Life gets so busy with work, family, and social engagements. It’s easy to let yourself get caught up in the grind and forget to take time for yourself, but if you start neglecting yourself, then all aspects of your life will suffer. It might seem hard to take time for yourself when everything else is demanding your attention, but you can start to stay balanced by taking these easy steps to manage your life.

1. Work out.

This might sound like more work for some of you—or is that just me? Trying to make time for the gym just isn’t something I get excited about, so it’s easy to push that to the bottom of my To Do list—and then never get to it. The sad thing is, I know once I go to the gym and get started on a workout, I’m going to feel great. Even walking or jogging around your neighborhood can make you feel better if hitting the gym isn’t your thing. Exercise gets your adrenaline going, gets your heart pumping, and helps circulate blood throughout your body. All of these things help your body and your mind feel invigorated.

2. Rest.

Resting might sometimes seem difficult to make time for, but for the opposite reasons of working out! With exercising, you just don’t want to do it. With resting, you want to do it, but can’t because you have too much to do, or if you manage to close your eyes, a family member comes up and starts asking you questions. In reality, resting goes hand in hand with working out! Exercise gets your body going, but rest also helps re-invigorate your body and mind.

You don’t have to take an hour-long nap, or even close your eyes! Just take some time to recline however you feel most comfortable and forget about your responsibilities. We spend too much of our waking hours worrying about what we need to do, what we’ve done, what we should have done, and so on. Those thoughts have no room during your resting time. You don’t have to know how to meditate to relax without sleeping; just let your mind go blank, or if you’d rather go to your happy place, try to focus on that rather than any real life worries.

3. Nourish your soul.

What makes you feel like you? You might be an accountant, but feel like your true self is an artist. Or maybe you love to knit just to knit, even if you don’t sell your goods online. Perhaps you consider yourself a writer, even if no one has ever read your words. Any creative outlet you have needs to be explored, regardless of whether you want to “become” something noteworthy or not. Exploring creative endeavors unrelated to your full-time job will help you nourish your soul. So much time is spent at work that it’s easy to get caught up in that mindset and spend too much of your off time thinking about work tasks. Forget all of that when you clock out, and dedicate time to things that make you feel happy, and make you feel in tune with your true self.

4. Make time for your loved ones.

It’s too easy to try to multitask by thinking about work or chores that need to be done when you’re with family. You might think that they’ll always be around so you can sit down and spend time with them later, but that’s often not true. Your family members all have their own lives, and though it may seem like you have to put yours on hold to spend time with them, take advantage of the opportunity and push the demands of life to the side. When you’re with your family, make sure you’re completely with them. If you keep worrying about what needs to be done next, you won’t enjoy your time with others. You need to have fun whatever you’re doing, whether it’s watching a movie, playing a game, making dinner, or spring cleaning the house. Your priority should be the people, not what you’re doing or what should come next.

5. Maximize your output.

Multitasking is touted as being the way to get the most done, but that’s not true. Multitasking actually means you’re taking time and concentration away from one task and applying it to another, and when you try to go back to the first task, you have to take extra time to re-acquaint yourself with what needs to be done. Instead of trying to multitask and taking three times as long to finish three tasks, focus completely on one task at a time, and complete it before moving on. This will keep you feeling balanced instead of scattered. If you only have a certain amount of time for a task, whether you need to complete it before a deadline at work or before the kids get home from school, make the most of this time and do as much as you can instead of procrastinating. You’ll feel better once you finish your project, and you’ll get to relax when it’s over!

6. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Part of feeling frazzled and stretched too thin is saying yes to everything. Many people feel the need to never turn down a project, social engagement, or favor. This can be detrimental because you won’t have time to complete everything, so you’ll cut corners on some of your tasks. Or, even more negative, you’ll stress yourself out and lose sleep because you’re so busy with all of these other engagements! Don’t be afraid to say no to more responsibility at work if it will affect how well you do your job. Say no to baking enough cupcakes for your kid’s entire class the night before the party. Saying no won’t make people hate you, but saying yes and failing to deliver will make you look bad. Don’t give excuses when you say no, either—just say you’re not able to handle the task at this time, and make sure you stay focused on keeping your life balanced.

Featured photo credit: peddhapati via flickr.com

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