We are constantly looking for ways to find balance within our lives. From juggling our full-time jobs and managing the household, to finding time to get the car fixed and get groceries into the fridge every week. It never feels like there is enough time to take care of ourselves.
Finding balance in your life isn’t just about the work-life balance. It’s about your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being, too. According to a study shared by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the two top areas that are impacted when we don’t have proper balance are sleep and relationships.
Imbalance Affecting Our Sleep
When we’re out of balance in one area of our lives, sleep always ends up being collateral damage. Stress, for instance, can dramatically impact the amount of sleep we get. But then we seem to add to the stress by throwing in some poor lifestyle habits that impact our ability to sleep even more.
We’re up late finishing up our work or scrolling through our phones to catch up on all of the things we missed. Then the next day we can barely keep our eyes open long enough to take a shower and get on with the day.
So what can we learn from the lethargy and mood swings from too little sleep? We can learn to put our phones away earlier in the night. We can learn to reassess our daily schedule. We can learn that we might need to ask for extra help from a sleep therapist, such as lastminuteceus.com to discover the root cause of why we have trouble sleeping in the first place.
We can learn to adapt, which doesn’t always work in our favor. Or we can remove things that weigh our personal scale too far in one direction.
Imbalance Affecting Our Relationships
Our physical health and mental health aren’t the only aspects that can be thrown out of balance. As I said before, when one area of our lives is out of whack, it’s inevitably going to impact several other areas, too.
Another aspect of our lives that becomes impacted by a lack of balance is relationships.
In Donald Miller’s book, Scary Close, he talks about an experience he had with a group therapist. The therapist explains that each person has their own pillow. The other person in the relationship is not allowed to sleep on or cuddle that pillow. They cannot fluff the pillow nor change the sheets of the pillow.
There is, however, a designated pillow that belongs to both people in the relationship.
Finding balance within a relationship requires finding balance within yourself. If your pillow represents your needs, how do you expect to show up in any relationship a complete and full version of yourself?
How can we manage to find balance within our hectic, overly stressful lives?
Balance is a concept I’ve struggled with for a long time. To be honest, I don’t necessarily believe that there is such a thing as finding the “perfect balance” because perfect doesn’t exist. What I believe we can find, however, is something close to it. But we can’t do that if we don’t give ourselves the time, space, and energy to learn from the imbalance.
That right there is the most important lesson. We learn the most about balance from the things that don’t work. I like to think of it as treating ourselves as one giant science experiment.
We keep trying various hypotheses to find out what doesn’t work. Eventually, one of our experiments will succeed, and we can keep applying the same strategy repeatedly.
So where do you start?
Keep a Journal
Successful scientists take notes. Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on your day or within a specific situation. It gives you an opportunity to set some time aside to analyze and examine what transpired throughout your day.
- What brought you joy?
- What made you feel incredible?
- What wore you down?
- Did you feel burnt out at any point?
- What were you doing when these negative emotions came through?
Writing is a means of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that many therapists use. It’s a way to help someone identify the underlying cause of an issue and how you can disrupt a pattern in order to change it.
As you journal to reflect on these moments, both good and bad, you can pinpoint the areas of your life that felt out of balance.
- Did you leave any time for yourself throughout the day?
- Did you work for more than eight or nine hours?
- When was the last time you had social interaction throughout your day, if any at all?
- What did you eat and at what times?
Make a New Plan
Once you see the areas of your life that need reworking, it’s time to start a new plan. It’s not always a simple switch. For some, it might be a difficult transition like quitting smoking or attending couple’s counseling with their spouse. Take a little time to prepare. Figure out what needs to take place to make room for you to bring balance back into your life again.
Maybe it is finding a sleep therapist to help with your COPD. Maybe it is setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb” before bed. Maybe it is talking to your manager about your designated work hours so you aren’t working late into the night.
When you are creating your plan, always make sure that your items are actionable. It’s easy when life is out of balance to stay within the routine. Simply saying, “I’m going to work out” doesn’t imply that you are going to be successful in regaining balance with your physical health.
Instead, try writing your goal out on paper. Instead of your vague workout plan, trying writing a plan that says, “I am signing up with a personal trainer on Wednesday to start working three times a week so I can boost my energy levels.” The clearer you are with what needs to be addressed, the more likely you are to take action.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect solution to finding balance. We have to do the work to examine our daily lives, find what isn’t working, and make a plan with definitive action items to make the necessary changes.
With those three steps, we’re bound to find our scale a little more centered every single day.