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6 Simple Ways to Stay Balanced No Matter How Busy You Are

6 Simple Ways to Stay Balanced No Matter How Busy You Are

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: peddhapati via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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