Nowadays with busy work schedules, overtime work, deadlines, further/extra studies, kids, rising petrol prices, inflation, social obligations, house chores, mortgage repayments, etc., it is getting harder and harder for many people to stay healthy, stress-free and happy. Many of us end up disregarding our physical, mental and emotional well-being just to ensure we stay on top of things and that the bills are paid for, our project deadlines are met, our kids go to private schools, etc.
What many people fail to consider is: What is the point of doing all of this if you’re not going to enjoy and live a happy life?
Living a balanced lifestyle is the key to ensuring that you can have time for yourself, your work, your friends, your family and time to enjoy life and the people and things around you. Admittedly, achieving one is easier said than to be done. But if you are discipline and really try to challenge yourself, you will get there and you would never want to look back.
To help you along your journey, I have listed out some general tips in this article and ways to go about balancing your life, work and commitments. Articles to follow will deal more with specific health issues.
1. Indulge in yourself
By indulging and taking care of yourself, this can significantly reduce your stress levels and clear your mind so that you’re in a better frame of mind to tackle any issues, problems and unexpected challenges that pop up along the way. Reduction of stress is important as high levels of stress have been shown to significantly impact negatively on one’s mental and emotional health. Hence, as part of a balanced lifestyle, activities that are stress-reducing are important and I have listed out a few ideas to get you started.
- Get up slightly earlier in the morning and take your time to use the bathroom, brush your hair, stretch and apply your make up (if you use make up) before everyone else wakes up. The few extra minutes of quietness in the morning can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing before the day really begins.
- If you absolutely cannot afford to take a 30 min break, lean back on your chair, close your eyes and zone out for 5 – 10 mins. Daydream about positive things such as the amazing dinner you’re going to be having tonight, the dinner you have scheduled to see your best friend or the weekend coming up. Think happy thoughts and when you open your eyes, straighten your posture, smile and get back to work. You will be surprise at how simple things can really boost your energy, approach and motivation.
2. Take care of your body
Since we take time to indulge in ourselves, as part of a balanced lifestyle, we must also take time to care for ourselves. Caring for ourselves and our body involves eating a balanced diet and exercise. Approaching this with a positive can-do attitude will also make things a lot easier, and in combination with these ideas, you will be on your way to achieving a balanced lifestyle in no time.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Remember this phase: “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness” . The reason why eating well is so essential for a balanced lifestyle is because having a balanced diet will ensure that your body is functioning well, you have more energy for your day and you will have a lower chance of falling sick or developing any illnesses/diseases.
- Eat in moderation. Remember, we are not going on a diet; we are aiming to have a lifestyle change which means no strict diets or regime. Just honest good ways to live a little healthier and enjoy a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Exercise is not only a fantastic way to reduce stress, it is great for the waist line, your skin, mental health and ensuring that your bodily functions are at their optimum. If you’re “too busy” for exercise, schedule it like how you will schedule your other work appointments and social events. By committing it down on your calendar, you are more likely to stick with it and be motivated to do it. Make sure that the exercise is something you love to do. So for example, if you don’t like running or hitting the gym, go for a bike ride instead.
3. Prioritise your life
To enjoy a balanced lifestyle, you need to manage all aspects of your life: Work, health, fitness, relationships, family and mental well-being. However, realistically, it can get unbelievably hard to manage all aspects of this and become bogged down with one aspect (i.e. work) and ignore the rest (i.e. your diet or time spent with your loved ones). Therefore, it is vital that you take some steps and tips to ensure you maintain on top of things so that you can enjoy all areas of your life.
- Plan and think ahead at the start of each week to assess what events are coming up. Make sure you dedicate adequate time to finishing up your work and assign quality time for yourself; this includes scheduling time for exercise, social events and “Me-time”. A good trick to do is to overestimate the amount of time you need to complete a task this will ensure you have more than enough time to deliver high quality work, spend high quality time with your friends and yourself.
4. Do something you find meaningful in your spare time
Happiness comes from achieving a positive sense of well-being and achievement, and this can occur from developing relationships with people. When we believe that we have helped another person in a certain way, chemicals in our brain actually react and make us feel good about ourselves in a selfless kind of way. Meaningful ways to spend your time include volunteering at the local dogs shelter or elderly homes, or visiting a friend in hospital, or going to see your grandparents/parents that you haven’t seen for a while, or catching up with a friend that you know is going through a hard time, or assisting the new colleague of yours in finishing up his project. Remember, the meaning of life is to live a life of purpose and you can only get the most out of your life if you can manage all aspects of your life that are important to you.