The Importance of Living a Balanced Life

Life is a balancing act.  I don’t think that’s news to anyone or particularly profound, but I do think it’s something we routinely forget as we try to navigate the busyness that defines our lives.  Add to that mix is a constant pressure to be a certain way or act a certain way and we create a life where we’re simply reacting instead of intentionally choosing our own path. 

We are complex beings that are constantly being pulled in many directions - work, family, friends, school, our own expectations, etc.  It’s hard to find balance in life, but we need it.

Over the past couple of weeks, the lack of balance has been popping up in my mind and showing up in my life.  From not having enough time to clean up my house or squeeze in a workout, I’ve felt out of balance and somewhat ‘out of control’ of my own life.  Just like everyone else, life is busy, but I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping it all in balance and I’m at the point where I’m frazzled and overwhelmed with everything I feel like I need to get done.  

One of my core values is ‘balance’ and I’d forgotten about that (you can read more about my core values on my About page).  Last week, during a quarterly goal call with Molly Mahar of Stratejoy, she asked us to look back on our past 3 months and assess how our core values had shown up.  I was thrilled to see that 7 out of 8 of mine had fully presented themselves for me, but was draw-dropping shocked to see that ‘balance’ was on my list.  Like I said, in the past couple of weeks, I’d become acutely aware of the lack of balance and had even planned writing this post, so to see it as my only core value that hadn’t been addressed was rather powerful for me. 

For the rest of this year, I’ll be making a very conscious effort to re-introduce balance into my life.

So, as I start to make that effort, I wanted to talk to you about balance a bit more.

Why Balance is Important

@@Having balance in your life is the key to feeling satisfied, finding joy, and knowing your own worth.@@  It’s understanding that if you work hard, you have to play hard.  It’s not beating yourself up for enjoying a piece of cake after dinner because you know you’ll have a salad for lunch the next day.  It’s putting your feet up and relaxing after pushing yourself to check off everything on your to-do list.  It’s speaking your mind and standing up for yourself, but taking a back seat to allow someone else to shine.  

Good and bad.  Yin and yang.

I preach about taking time for ourselves and I champion self love and ‘me time’ for all.  It saddens me when I hear people say that’s ‘selfish’.  It’s not.  It’s selfish if you spend 100% of your time on yourself with no regard for those around you.  That would be tipping the scales and not balanced.  That’s not what we’re referring to with ‘me time’.  To balance out the ‘me time’ you will absolutely have times where you are fully giving your time to someone else and being ‘selfless’.  It’s all a balancing act and we need both to fulfill our needs as human beings.

When it comes to feelings…its inevitable that we’ll go through bad times (both as ourselves and as part of a relationship).  Most people forget that this is a normal part of life.  You can’t avoid it and I’d argue that you shouldn’t even try.  No, it’s not fun while you’re going through it, but we need those ‘bad’ times to learn more about ourselves, to grow, and to appreciate the good times.  Without the ‘bad’ times, we have no benchmark to appreciate the good times and to be grateful for the good times.

Keepin’ it Real

As we strive for balance, it’s rare that we’ll be in complete equilibrium and that really shouldn’t be the goal or we'll just set ourselves up to feel like a failure.  

We will inevitably find the scales too far tipped in one direction at any given time and that’s okay.  

The goal is to be aware of what’s going on in our lives…listen to our little voice and when it tells us we need a break, take one.  Yes, you have to make time to do the adulting tasks, but you also spend time feeling like a big kid, so when you notice your shoulders tensing up and you’re getting a bit snappy, take note!  Maybe it’s time to schedule in an afternoon of something relaxing and all to yourself to reset the balance.

I challenge you to start paying attention to yourself and your life.  Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out?  Balance it out with some carefree fun and its of laughter.  Feeling a bit frazzled by too much family time?  Take an afternoon to yourself and do whatever you want.  House a mess because you’ve spent a lot of time having fun (or working!)?  Set aside time to do a bit of adulting and get it cleaned up.  

Three Questions

I spent some time last weekend thinking about balance and instead of just telling myself that I wanted more of it this fall, I spent a few minutes with pen and paper.  I wrote down three questions to challenge myself into thinking about it further:

1. How do I want balance to show up in my life?
2. What would a balance life look like for me?
3. What can I do to add more balance into my life?

As I thought through each one, I was better able to visualize what this meant and how I'd feel.  I was able to come up with a few ideas on how to start balancing things better.  In short, I came up with a loose action plan.  And, by visualizing it, it helped me see myself living my life the way I ultimately want to, which gave me more incentive to keep this on my radar.

Final Thoughts

What I hope you're taking from all of this is that you are in charge of your ship and you have to keep it afloat.  If it tips too far in either direction, your ship will go down.  When you feel yourself pulled too far in one direction, it’s time to make the conscious and necessary correction to get everything back on track.  

This process is a life long journey and, much like a ship, waves (both big & small) will constantly keep your ship in a state of flux.  Sometimes, yes, you'll sail through calm waters where everything is relatively easy.  Other times, you’ll sail head on into a hurricane where keeping your ship afloat will take everything you’ve got.  

But, storms pass and the sun always comes out again. 

@@Finding balance in our life is like manning a ship...it takes work to keep it sailing smoothly along.@@

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Where are YOU feeling unbalanced? Are there things you could change in your life to help get things back in proportion? I’d love to hear your story, so leave me a comment and let me know!

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