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Published on December 17, 2020

5 Ways to Get Your Life Back into Balance

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5 Ways to Get Your Life Back into Balance

Life is a balancing act, and you can not escape the fact that you will always be juggling work, home, money, health, and relationships. While we doing all of this juggling we have one goal in mind—to succeed on all fronts.

Many times I have attempted to achieve this goal and have ended up paying a high price—my well-being. In these stressful times, my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being ended up depleted. My life was spinning out of control. There was no balance in my life at all, which is not a great way to live life and definitely unsustainable.

They say that you have to reach a point of desperation before you wake up to the fact that you need to make a choice—do I continue to spin out of control or do I stop spinning and get my life back into balance?

I choose to get my life back into balance. So, here are 5 simple things I did to start my journey of getting my life sorted. Follow these tips so you can get your life back into balance, too.

1. Figure Out What Living a Balanced Life Means to You

Finding balance in your life is about finding your center—the place where you can feel at peace, present, and happy. To get to this place of balance, you need to know what living a balanced life looks like for you.

In his article, How to Lead a Well Balanced Life, Gustavo Razzetti stated that:[1]

“Balance is not something we can get; it’s a state of mind. It’s the realization that life is not stable but in constant motion”.

For me, to get into the mindset of living a balanced life, I wrote down a list of all the activities that I liked doing and gave me a sense of peace, joy, and a feel-good feeling.

I then prioritized these activities to the top 5 that I would commit to maintaining in my life.

  1. Daily exercise for 60 minutes
  2. Mindfulness – 10 minutes of meditation daily
  3. Gratitude Journal – Every night, I write down 5 things I am grateful for that day (sometimes, I miss a few nights but no more than 3 nights).
  4. Don’t watch TV or go on my phone in bed.
  5. Healthy eating is a top priority – Limit my alcohol intake to 2 nights a week and my special treats (almond croissants) to one every 2nd Friday!

I knew that I had to create a more positive mindset, and these 5 activities helped me to do that.

2. Stop Trying to Multitask and Learn to Prioritize

Our brain is not wired to multitask. The more we multitask, the more stress we put on our brains. The reason we multitask is that we think multitasking is valuable and a great asset to have. However, what happens is that we end up having hundreds of thoughts rushing around at the same time and constant chatter in our minds!

This actually slows you down and instead of focusing on the “one thing” you need to do, you end up getting distracted and going from one thing to another and achieving very little. By the end of the day, you are exhausted!

Creating balance is not about cramming many things into your everyday life. It is about knowing what is important and what isn’t and figuring out how much capacity and energy you have to invest in what is important to you.

Knowing your priorities, staying focussed, and managing your time is key to you getting your life back into balance.

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3. Learn How to Say No and Release the Need to Overachieve

Being prepared to say “no” is an important step to creating balance in your life. There are many reasons why we say yes when we are overcommitted and our lives are spinning out of control.

For me, saying yes to another project or opportunity means believing that people would see that I was a high achiever and successful. I couldn’t say no because that would mean people may think I wasn’t capable or successful. Go figure that one! My life was spinning out of control, but I kept saying yes.

What I ended up doing when I said yes was promising more than I could deliver and working on projects that I really didn’t want to do. I learned that by saying no, I created the opportunity for me to work on things that I actually enjoyed doing, and as a result, ended up getting my life back with so much more energy.

Learning to say “yes” without resentment and “no” without regret is the first step to you living a balanced life.

4. Create Quiet Spaces in Your Life and Mind

When you are living a life that is out of balance, you are on speed dial. A lot is going on in your life, and you have so much to do that you feel like you are running a race that you can’t seem to win!

Your body will tell you when your life is out of control. One of the first signs is poor quality sleep. You have so much on your mind you can’t sleep, and after a while, your energy levels start to drop. Your mind feels foggy, and there seems to be clutter and chaos everywhere in your life.

If you recognize these signs, the best solution is to take action and look for ways to create space in your life where you can sit quietly and calmly and feel at peace.

