It’s a pretty safe bet that 2020’s global pandemic impacted your life balance in some way. Heading into late 2021, you might be feeling a new sense of imbalance if things aren’t “back to normal” (or you don’t want them to be). For many people, work-life balance has been significantly affected, and it’s likely that people will continue to reconsider what it means in the coming years as well.
A “well-balanced life” means different things at different times in our lives. The idea is also highly personal because we are all unique individuals. Culture and community factor into how each of us defines and even values balance.
Generally, it’s pretty easy to recognize when life feels “out of balance,” but it’s not always easy to figure out how to regain balance, especially if things around you continue to change.
Here are a 6 ideas that you can try to bring more balance into your life:
1. Get creative.
There is increasing research on how acts of creative expression impact brain health, aging, stress, and overall well-being. To get creative, give yourself permission to play. The goal here is not to create a masterpiece - that will probably add more stress, not to mention that you won’t make time for it if the bar is too high! Try one of these activities to get a creative spark to rebalance your mood, energy, and brain:
🌟 Doodle for 5 minutes. (This is not quite the same as doodling while doing something else - give yourself the space and time to JUST doodle and see how that feels.)
🌟 Try a creative journal prompt like a 6-word story from a random picture.
🌟 Sign up for an Open to Being™ Sparkshop™.
2. Get together with someone.
The pandemic has certainly made it clear how essential human connections are to living a well-balanced life, regardless of how much you identify as an introvert. When you feel out of balance, prioritize spending time with other people - even if (especially if) you feel too stressed, like you don’t have time, or you really just want to be alone. Chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how even just a little time talking or being with someone you like boosts your mood!
One idea when you feel especially stressed is to choose someone to be your “balance buddy.” Set up times to talk together about how you each are feeling in or out of balance, things you are doing, and ways you can support each other.
3. Do something within your control.
A sense of imbalance in life is usually accompanied by feeling like you don’t have control over your life. So find one small area you can control immediately as a way to send a message to yourself that you do know how to get balance back. If you don’t know where to start, try doing something physical: take a walk, dance to loud music, jump rope. Or take a nap, and let your body and mind rest! (Resting is important for wellness, too.)
4. Get clear about what really matters to you.
When you feel out of balance, it can be challenging to figure out where to start to re-balance. So start with what you have: YOU. Give yourself a little time (even 5 minutes can help) to get quiet (turn off all distractions) and listen (to your heart, your soul, a higher power). Ask, “what really matters to me right now?” Try not to think about it too much, and see if you can be aware of whatever comes up. This information can help you figure out what you could realign to make more room in your life for what matters most to you. Aligning based on your values can be much more impactful than trying to align specific things like how much work you are doing, how many projects you can accomplish, and how many things you are responsible for.
5. (Re)define “balance".
If your idea of balance is being able to do everything on your To Do list without feeling stressed or going back to how things were before you felt out of balance, it might be time to reconsider since those conditions are not realistically achieved, which can make you feel discouraged and frustrated. Instead, give yourself the space and time to step back and take a look at the big picture. What do you want for your life in the next few months or years? Is what's happening now something you can see changing within that time frame? Is your current situation getting in the way of your long-term life goals? As you do this, consider if you could reframe your perspective, so you can tackle what’s manageable.
You could also try getting to the big picture view from your immediate situation. Can you find ONE thing in your life right now that doesn’t feel good and see if there’s anything you can change about it? This might help you define what balance means for you in this particular time, and you can take a wider view from there.
6. Be kind to yourself.
This is a good one for all times in life, really! Notice how you talk to yourself. Are there phrases or words you can change to demonstrate more self-compassion. Remember that everything is temporary and changes, and reflect on what you’ve gotten through in the past.
You can and will get there. And when you do, you’ll have much more insight, wisdom, patience, and kindness for someone else who feels out of balance at that moment. Compassion begins with you.
Balance, like wellness, is not a “goal” but a fluid lifelong state of being. I can’t begin to count how many times in my life I’ve felt like I was seeking or needing more balance. Because life changes constantly, we are all continuously growing individually and collectively. Our reactions, perspectives, and attitudes shift; we learn new ideas and ways of approaching life; and we balance and re-balance over and over. When you can see imbalance as part of life’s journey, rather than an obstacle in your way, you can be much more open to BEING, and you’ll be more able to experience your full, rich, connected life - every step of the way.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.