The Secrets To Creating A Balanced Life
For many of us, balance is an elusive thing. We want more peace and calm in life and time to spend on what matters to us. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel caught up in the busyness and pressures of life.
Having a more balanced life was something I wanted from living a simple lifestyle. I didn’t want to be pouring all of my time into work. I didn’t want to lose out on what was really important because of an endless to-do list.
But finding what a balanced life really looks like is something I’ve struggled with. It’s easy to say I need balance and time for myself, but I never felt like I could actually get to that mysterious place called balance.
I finally got some clarity during a webinar I was watching about how to maximize productivity in blogging. The speaker went through a short section on how to find a work-life balance, and I had one of those light-bulb moments.
So what are the secrets to living a balanced life, and how do we go about creating one? Here’s what I’ve discovered.
Secret #1: Balance Is Long-Term
In my search for balance, I got really stuck on trying to create a daily schedule that was balanced the way I wanted it to be. I could never get it to work out perfectly.
Either I felt like I was putting too much time into work and not enough into life, or it was the other way round. I kept trying to figure out the right number of hours to spend each day on different things, but I couldn’t get it right.
And then I learned the first of the secrets behind living a balanced life: balance is more of a long-term thing than a short-term one.
Trying to make each day be perfectly balanced is a good way to drive yourself crazy. (I’m proof of that!) Balance is something that needs to be spread out over a period of time- a week, a month, or even a year.
For example, there might be a week that’s packed full of work because there’s a big project happening or you want to make some extra money. So you don’t spend as much time with your family or taking care of yourself during that week.
But all that can be balanced out by taking a week to work less and to spend more time with family or relaxing. This kind of balance– over a two-week span- is way easier to achieve than trying to keep a work-life balance perfect every day of the week.
Secret #2: Life Goes In Seasons
Along the same lines as looking at balance as a long-term plan, it’s important to remember that there are different seasons of life. Balance can only be achieved by working with these seasons.
There are times when we need to push ourselves and not take as much rest as we probably should. But we need to remember to balance these seasons out with periods of rest, recovery, and enjoyment.
Some seasons happen on their own. Having a baby or starting a new business will both bring about a certain season of life.
But it’s also possible to look ahead and plan out what we need to happen. If you find that you’ve gotten stuck in busyness and overworking, maybe it’s time to plan a season of rest and recovery. Or if you find that you haven’t been focused or motivated for a while, maybe it’s time to start a new adventure.
Balancing out one season of life with its opposite is the second of the secrets for living a more balanced life. It won’t always work out perfectly, but that’s okay.
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Secret #3: Intentionally Choose To Let Go
The idea of intentionally choosing what to let go of has been central to helping me understand what balance is about.
I’m the kind of person who likes to come up with plans, ideas, and ways I could be better. (Anyone else an overachiever?)
I thought that finding balance meant I would suddenly be able to fit everything I wanted to do into each day. I would be able to work, keep up relationships, exercise, improve myself- basically do all the things. Turns out, that was the wrong idea.
I finally came to the realization all perfectionists struggle with- I can’t do it all. There’s just not enough time in each day.
To find balance, I needed to intentionally choose what I wanted to let go of. I had to prioritize. Doing certain things was going to mean I didn’t have time to do other things.
Figuring out what is important to you at this point in time will bring a lot more balance to your life. Prioritizing allows you to let go of what doesn’t fit into your life right now without feeling guilty.
And when you stop trying to do it all, the feeling of being more balanced and peaceful comes on its own. If you really want a more balanced life, intentionally letting go might be the most important of the secrets to getting there.
Secret #4: Take Time To Reflect
Taking time to reflect is a key piece to the puzzle when it comes to balance. To some people, reflection sounds like a waste of time. Why look back on the past?
Well for one thing, our priorities change over time. Something that is really important right now might not be as important in the future.
If you start feeling like life is out of balance, it might be time to reflect on whether the priorities you set a while ago are still important to you.
Reflection also helps us determine whether the changes we’ve made are working. We might make the decision to change our schedule around or take some things out to bring more balance into life.
Reflecting on whether the changes we have made are taking us in the right direction will give us clarity about whether we are getting more or less balance. Taking a little time for introspection is worth it.
Find Real Balance in Your Life
I really do think that finding balance in life is possible. Like everything else, it won’t be perfect. But it can bring us more peace, better health, and greater enjoyment out of life.
Here are my secrets for living a life that is more balanced:
- Find balance over the long-term rather than perfect balance each day.
- Balance the busy and full seasons of life with time set aside for rest and recovery.
- Intentionally choose things to let go of so that you can focus on your priorities.
- Take the time to reflect and see what’s bringing you closer or taking you away from balance.
Balance doesn’t have to be something that’s always just out of reach. Start following these ‘secrets’ and you will find yourself getting closer to living out a more balanced and healthy life!
(You can also read my post about what I think simple living really means.)