Work-life balance is just one aspect of a happy life. It’s not about spending equal time, but quality time, in each area of your life.
A balanced life requires self-discipline. You have to divvy up your time so you aren’t neglecting family, friends or self. Since you can’t be all places at once, you limit your time in one area to squeeze more time out somewhere else. If you neglect one area for too long, it becomes a problem. Or worse, you get sick.
If you feel happy and healthy, most of the time, and your family agrees, you are probably balancing life well. Even so, it never hurts to consider how you may do better.
Ultimately, you need to make time for the people and the things you enjoy, but there is more to it. You need to balance how you spend time on yourself.
You are more than a body walking around fulfilling obligations. You have a body, mind and soul and they all need equal time.
Let’s dive in.
How are you doing here? This is probably the easiest layer to dissect. Do you care for your body?
Day to day, do you consider your physical health and prioritize exercise, sleep, nutrition, the air you breathe and anything you put in your body? You don’t have to obsess about it, just care. Nutrition is complicated, and there are so many conflicting opinions, but you know the basics.
Do you try to eat well?
During the day, do you check in with how you feel and maybe do a few stretches, go for a walk or (bonus points for this…) go to the gym or studio and dedicate time for exercise?
Tomorrow starts now. You can put off taking care of yourself for only so long before your body gives up and says, “Screw you! I feel like crap, and now, you will too!”
How do you speak to yourself and others?
I used to be so self-critical. I realized, eventually, that I was wearing myself down. It did nothing for my confidence or my productivity. I am more compassionate with myself now and it’s made me more patient, forgiving, and more fun to be around. At least I think so!
If you are critical of yourself, you are probably critical of others.
Don’t be that person.
The year 2020 was pretty eye-opening in terms of job satisfaction. People, and maybe you were one of them, realized that their work-life balance sucked. They decided that working remotely was the bomb, and either quit their jobs or got laid off and had to start over. Not everyone liked the work-at-home thing, but it provided perspective. No more dumb meetings that didn’t amount to much, wasted commuting time, or 12-hour days.
Mental health is everything. If you hate your job and your life, what can you change to make things better? A little shift here and another there may make room for new perspective, which may be all you need.
Mental health has a lot to do with your physical and spiritual health. That’s why yoga works. It touches them all. A calm, grounded, and focused mind is a happy one. Or at least a sane one. If you cannot relax or feel anxious all the time, do a little digging. If you can’t uncover the reasons, seek help or guidance.
Life is too short to worry all the time.
This part of yourself may feel mysterious. You know you have one, but aren’t sure its day to day purpose.
Your soul is not something that rises out of your body only after you die. It’s your essence. It’s a guiding force deep within that tries to prevent you from messing up your life. It’s that gentle tap that encourages you to move in a certain direction. It knows what’s best for you before your ego, your mind, and your well-meaning friends tell you otherwise.
In order to be more in touch with this part of yourself, you need to take care of your body and mind.
Do you see the pattern?
They all work together!
Taking time out of your day for yourself gives you time to process. It helps you to step back and stop doing enough to let life happen, instead of controlling everything. The spiritual part of yourself is less fazed by the day-to-day chaos and emotional ups and downs. It is the strength within that will coax you on once your mind settles down enough to listen.
So the next time you stress out and worry, think about what you can do about it right now. You can’t control what others do or what happens. You can only do your best and let the pieces fall where they may.
I’m happiest when I do the best I can each day and stop trying to manipulate the outcome. There are so many times in life I fret over something only to learn that it led to something better.
Life is hard enough. Sprinkle in the fun, stay balanced, and be kind to yourself and others.
You only get one lifetime to get it right.