a cop out.
- Set the Intention
Preplanning the night before reduces the morning rush and lowers stress. Choosing to smile, puts you in a positive mood and helps keep things in perspective. Then ask, “what do I need to make today a good one?” and make your good day – great.
- Give Yourself Permission for Your Own Self-Care
You’ve heard that self-care isn’t selfish, so what’s stopping you? If you’re putting everyone else’s needs
before your own, it means it’s time to place a higher value on yours.
Why not give yourself permission to go to bed 20 minutes earlier, take time out for a daily walk, meditate or listen to your favourite podcast?
- Dance Like No One is Watching
Having fun, doing those things (dancing included), that make you feel happy is essential for balance. If you can’t remember the last time you did something just for the sheer joy of it, it’s time to book something in. The anticipation is enough in itself to lift your spirits and raise resilience.
- Show Someone How Much You Care
It might sound weird but one of the best ways to find greater balance in your life is to help someone else. This is a win-win – making two people feel better, reducing stress and boosting wellbeing. Whether you volunteer your time on a regular basis or help out as needed, feeling part of a tribe or community, knowing others know you and care for you as much as you care for them is a bonus for everyone.
Finding balance matters. It’s dynamic and always a work in progress but it’s the one thing that makes the biggest difference to being the happy thriving human you know you can be.
What do you do to retain balance in your life?
For more on how you can find balance with Dr Jenny Brockis – tune into Episode 92 of the PakMag Parents Podcast.