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Be aware that you won’t reach this state of calmness and clarity straight away because your mind and your body are wired for chaos, clutter, and constant chatter. It is a step by step process.

Here are 3 things I did that helped me create the space I needed to be calm and at peace:

  1. I downloaded the app Calm – an app for sleep and mediation. I committed to an end of day ritual where I would take a shower, have a cup of calming tea, and then meditate using Calm.
  2. I scheduled a massage every 2 weeks for 3 months and paid ahead for all the sessions. There were no excuses for me to put off making an appointment because I was too busy and had no time. If I had to postpone, I had to reschedule straight away because I had paid for the sessions.
  3. Journaling – this is a practice that takes minimal commitment. However, the results for me had a tremendous impact. Journaling allowed me to create space in my mind and a sense of calm in my body. I was able to acknowledge what was on my mind, and this meant that my thoughts and feelings left my brain and my body, and I felt at peace.

5. Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle—Healthy Diet and Regular Exercise

A healthy diet fuels natural energy and boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the chemicals in our body that make us feel good.

I scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist to figure out what healthy food plan would work best for me. I paid for a 2-month consultation up front, which meant that I would be less likely to stray and make excuses as to why I couldn’t stick to the program!

I have always been very active. However, since turning 50, I found that my body no longer required high-intensity training, but it needed low intensity and body strength workouts instead. I gave up my running and gym membership and took up yoga, pilates, and walking!

I am 100 percent convinced that having a healthy diet and exercise regularly are the foundations from which I can sustain living a well-balanced life.

My Thoughts on Self-Discipline

When my life starts to feel out of balance, I know that I am lacking self-discipline. I have learned that self-discipline is one of the best tools to help me get on top of things in my life. Without self-discipline, I waste time, procrastinate, and fail to follow through on things I know I should do. As a result, I feel guilty, overwhelmed, and out of sorts with myself. This is not a great place to be.

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Following these 5 steps to get my life back was key to me committing to living a well-balanced life where over time, self-discipline and procrastination no longer became a major issue for me to overcome.

Living a well-balanced life isn’t just crucial for your health, happiness, and well-being but also essential for boosting your productivity, managing stress, and living your life to your fullest potential.

So, go get your life back into balance right now!

“We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.” —Francis J. Braceland

More Tips to Get Your Life Back into Balance

Featured photo credit: Jakob Owens via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Liberationist: How to Lead a Well Balanced Life

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on December 6, 2021

How To Relax Quickly When You Are Addicted To Work

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How To Relax Quickly When You Are Addicted To Work

You’ve finally reached the end of your workday—a day that started with you skimming hours from sleep to get a jump-start on your to-do list.

It continued with you eating lunch at your desk to avoid losing momentum, ignoring calls from family and friends to fend off feelings of guilt about not working, and adding new projects to your plate after finishing up others.

You’ve managed to reject anything that resembles a break so you can stay firmly focused on your work performance and success. Now, you’re exhausted. And, let’s be honest: you’re also addicted to working.

There’s some part of you that knows this and understands the urgency with which you need to conjure personal courage to confront the unhealthy, underlying causes of your obsessive work style.

But, for now, the only mental energy you can muster is the bit that’s required to figure out how to relax quickly so you can do it all over again tomorrow.

Are You a Workaholic?

In simple terms, a workaholic is a person who is obsessed with working, be it in the office, at home, on holiday, or even during a break. Although the term was first coined in the early 1970s, work addiction hasn’t gathered much attention as a mental health condition.

On the surface, it may seem the person is only trying to stay on top of their game or have their work under control but the issues with it run deep.

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Individuals tend to fixate on working extra hours at the office since they become emotionally, socially, and physically dependent on that work. This can lead to unhealthy dependence where a person cannot separate work life and personal life.

Signs and Symptoms of Work Addiction

You can only effectively tackle work addiction when you understand what the signs of work addiction look like. It is still easy to identify work addiction in others, but to find it within yourself, requires you to be self-aware.

