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How to Balance Your Busy Life
Are you like me and wondering if the balance in life is even a thing? A few years ago, I read an article on balance, and I remember thinking, “Balance? What does that even mean? And who has TIME to find this ‘balance’ anyway?? I’m a mom!” How to balance your busy life in this world of chaos might seem out of reach, but I have hope for you my friend.
One of the most common goals I heard from you is that I hope to find more balance…and I had to agree: I wanted it, too. So I started thinking about it.
When it comes to finding balance, aren’t we just looking for a little more contentment? We want to feel put together, more whole, more on top of it all, and less stressed.
…but we have our schedules, our families, our jobs, our homes, our churches, and our friends. We have goals we want to achieve. We have hopes and things we want to do with our lives—but also things we have to do to keep our families afloat and happy.
Balancing it all can feel challenging—if not impossible—a lot of the time.
But there is hope!
We can all start slow and add a little balance to our lives every day. Whenever we begin to feel like things are out of control or we can’t quite get a handle on anything, there are some specific, simple steps we can take. Steps to perk ourselves up, feel calmer and more focused, and feel like we’re getting our contentment back.
Get some rest
Whenever I’m feeling stressed out, one of the first things I look at is how I’m sleeping. Stress messes with our sleep patterns and leaves us feeling deprived and foggy.
When we have too much on our plate, we often think that cutting down on sleep time will make up for it. In reality, taking time away from sleep leaves us less productive and focused. So if you’re feeling imbalanced, one of the best solutions is to make sure you’re getting some rest.
If you’ve got too many things on your mind and you just can’t calm down, set the stage for sleep: drink some warm tea (my daughters favorite), turn off electronics a few hours before bedtime, sleep in a cold dark room, and use white noise to drown out the world. If your brain still doesn’t stop, consider writing down your worries or “scheduling” time to worry about them tomorrow. Often, after a good night’s rest, you’ll find problems aren’t as insurmountable as they seemed in the dark.
My husband says all the time to me, “If you are so worried about things and can’t sleep, get to bed & start praying to God about it. You will either fall asleep while you are talking to God or you and God will have a really good conversation and get things worked out.”
Even though we feel like we’re running around all the time, many of us lead stationary lives—at our offices, in front of our computers, and in front of the TV. Not surprisingly, sitting around can cause health issues like heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity, and more.
You don’t have to run a marathon or take up a significant sport to get benefits from moving. Find ways to fit in more fitness. Just going for a walk, taking more steps, and taking standing breaks every so often can make a huge difference when it comes to health, stress, and balance. I purchased the basic Fitbit, and it reminds me every hour to get up and move. Don’t you just love it when you realize 3 hours have passed and you have not moved?
Walking and moving give us time to think and sort things out. When we stretch, stand and get moving, we break up our “stuck thinking” and start to see things differently. Think of how many times you’ve been working on something, only to walk away for a moment and have the answer come right to you! Sometimes getting up, moving around and stretching it out can be high-stress relievers!
You have to agree with me. There is something about fresh air & sunshine. When we’re outdoors, we get vitamin D and sunshine. Our mood feels lifted, and we may even feel more energized and calm. Nature is the anecdote to stress.
Disconnect & Take a Break
Breaks are important. Giving ourselves downtime helps keep us fresh and not overwhelmed with every little problem in the world.
If you are like me, we’re very connected to the world around us. Whether it’s through social media, the news, the television, or even the barrage of advertising we see when we are out. We’re always bombarded by what we should buy, eat, do, think, and deal with it.
All of this input can leave us in information overload mode. It’s easy to feel like we’re unable to keep up with it all, especially when most of its available right from our phones in the palm of our hands.
Take an information breather. Put down your phone and even consider turning off your electronics a few hours before you go to bed. Use social media for positive interactions and to connect with friends and family, but if you find yourself getting too overwhelmed, turn it off, tune it out, and focus on “real life.”
Talk to a Friend & Laugh
When I’m genuinely struggling with balancing it all, and I’m feeling overwhelmed or defeated, I turn to a friend. Friends listen to our struggles, help us figure out solutions to our problems, and advocate for us and cheer us on.
It’s easy to feel like your social calendar is just another obligation or something you have to check off your to-do list. If you feel like you’ve got too many obligations and not enough connections, it’s probably time to get one-on-one with a buddy.
You don’t have to schedule a whole big to-do just to connect with a friend. You can just find time to pick up the phone and chat, take an exercise class together, offer to go to the store, or get your kids together for a playdate while you talk it out.
Laughter is indeed the best medicine. When you’re feeling stressed out or worn thin, it might be time to check out a funny blog, watch a few late-night show clips, or just put on a movie that makes you laugh. What a better way to do this than with a good friend.
Evaluate your “Time Jar”
We all have a time jar—the big things go in first, and then the little things get poured in around those. When our time jar is out of whack, or we’re trying to fit in too much “big stuff,” it might be time to reassess our schedule and commitment load.
Look at your calendar and schedule. Find some little blocks of time you can book out just for yourself to gain some renewal. If you can’t find them on your calendar, it might be time to cut back on some of the more significant obligations.
Just like scheduling your appointments at the office or for the dentist, you have to plan time for yourself. Maybe this means writing on your calendar a date night with your spouse or just making time for you to do something you enjoy. If you schedule it in, keep your appointments with yourself!
To quote my husband once again, “When you look at your calendar, you can see into someones life and see where they put their priorities.”
FIND YOUR SANCTUARY
We all have a sanctuary spot: someplace that makes us feel calm, safe and balanced. For some of us, it might be in our exercise class, at a church service, in the kitchen making a fancy meal, or painting our nails.
Find your sanctuary. Find a place you can escape to that makes you feel calm, balanced and connected. When you have a place, even if it’s in your car with the music turned up or on the couch make it your place where you recharge.
My sanctuary is in my kitchen sitting at my table. My Bible, the sunshine coming through the doors and my Google Home Mini is playing Christian worship music.
Finding Your Sanctuary Should be Priority
Whenever you visit your spot, tell yourself that worry and stress aren’t allowed because this is where you recharge, heal, and renew yourself. All of that can go on “out there” in the real world, but here, in your sanctuary, you are safe, calm and balanced.
Can we eliminate stress from our lives? No! Of course not. No matter how hard we try, the toilet will clog, someone will be late for something, a bill will be due, or we’ll have an obligation we forgot. Life happens, and stress happens.
The trick to balance is to work within the stress to find ways to heal and calm yourself—to nurture yourself through the times of stress so you can be strong enough to tackle whatever comes your way!
Find your time.
Oh, friend, there is several suggestions, tips, and options for you that you just read. But in all reality, it is up to you to make balance happen in your life. Take some time this week and get refreshed.