A well balanced life is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind and living well. Whether we work, go to school or are retired, we all have responsibilities. There is always someone, or something, to answer to. There are things we want to do and things we must. The challenge is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy and choose to do. This is not always easy. If, however, we are unable to reduce stress and manage a well balanced life there can be physical and/or emotional health consequences.
Take care of and nurture yourself. You cannot accomplish anything if you're unhealthy. Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat properly. Many of us think we can burn the candle at both ends, eat junk food, get very little exercise, and still function adequately. You may be able to get away with this for a while when you're young, however, at some point, this life style catchs up with the best of us. Burnout is a real possibility. Ideally, set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, working out or listening to music. Or, allow yourself to unwind after a hectic day by reading, meditating or taking a nice hot bath.
Know what your priorities are. Balance does not entail cramming in every activity possible. Examine your values and decide what's important to you; then set your boundaries. You may be in the process of building a career, starting a family or going to school. Depending on what stage you're at in life, your focus and energies will be different. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by juggling too many big projects in your life at once. Maybe planning a wedding is not a good idea when you're studying for the bar exam. Nor, is starting a family when you are unsure about your career direction, or relationship status. Not knowing what you want and trying to do everything at once can be a recipe for disaster instead of the road to leading a well balanced life. As the saying goes, "do not bite off more than you can chew".
Create an efficient mindset. Be organized and plan ahead. Take time at the beginning of each week to assess what needs to be done. Make a to-do list in a planner or calendar for upcoming appointments, impending exams. or meetings to attend. Be sure also to allow for recreation and quality time for yourself and your family. Taking the time to connect with family and friends will recharge your batteries and make you more efficient in the long run.
Expect the unexpected. Rather than get stressed and upset, learn to roll with the punches when something over which you have no control happens. You could get stuck in traffic, your computer could crash, or your child could get sick with the chickenpox. Stuff happens. We've all experienced the unexpected. If you accept that anything can happen at any time, it's less likely it throw you off your stride when it does. Be able to adjust your game plan. Note also, that there are times when achieving balance may not be possible. For instance, you may have a family or career crisis that needs your immediate and undivided attention. It may require an exceptional amount of your time and resources. When that happens, do whatever it takes and when things go back to normal take time to refresh and rejuvenate yourself.
Maintain a positive mental attitude. Begin each day with the intention of making the best and most of it. It may not always go as planned, but it can go more smoothly if you put it in perspective. Part of living a well-balanced life is learning how to deal with adversity, unforeseen events and uncertainty. If you practice not letting things get to you, you will not only learn to live a well balanced and less stressful life, you will learn to live in and savor the moment. Once you've done everything you can within your control, let your life unfold. Be prepared for the future, but don't worry about it. While we can't anticipate and plan for everything in our lives, we can decide how, where and when to concentrate our energies. This may require some critical thinking and problem solving, but in the end it will lead to much less stress and a well balanced life.