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Published on December 17, 2020

5 Ways to Get Your Life Back into Balance

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 January 18, 2021

How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life and Feel Better

How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life and Feel Better

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “If I only had (fill in the blank), I wouldn’t have to worry anymore”? It’s hard to overcome those deeply ingrained beliefs around stressors in life.

“You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” -Wayne Dyer

We all have stressors in life, things we worry about that keep us awake at night. Everyone experiences stress due to life events, but chronic stress can compromise our health. It can cause irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia. Stress can even weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to illnesses.

In this article, I am going to discuss the 5 most common stressors in life[1], and give you some suggestions for dealing with them more effectively, so you can live a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

1. Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is the most common stressor in life for many people. It can come from tensions with co-workers or a boss, work overload, or simply the nature of the work, such as law enforcement. Whatever the case, there are things you can do to reduce the stress.

Here are some effective strategies.[2]

Start Your Day Off Right

Many of us are stressed out before we even arrive at work. We may have children to get ready and off to school, other responsibilities to tend to, and traffic with angry drivers to deal with.

Start your day off right by getting up early enough to take care of your responsibilities, eat properly, and cultivate a positive attitude. This reduces the likelihood of feeling all out of sorts when you arrive at work.

Know Exactly What Is Expected of You

Many of us are not entirely clear about what our boss expects from us. This usually happens in smaller companies that may not be as organized as larger companies. It’s important to know what’s expected of you, so you can avoid unnecessary tensions.

Communication is the key to avoiding this type of conflict. If you’re not sure what your boss expects of you, there is nothing wrong with asking your boss to clarify his requirements. In fact, it demonstrates that you are conscientious and sincerely interested in doing a good job, which your boss will appreciate.

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Stay Organized

A disorganized work environment creates a great deal of stress and negatively affects your mental health. You always feel rushed because you’re not sure where things are, you misjudge the time required to perform tasks, and you’re not clear on your goals and objectives.

To reduce stress, organize your work environment a little. Start by organizing your work area, so you can easily find your tools and papers.

Then, organize your time by determining how long it should take you to perform certain tasks, and try to dedicate the necessary time and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Forget multitasking, as the efficiencies of multitasking are a myth. Studies have shown that people are more productive when they focus on one task at a time.

Stay Away From Unnecessary Conflict

Much of the day-to-day conflict at work is unavoidable. Each person has his/her own responsibilities, which may conflict with those of others. However, workplace drama is unnecessary and counterproductive.

The best thing to do is to avoid this kind of conflict and stressful events and save yourself the aggravation and stress. Treat everyone with respect, avoid gossip, and avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion.

With conflicts in responsibilities, a good strategy for dealing with them is to communicate your goals and objectives when they seem to conflict with those of co-workers. Remember, you’re all on the same team trying to achieve the goals of the company.

2. Financial Stress

Finances are another of the common stressors in life. We worry about paying the rent, a mortgage, car loans, utilities, and food. We also worry about our investments, especially if we’re nearing retirement.

You may think that simply having more money will take away these worries, but that isn’t necessarily so. Even wealthy people worry about finances.

Here are some suggestions for reducing financial stress.[3]

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Live Within Your Means

One of the biggest mistakes people make is spending more money than they have. Credit card companies are quick to give you credit cards with high interest rates, so it’s easy to overextend yourself.

To avoid this mistake, keep track of your finances, and avoid the temptation to buy things you can’t afford. Set some money aside for unexpected expenses, such as car or home repairs. It’s a good idea to put money in a savings account every month, even if it’s a small amount.

Educate Yourself on Finances

For those of you who do not have a background in finance, handling money responsibly can be a challenge. Professional football players were notorious for making millions during their short careers, and then ending up broke when they could no longer play[4].

Now the NFL gives rookie players a course in financial management so that they invest their money wisely. This is a good strategy for everyone. Some important things to learn are:

  • Managing a checking a account
  • Using credit cards wisely
  • Borrowing money
  • Making large purchases (home, car)
  • Investing for retirement

Learning basic finances isn’t all that complicated. Once you have some understanding of finances, you can avoid the stress that comes from the unknown.

Ask for Help

If you feel lost or unsure about making financial decisions, it’s ok to ask someone for help. Make sure it’s someone you trust, as there are many unscrupulous people eager to take advantage of others.

I would suggest consulting a loved one or a trusted friend. Parents are a great resource, as well. Learn from their mistakes, instead of yours.

3. Health-Related Stress

For many people, health problems like illness and injury are some of the biggest stressors in life. This is more common when we get older, when our body begins to decline. When we’re young, we’re more resilient, and we can recover much more quickly from injuries and illnesses.

