Do you ever feel out of balance? Like there’s something missing or just not quite right?
Many of my clients come to me with this issue so I wanted to pop up this guide and FREE workbook to help you reﬂect on what’s important in your life right now and how you can get more balance in your life.
We live in an era where success is often defined by over-achievement in either our professional or personal lives. When we focus too much on our business or professional goals, our relationships can suffer. Likewise, when we ignore our professional development needs, our job security or business can be put at risk.
It’s easy to get drawn into a constant state of unbalance between the relentless and competitive corporate work ethic (yup even those of us who work from home can feel the pressure to be always ‘on’), the “need-it-now” mentality encouraged by our social media addictions and instant-gratification lifestyles, and the desire to see, do and achieve more each day without taking the time to appreciate what we have and to properly rest… no wonder we feel out of balance!
Regaining work-life balance isn’t an instant fix, but a step-by-step process, looking at various aspects of our lives in an honest and frank way.
Download your FREE ‘Get Balanced’ workbook to accompany this post and use it to reflect on how you can achieve more balance in your work, personal relationships, body & health, finances, personal & spiritual growth.
Different relationships in our lives require our attention and care in different ways, but when there is tension in any one of our personal relationships it can sap the energy from our other commitments and relationships. Here are some suggestions for finding balance in relationships:
#1 Don’t take on too much at once. Acknowledge when certain relationships in your life require special attention to deal with an issue or concern. Trying to treat everything as normal, when it isn’t, will catch up with you at one point or another. For example, if an ageing parent or teenager requires your special attention over an expended period of time, it may be a bad time to take on added responsibilities, for example, at work. Can you postpone those added duties or projects? Attempting to be all things to all people can lead to imbalance and exhaustion.
#2 Communication is critical. Keeping communication open and honest is the cornerstone of our most important relationships. Learning to listen actively rather than waiting our turn to speak, for example! If arguments arise, it can help to say how you feel rather than focusing on what the other person has done. Let those in your personal relationships (your partner, children, or close friends) know when you have added responsibilities or challenges at work so they’ll better understand the reasons why you might be less available or more stressed. Often we read into things and think the worst and miscommunication and misperceptions about other people’s behaviour can cause unnecessary (and avoidable!) stress and conﬂict.
#3 Some relationships have their ‘Season’. Certain relationships can grow more distant over time due to life circumstances. Divorced friends often fall out of touch with married friends. Those with children often ﬁnd less in common with their single friends. Trying to salvage these relationships can be exhausting, especially if both people involved don’t have the same interest in saving it. It takes two to be in a solid relationship, not one.
#4 Learn to compromise. This can be challenging, I know, especially if you feel like you’re “giving in,” but this skill can help to lower the stress levels in personal relationships. If your boss wants you to work the weekend, ask instead if you can do the work from home in the evenings. In many work situations, it doesn’t matter how or where the work is done so long as it meets the deadline. Compromising with your spouse and children will show them that you hear what they’re saying and you’re willing to come to a fair solution. Remember: being RIGHT doesn’t always help!
Body and Health
Often we discover that our lifestyle needs balance through the impact on our body. Headaches, fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability could all be signs that we’d benefit from some changes in our personal or professional lives. An important thing to remember is that while you can’t always change your situation you CAN change your reaction to it. You CAN change what you put into your body for food. You CAN change how much you move your body every day .
Here are some tips for staying healthy and stress-free:
#1 Get moving. Even 10-minute intervals of exercise can relieve stress and help clear your mind. Choose two or three times a day when you can spare 10 minutes to walk, get some fresh air, or do some yoga stretches. Find an exercise that fits YOUR lifestyle and that you enjoy, that way you’re more likely to keep it up.
#2 Reduce your caffeine intake. I LOVE my morning cuppa and so many of us need that caffeine to wake us up in the morning, but it can also cause headaches, anxiety, and insomnia. Avoid having caffeine late in the day if possible and switch to a decaf alternative.
#3 Get enough sleep. Try to set a bedtime for yourself and build a routine around it that prepares your body for rest. Turn off the TV and mobile phone (the blue light keeps our brains active) do some gentle stretches, read, find what works best for you. It may take some time to get used to going to bed earlier – especially if you’re a night owl – but your body will thank you for it in the morning.
