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by Alana Gregg, MS

Balance is such an annoying word, isn’t it? I have a physical reaction when I hear it. It’s this illusive concept that seems impossible to achieve. Whether it’s the work/home life balance, or the emotional/physical health balance, or taking care of ourselves vs others, it’s really hard to find a balance. What does this look like in your life?

When you think about your life, picture it in terms of a pizza. Each slice is a piece of your life. Work, relationships, physical health, school, spiritual life, hobbies, and emotional/mental health are all important aspects of our lives that take up our time. Think about what each slice is for you. Then think about how much time and energy you have given to each piece this week and “eat” that slice accordingly. Now look at what’s left of your pizza. Are there pieces left that you haven’t even taken a bite of? Are there pieces that you’ve eaten the entire slice? What does this tell you about your life?

Keep in mind these 7 things when trying to achieve balance:

  1. Perfection is a myth. There is no perfectly balanced life. Let that take the pressure off. We have different seasons of our lives where more of us is required in one area or another. When we hold onto this idea of perfection, we will fall short every time. And then we feel guilty for messing up and it becomes a vicious cycle.
  2. Prioritize. Look at each slice of your pizza and decide what is most important to you. Then take a step back and think about what you will regret most not doing 10-20 years from now. Does this make you reevaluate your list? Our priorities also need to be reexamined regularly because they can change. For instance, work may have been your top priority before starting a family, but now you may need to find ways to spend more time at home.
  3. Manage your time. This is the hardest thing in the world to do. Keep in mind that there is only one of you. My husband and I often joke about how nice it would be to have three or four of us and how much more we would get done. Since this isn’t an option, you need to set limits on what and how much time you spend doing things. You are the only one that can set boundaries on your time. Maybe you need to say no to more things. Maybe you need to set alarms on your phone, not just as reminders, but as a way to signal you need to end one task and spend time in another area of your life. Remember the goal is not perfection. It’s finding balance.
  4. Take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It’s absolutely necessary. When life gets crazy the first thing to go is self-care. We all struggle with this. We start sleeping less or eating meals out of vending machines or we stop exercising completely. It’s like the oxygen masks on airplanes. Who do they tell you to put the mask on first? Yourself. You can’t help the people around you if you can’t breathe. Again, some seasons of life are busier than others. My husband and I call this survival mode, when you’re just trying to get through the day. I get it. But if you continue too long in survival mode without doing something to take care of yourself, you will end up getting sick and then you will be forced to slow down.
  5. Set goals. Don’t just set general goals. Be specific. For instance, don’t just set a goal of getting in shape. Break that goal down into smaller parts that will work for you. And be realistic. Going to the gym five days a week might not actually be feasible. But going twice a week and then walking for 20 minutes on your lunch break might be better. When we set unrealistic goals, we will inevitably fail and then feel guilty when we don’t meet them. But when we meet small attainable goals, it motivates us to keep going.
  6. Accountability. We all need people in our lives to hold us accountable. Creating balance in our lives is very difficult, and we may not even realize it when we are neglecting other important things. Think about sitting on a see saw. You can only stay balanced with someone on the other side. That person also needs to “weigh the same” or has the same goal of agreeing what is important in life and how to keep those things a priority.
  7. It’s a process. Balance is not something that you either have or you don’t. There is no pass or fail grade. (Thank goodness or we’d all probably fail). Balance is a way of living. It’s remembering that life on either end of the spectrum is not necessarily healthy and we need to find a place in the middle. We need to constantly be reflecting on our hearts and bodies and being more aware of when we are feeling run down or if we are neglecting something important.

Start Therapy in Ambler, PA

If you need help finding balance in your life, our trained counselors at Lime Tree Counseling would love to come alongside you. Maybe you feel like you are on a mouse wheel and you’re not sure how to get off. We understand how exhausting and painful life can be when you are stuck in an unhealthy cycle. We offer support and a safe space to talk through what you are struggling with. We can work together as a team to create a plan to implement more balance in your life. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation. Located in Ambler, PA, we also offer online counseling so you can talk with a counselor from the comfort of your own home.