We live in a busy world. It’s common to get wrapped up in one aspect of our lives and ignore the other parts. Whether it’s work, school, family, or friends it can feel like a challenge managing our time among the many different moving parts of our lives. When we live an unbalanced life  it can make us feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and even like our needs aren’t being met. Our mental health can take a toll when we’re not fulfilled in all areas of life or if we are being pulled too hard in any direction. One of the more common reactions to an unbalanced lifestyle is burnout. According to the leisure and well-being model, the areas of life that influence our well-being consist of social, physical, spiritual, psychological & emotional, leisure, and cognitive aspects. Dealing with so many aspects at the same time begs the question: how do we create a healthy balanced lifestyle?

First off, what does it even mean to be balanced? Being balanced can look different for everyone depending on stage of life and lifestyle, but it mostly looks like having a handle on the various elements in your life. You don’t feel like your heart or mind is being pulled too hard in any direction.  More often than not, you feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.  A balanced lifestyle is often associated as a way to live less stressed and more healthy. We often seek balance between work and play or freedom and responsibility, but it’s really about having a mix of it all.

Here are some ways to help create a balanced lifestyle:

  1. Take some time to acknowledge and be mindful
    1. Before you go about creating a balanced lifestyle, it’s important to sit down and look at your life, your state of mind, and how you’re feeling. Take this time to be honest with yourself and notice the areas of your life that you’re neglecting or would like to see change in.
  2. Create a Routine
    1. It’s always easier to start doing something new with the help of a routine to help kickstart a new lifestyle. Some examples of a routine you can create include a morning routine, night routine, or a workout routine. Making sure you have designated time set aside for working out, journaling, making a meal, or cleaning can really help you spend your time wisely and doing things that make you feel good.
    2. Routines can help you stick to goals or planning tasks.
  3. Compromise
    1. One thing about creating balance is realizing some things have to be compromised. While compromising might seem like a cost of balance, it can actually be SO helpful and has its own rewards. Sometimes we have to stop one pursuit for another. This can mean saying no to an extra project at work or stopping reading so you can spend that time with your family instead and be present.
  4. Self-care
    1. Self-care is absolutely essential to having a balanced lifestyle. Taking care of yourself in turn takes care of your mind, body, and soul. Some examples of self-care include practicing mindfulness, going on walks, doing yoga, getting good sleep, or going outside. Self-care is whatever feels best for you that will make you feel good.
  5. Connect
    1. Take the time to connect with a person who understands you. Being able to utilize social support is important to a balanced life. Social connection helps our mental health immensely and spending time with people who share the same ideals and understandings is key.
  6. Remain open
    1. Remember, creating balance takes effort until it feels effortless. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not reaching your goals right away, these things take time. Balance requires a dynamic response to losing balance, regaining it, and trying again.

By, Amanda Navarra, MHC Intern