#4 Eat dinner as a family. In our fast-paced lives it’s so easy not to get together around the table isn’t it? But it’s the perfect time to shut off the TV, turn on the answering machine and just focus on talking with your family members about their day. You can reconnect with your kids, they can discover more about you, you could play a game like ‘tell me 3 great things that happened in your world today’ to encourage gratitude or play riddle and word games with younger kids.
#5 Take time out for YOU. As busy Mamas we often spend a lot of time meeting other people’s needs and neglect our own. But having some personal space and time to reconnect with ourselves and recharge our batteries is SO important. Spend some time reminding yourself what you love doing just for the heck of it and schedule it into your calendar. Make sure everyone knows it’s non-negotiable… you deserve it!
Often we define ourselves in terms of our career or work achievements. “What do you do?” is the first thing we ask each other when we meet for the first time and the question is usually referring to someone’s career, work or profession, not their personal interests and hobbies. Our quest to present a successful life to the outside world can be draining, trying to live “like the Joneses” has put millions of people into credit card debt, a never-ending quest for more money where we give heart and souls to our jobs, only to feel unfulfilled, be passed over for promotion, or at worst, laid off. Yes, we all want and need to provide for our families, but to perform at our best in our careers, we need to feel healthy in body and mind.
Some tips for balance at work:
#1 Limit work hours. Leave work at a designated hour as often as you can. There will ALWAYS be more work to do.
#2 Switch off our of hours. Unless you’re a doctor or other ‘on call’ professional turn off your mobile after work. Creating this boundary can be tricky at first but you need time away to recharge. (If you work from home set a time to STOP so that work doesn’t seep into your whole life.)
#3 Pick one day a week as your day of rest.Take this day to focus on you and your family. Do something fun and enjoy yourself!
#4 Get up and move. If you tend to spend most of you work day at a desk, set a time where you can get up and move your body – go for a walk outside, walk up and down the stairs, do some chair exercises. The exercise will give your mind a rest and benefit your body too.
#5 Be clear on your goals. It can be stressful if we don’t have a clear idea what we’re working towards in our careers. Having a clear set of goals to work towards helps us to make informed decisions about what’s important each day to us, our bosses or our businesses (and what’s not).
Financial stress is probably one of the greatest stressors in our lives. Many of us spend what we don’t have and the pressure to have the newest gadget, latest fashion, be ‘on trend’ or fill a void in another area of our lives by over-spending can be very demanding on our bank balance. Making a conscious decision to live within our means is the ﬁrst step. Set a goal for an amount of money you can save by a certain date. Once you achieve that goal, repeat it or, if possible, increase the goal over the next few months.
Here are some tips for keeping your ﬁnances in order:
#1 Check your spending each month. While this may seem old fashioned in today’s internet world, it’s crucial to know and understand how much money you spent compared to how much you earned. Looking at each expenditure, as opposed to just glancing at the current balance, helps you to become more aware of your spending habits.
#3 Do I need this? Before you buy something, ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ Often we buy things to ‘feel better’ rather than because we really want it. Hello lots of handbags and shoes we never use! This doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves, it means becoming more conscious about WHY we buy things.
#3 Save something each month. Even if it seems small, starting a mindset of saving money can be a great way to stop overspending and it’s a fab way to teach your kids to save too.
#4 Create a budget. Make a list of your household costs and trim where you can. Call around your utility providers and see if you can get a better deal, shop online instead of going into stores so you’re not tempted to buy what you don’t need.
Personal and Spiritual Growth
Personal and spiritual growth means different things for different people. Whether you’re religious or not, I hope you’ll agree that we’re are spiritual beings and that the spiritual component of who we are needs to be satisﬁed and nourished, just as our bodies too. Personal growth occurs with time, effort, and a willingness to learn and grow. When we feel spiritually drained, it’s a sign that there is some personal growth that needs to take place. It’s hard to get through serious challenges in life, personal or professional, when we’re already suffering on the inside.
A centred, spiritual focus can also inspire us to do more for those around us and help us focus less on the shortcomings and frustrations in our own lives. In becoming more grateful and caring, we become part of a spiritual community that gives us strength. Taking the time to reﬂect on your life and it’s meaning for us is an important part of our development and growth.
I hope that these tips and ideas help you to reflect on the balance in your life and I’d love to hear from you – leave me a note in the comments or get in touch. If you’d like to, find out more about working with me 121 and book a free session or join my Facebook and email Community of Sparkle Mamas who are passionate about reclaiming their gorgeous sparkle and stepping up to live life with purpose on purpose.