Experiencing an illness is frightening because, until we get it diagnosed and treated, we usually don’t know what is happening to our body, or if we will recover. However, there are things we can do to reduce the stress associated with health issues.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The approach I’ve taken to reduce health-related stress is to avoid poor health as much as possible. Since I was in my early 20s, I’ve tried to live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve eaten healthy foods, and in moderation. I’ve also exercised regularly and maintained an active lifestyle, so I’ve never been overweight.

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I’ve also avoided abusing my body with risky activities. For example, when I was younger I was involved in bodybuilding in order to stay in shape. I wanted to compete, but I realized that would entail taking training and supplementation to an extreme that would compromise my good health, which I wasn’t willing to do.

Know Your Risks

Many of us have certain risk factors that are unique to each of us. Some may be genetic, such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, or cancer. Whatever the case, learn your family history of health issues.

It’s important to talk to your parents. Sometimes they don’t want to talk about sensitive issues, but it’s necessary for your good health.

4. Relationship Stress

Relationships are one of the greatest stressors in life, especially for younger people. We usually aren’t explicitly taught how to have good, healthy relationships. This is something we learn through experience and a lot of heartache, which can lead to having a stressful life for a long time.

When we’re inexperienced with relationships, we usually let our emotions make our decisions for us. We get involved with people that we’re not compatible with, but who we care for deeply. If we’re not compatible, then we engage in power struggles, each person trying to exert his or her will in the relationship. This leads to a lot of stress because we feel like we lack control.

Communicate

One of the keys to less stressful relationships is communication. It’s important to be open about how we feel and what we’re looking for in the relationship. Sometimes you can work things out, and sometimes you can’t. If you can’t, then you need to move on before each of you has too much invested in the relationship, which makes it harder to end later.

Practice Maturity

Another key to less stressful relationships is maturity. It takes wisdom and mature emotions to not create unnecessary conflict and drama. These take time and experience to develop, but by being aware of how you’re acting, you can begin to learn these skills.

5. Poor Nutrition

Another stressor in life is poor nutrition. Most of us are not fully aware of how the things we consume can raise our stress level. Here are a few examples[5]:

  • Drinking Too Much Coffee: While coffee has many benefits, too much can increase stress by raising the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Eating Foods That Increase Cortisol Levels: There are other foods that raise your cortisol levels, such as refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, red meats, fried foods, and other foods high in fat.
  • Skipping Meals: In addition to providing us with the proper nutrients to maintain good health, stopping to eat gives us a break from our busy day, which allows us to relax and de-stress.
  • Not Drinking Water: Our body needs water to function properly, and stopping to take a drink gives us a short break.
  • Eating Compulsively: We sometimes eat as a reaction to stress, and we usually make poor choices of what to eat when this happens.

Educate Yourself on Basic Health and Nutrition

You can eliminate a lot of health related stress by knowing what is happening in your body. Nowadays, there is a wealth of good information on the Internet about almost every health issue you can think of.

In order to live a healthy lifestyle, you don’t have to follow such a strict diet and exercise regimen. Mainly eat foods that are healthy, in smaller meals, and more often. Also, try to stay physically active.

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Keep in mind that healthy food isn’t necessarily bland and tasteless. I eat lots of delicious foods and desserts. And by staying physically active, I eat as much as I want without gaining any weight, even as I’ve gotten older, and so can you.

Meditation

When it comes to dealing with stressors in life, mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool.

Meditation doesn’t necessarily solve your problems, but it does enable you deal with them much better. In addition, it calms your mind, which leads to calmer emotions.

Mindfulness meditation is easy to practice, and you don’t have to meditate for long periods to get the benefits. If you’re new to meditation, just sit quietly for 5-10 minutes following your breath. Do this several times a week, and you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel, and you won’t react so much to things that trigger your fears, anger, or anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Most of us long for peace and tranquility in our lives. When we’re young, we tend to think that once we get or achieve certain things, we’ll be able to relax. Those of you who are middle age or older have probably realized the fallacy of this way of thinking.

“By changing your attitude, you also change your perspective and change your life.” -Roy Bennett

We all have stressors in life, things that cause us to worry about our future. That’s natural, but it is the unpredictable nature of the stressors that make us feel insecure and not in control.

However, it’s not really those things that cause us the stress, but rather how we view them. Therefore, if you want to lower your stress level, you need to change the way you mentally process the circumstances in your life. To accomplish this, you basically need to do three things:

  1. Choose wisely the things that are truly important in your life.
  2. Arm yourself with information about your stressors, so you have more control over your future.
  3. Learn to live with the remaining uncertainty.

If you can do these three things, then you can enjoy your life to the greatest extent possible.

More Tips on Handling Stress

Featured photo credit: Ivan Aleksic via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The American Institute of Stress: What Is Stress?
[2] Very Well Mind: 9 Simple Ways to Deal With Stress at Work
[3] American Psychological Association: Dealing with Financial Stress
[4] Forbes: NFL Players Need A Playbook When Managing Their Financial Future
[5] Exploring Your Mind: Stress and Poor Nutrition

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