If you or someone you know has work addiction, the most common signs are:

  • They’re constantly thinking of freeing up more time to get work done even if there’s no pending deadline.
  • The hobbies that they were once good at have been long abandoned in hopes of achieving work-related progress in their professional life.
  • They have an unhealthy obsession with work-based success. If asked about themselves or their life, work is the highlight of their story.
  • Their family members or loved ones have started to complain about feeling distant, ignored, and even unloved.
  • They use work to avoid responsibilities, confrontations, feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression. If something bad happens, they use that frustration in their work.
  • They have constantly started losing sleep either working or thinking about work and it has made them cranky and have mood swings.

From the aforementioned signs, it is clear that work addiction doesn’t just affect the individual suffering from it, it can have an impact on those around them as well. Once you identify these signs in yourself and realize you have work addiction, you need to address it too.

Problems Associated With Work Addiction

Although work addiction may seem like a common thing, which it is, there isn’t much talk about the problems associated with it. In most cases, individuals spend a lot of time working long hours which negatively impacts their mental health.

Sometimes they work to avoid the issues or realities of real-life and find work to be their safe space. However, this makes it very easy for them to disconnect from reality and be caught up in unhealthy work patterns that impact their physical health as well.

Here are some of the most common issues with work addiction:

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  • One starts losing touch with their personal and family life. They start distancing the people closest to them by shutting them out.
  • Physical health is negatively impacted, as workaholics often do not get enough sleep, rest, food, and exercise. It can lead to migraines, spine issues, and other problems.
  • Workaholics lose touch with their societal obligations and shy away from their social circles. They are hardly ever seen at events and become introverted.
  • On a psychological level, workaholics may become dependent on work and abuse their bodies past the point of exhaustion.
  • In the case they have low workloads or lose their job suddenly, they are prone to feeling vulnerable and may resort to destructive behavior due to agitation.

How to Overcome Work Addiction

Here are 5 temporary solutions to try out to ease the tension of mental exhaustion from being addicted to work until you’re ready to put in the courageous effort to change your approach to work.

1. Take a Walk Around the Block

Once you close your computer and step away from your desk, kick on your walking shoes and head outside. Walking has long been identified as a way to relax the mind and the body. In fact, research has shown that a brisk walk can relieve stress and tension similar to how aspirin relieves a headache.[1]

The reason for this has to do with how this low-impact exercise triggers the release of endorphins or brain chemicals that stimulate relaxation.[2] If your work addiction has left you with limited time, you’re in luck. A walk as short as 10 minutes can provide the stress-relieving benefits you need to reset your mind.

If work has depleted you’re energy to the point where a vigorous walk seems like more trouble than it’s worth, you can try a slower-paced walking meditation to help you unwind. Mindful walking is practiced within many forms of Buddhism and focuses on walking with reverence. This means that each step is taken with intentional breathing, whole-body awareness, and deep gratitude. Mindful walking is meant to bring your body and mind together peacefully and can help you relax in as little as 10 minutes.

If you’d rather unwind with a little less movement, give a weighted blanket a try.

2. Crawl Up Under a Weighted Blanket

For many people, taking a nap is an ideal antidote for restoring the body and brain after many hours of work. If you are addicted to work, however, you may not be able to easily disconnect from unfinished projects and allow yourself to drift off to sleep.

A weighted blanket may be able to help. This type of blanket ranges from 5 to 30 pounds and is designed to help you feel snug and secure like a comforting hug. In theory, the blanket provides “pressure therapy,” which helps to settle your nervous system and lower your heart rate when you are stressed.[3] Pressure therapy can increase the amount of serotonin and oxytocin released in the brain, which can lead to a sense of calm.

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Some experts recommend staying under a weighted blanket for 20-30 minutes. However, the duration is up to you depending upon how much comfort and relaxation you feel. Once you’ve snuggled underneath a weighted blanket, you may find your way to sleep in no time.

However, if a weighted blanket alone doesn’t seem to be doing the trick to help you relax quickly, you may want to add music to the mix.

