When I imagine what it looks like to live a balanced life, two thoughts come to mind.
The first is the “Jack theory.” All work and no play makes for a cranky Jack. All this and no that, too much of this and too little of that, just doesn’t work. The challenge here is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy and want to do. We need to carve out time for the serious stuff as well as play.
The other way to live a balanced life has more to do with going with the flow; not letting the inevitable glitch in our day throw us off-balance, sending us careening off course. It’s about staying balanced.
In other words, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still ‘go wrong’ with it. When lucky, we experience a minor glitch; a glitch so small and short-lived that you hardly notice it – a transient fault that corrects itself.
However, there are the times when a hornet’s nest of difficulties presents itself, and you need to change course, immediately, lest you get knocked off your tush!
Here follows eight guidelines on how you can ‘root’ yourself in balance, enabling you to smile and stay steady the course, even in the face of the inevitable hiccup, glitch or major league malfunction.
8 Tips For A Well Balanced Life
… go with the flow, baby, lest it knocks you off-balance
1. Take Care of YOU. I promise you that your health is the key ingredient to ALL! They don’t say, “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything” for nothing! It’s the truth. You simply cannot function in high gear, if you don’t get the right amount of rest, exercise or good, healthy eats (a.k.a. real food vs. processed ‘stuff’). At some point, ‘it’ will catch up with you.
2. Set Priorities. Leading your ‘best life’ does not mean that you need to be or should try to be perfect and do all. It means that you self-reflect, known thyself, determine your true values. Not knowing who you are and what you want and trying to do everything is a recipe for burnout and disaster. Do not bite off more than you can chew!
3. Plan Pretty. No, planning is not a dirty word, although you might think it is based on the response I sometimes get when I stress the importance of planning. Do not stamp your feet, like a 3 year old and say, “I don’t like to plan.” Keeping an organized calendar and planner, tracking your appointments and food, your (a.k.a. movement for the exercise phobic), leads to freedom.
When you plan, you essentially dump your thoughts onto the page, organize them so they do not overwhelm you, which leads to a productive, relaxed kind of day. Instead of cringing at the thought of ‘planning,’ embrace it. Once again, planning presents a clear path out of the state of ‘overwhelm’ and into a state of ‘freedom.’
4. Stuff Happens; Expect the Unexpected. Have you ever had a day when something unexpected didn’t happen? An unexpected phone call, unexpected traffic jam, a platter of pretty cupcakes being paraded in front of you or maybe worse yet, a computer crash? Stuff happens my friends. Stuff happens big time. So expect the unexpected and just roll with it.
5. Wake Up Happy. Your first thoughts are the most powerful, the strongest and they can set a tone for the day. You can easily train yourself to begin each and every day with a positive thought.
Begin to pay attention to your waking thoughts. If they are not ‘happy’ or useful thought, change them. In the place between being asleep and fully awake, note your thoughts and change them if you have to, or if positive and useful, embrace them. “Today, I am going to get organized and ‘motor’ through the day with great, happy energy.” Vs. “Crapola, it’s Monday. Another day, another dollar.” Get my drift?
6. Stay Connected with Family and Friends. Another key ingredient to living a balanced life and staying ‘in balance’ is your connection to your friends and family. However busy you may be, be sure to reach out to at least one friend or family member daily. Preferably, in real time, either in person or via telephone; not electronically! There’s nothing like the real thing.
7. Be Spontaneous. On the one hand, I do believe that planning equals freedom, as mentioned above. On the other hand, let’s not get so rigid that we lose the ability to be spontaneous. If you suddenly have the urge to go for a long walk, go to a movie, hook up with a friend at lunchtime, feed the hummingbirds … do so!
8. Breathe Deep and Unwind. At the end of your glorious day, take a minute or two or thirty to unwind. Curl up with a good book, take a hot bath, listen to music that soothes or stirs your soul. Do nothing. Take in a few deep, cleansing breaths, congratulate on a day well-lived and just plain relax.
What is the one most important thing that you do to help you stay balanced, enabling you to go with the flow? Weigh-in below!
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