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7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

People are living busier and busier lives these days, taking on more and more with every passing month‒more work commitments, relationship commitments, family commitments, social commitments, the list goes on… therefore staying happy and relatively balanced seems a task of Sisyphus (the man in mythology who rolled a boulder up a mountain every day only for it to roll back down to the bottom at the end of the day), i.e. impossible.

Is it impossible to be balanced and happy when you’ve got a hell of a workload? No. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tricky tightrope act to master, but don’t worry‒plenty of people have their own ways for achieving everything they need to do and still have time for everything they want to do in life. This is the art of life-balance. Here are just seven of the best tips that I heartily recommend if you’re stuck looking for how to keep your balance and be happy at the same time..

1. Check your necessary needs.

Let’s get down to basics–if you want to stay balanced and happy, you need to make sure all of your basic needs are being met. Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter finishing up work or a project can tell you that while the sense of accomplishment remains, you physically feel a wreck and you can barely keep your eyes open unless you have an intravenous drip of coffee somewhere about your position.

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You should make sure you get enough sleep every night, that your diet has plenty of healthy, balanced food, and that your work is not completely taking over your life to the point of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, and you should make sure that even when you’re busy, you stay balanced by making sure your basic human needs are being met.

2. Plan ahead as much as you can.

One way to ensure that you have everything under control, minimizing the chances for missing something and throwing your busy day off course, is to plan everything you possibly can. People can plan things however they want–there are plenty of to-do list and organization apps on every kind of smartphone platform possible, or a good old pen and paper works well too (I use both).

I mean, it’s impossible to control everything, but in the end, making sure you have a list of everything you need to do, obtain, and achieve by the end of the day will make sure that going about your day, no matter how busy, will give you a reminder of everything that not only you need to complete, but what you have already successful achieved.

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3. Stay fed and stay hydrated.

This all seems like such basic stuff, but one way to make sure you stay happy and balanced throughout every instance of being busy is to keep up a solid eating and drinking routine. That’s not to say you should only stick to the same thing day in, day out, or even that you shouldn’t indulge on a daily basis (in fact: go for it, but in moderation); rather, I am simply proposing making sure you have three decent meals a day.

This is for the generation of people–myself included–who see something hot from Starbucks as a nutritious breakfast; coffee may motivate you for a little while, but then you’ll crash pretty damn hard. Make sure you drink plenty of water too; dehydration is the last thing you need on a busy day, and water also has the benefits of flushing out the kidneys and making the skin better, so that if an important meeting with a client is on your agenda, then looking your tip-top best is something we cannot help but advocate.

4. Keep an eye on your emotions.

There are some times when we’re running late or just generally having a bad day, when our emotions begin to spiral out of control. Anger escalates, stress skyrockets, anxiety soars. Our handle on our emotional experiences can drop and make us act extremely out of character, often to the detriment of our loved ones. We snap, we yell, and we lose our true selves when we’re under huge amounts of pressure.

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So what can be done to change this? After all, it doesn’t do to be snapping at friends and family. So how about keeping an eye on your emotions throughout the day, say every half an hour. Stop, see how you’re feeling, and then see if something needs to be done. Maybe make a mental visual picture of traffic lights; if things are all okay, see green lights; if they’re not, then use amber or red, so that you can realize what’s happening and then regulate those emotions. Take deep breaths, centre yourself, and then move on with your day.

5. Make time for yourself.

No matter what you go through in your day-to-day life, one of the best ways to stay balanced and maintain a feeling of happiness is to schedule in plenty of pockets of ‘me time’. Rather than rushing around and then trying to gain some kind of peace and serenity at the end of the day, it is better to carve out segments of time throughout your working day.

Ensure that you actually take time with lunch and it’s not on the move or at your desk. Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day with some breathing exercises. Make sure your shower or bath at the end of the day is spent without mobile phones, email, or anything more taxing than some relaxing music or a good book. Make sure that treating yourself and ensuring some relaxation time are spread throughout the day at scheduled intervals–they’ll allow you some breathing room, a chance to clear your head and reassess the situations you’ve been in at work, and allow your mind to be at its best.

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6. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

In this modern age, we’re expected more and more to take on more and more–it doesn’t matter that we’re already juggling impossible expectations, work, dealing with pressures of family, friends and social media; we always seem to find more and more stuff piled on our proverbial plate. My advice, in order to keep your sanity, is to therefore keep your load to a minimum amount.

There are, obviously, going to be commitments that you will not be able to shed–work, family, friends–but don’t go signing yourself up for extra projects and events that will take up more time than you’re secretly okay with sacrificing. Saying no doesn’t mean that you’re giving up, it means you’re selecting and dividing up boundaries, which is not a bad thing and will prove conducive to keeping your balance in check.

7. Learn your human limitations.

This final tip works particularly well in the wake of the New Year where everyone is making big resolutions that usually fall flat by the end of the first month–but let’s be realistic, all of us. When you’ve got a big day ahead, one teeming with errands and possibilities and commitments, it will make you much happier and more balanced.

You’re not a superhuman. You cannot fit more hours into the day, and if you’re following all the tips I’m offering, you’ll be getting plenty of sleep and personal time anyway. You’re a flawed, fantastic human being, so going around like a thing possessed trying to get everything done in the span of a few hours is not only unrealistic, it also suggests that you need to sit down and reconsider what’s important in your life. Staying balanced and staying happy are not impossible when you happen to be living a busy life. Sure, they require a bit of planning and contemplating about your life and what’s important, but implementing these tips might be able to help add some center to your life.

Good luck.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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