3. Turn on Otis Redding

Music is often a go-to resource to stimulate good vibes. If you’re addicted to work and looking for a way to release the built-up tension generated from your intense focus on productivity, power up your favorite music streaming service and turn on some soothing sounds. Research shows that “music around 60 beats per minute can cause your brain to synchronize with the beat” and create alpha brainwaves.[4] These are the helpful brainwaves that appear when you are relaxed.

You might be wondering what type of music comes in at 60 beats per minute. Think Otis Redding. Spotify features a playlist called “60 bpm” that includes several of Redding’s songs like “My Girl” and “These Arms of Mine.” If you’re not a fan of old-school jams, you’ll find other artists and songs on the list as well. You can also do your own research to create a custom playlist that’s immediately ready when you need it the most.

When choosing relaxing music to listen to, keep in mind that you don’t want to simply turn to a tune because science says so. Listening to music that doesn’t appeal to you might have the opposite calming effect that you’re going for.

4. Say Cheese

Smiling is easy, quick, and loaded with relaxation benefits. All it takes is getting past the awkwardness of sitting down or walking around with a grin on your face for no reason other than to unwind. Research shows that an act as simple as smiling can be effective in reducing the intensity of the body’s stress response and lowering heart rate levels after stressful activities.[5] And all of this can happen regardless of whether you actually feel happy.

When you smile, your brain releases dopamine and endorphins, which are chemical messengers that help to lighten your mood. This makes smiling a sneaky—yet effective—way to trick your brain into helping you feel good.

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As a bonus, research shows that smiling can help you look more attractive. In a study conducted at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, participants found men and women who made eye contact and smiled to be more good-looking than those who did not.[6]

If you really want to take your relaxation up a notch, try smiling while lying on the floor.

5. Lie on the Floor

If being addicted to work has left you in a severe state of exhaustion that the only thing you can think to do is lay flat on the floor, you’re closer to relaxation than you may realize. The Alexander Technique, named after a Shakespearean actor, offers up a specific way to lie on the floor so that you release tension in your muscles.[7]

The technique, also known as Constructive Rest, involves turning on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. In addition to helping you relax, the specific position supports spinal alignment.[8] Be sure not to get too cozy, though. Lying on the floor for an extended period of time could lead to soreness and stiffness. You only need to hold the Alexander Technique for a few minutes to feel a sense of ease, and practicing each day can lead to longer-lasting results.

The Bottom Line

Being addicted to work can bring on an unbearable amount of tension and unease that leaves you with an urgent desire to find relief. But until you can conjure the courage to transform your approach to work and success, that relief is destined to be temporary. There are several methods, backed by science, that can help bring about a brief sense of relaxation.

Walking has been proven to release neurochemicals that are responsible for easing stress. Positioning yourself under a weighted blanket has been thought to provide pressure therapy, which helps settles your nervous system.

On top of that, listening to music at a specific rhythm can cause your brain to create alpha waves—the waves that are generated when you are relaxed. You may also try lying on the floor. The right horizontal position can help you release the built-up tension that comes from working overtime. The simplest and quickest way, though, for those addicted to work to bring about a sense of calmness is by cracking a smile. Smiling has been shown to reduce the body’s stress response.

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Now, if you’re an overachiever in figuring out how to relax, just a much as you are an overachiever at working, consider walking around the block, returning home, turning on smooth sounds, lying on the floor with a weighted pull on top of you, closing your eyes, and smiling concurrently.

More Tips on Leading a Balanced Life

Featured photo credit: XPS via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Anxiety & Depression Association of America: Exercise for Stress and Anxiety
[2] Prevention: How To Walk To Relieve Your Stress
[3] Harvard Health Publishing: Anxiety and stress weighing heavily at night? A new blanket might help
[4] University of Nevada, Reno: Releasing stress through the power of music
[5] Association for Psychological Science: Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery
[6] Psychology Today: There’s Magic in Your Smile
[7] Harvard Health Publishing: The Alexander Technique can help you (literally) unwind
[8] BodyIntelligence: Stress Reliever: The Alexander Technique Practice of Lying Down

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