I think that balance is something we all aspire to have. But for many of us it can feel so out of reach. Time races by and we find ourselves asking, “Where has the day gone?”
If you can’t remember that last time you felt truly grounded and peaceful, then this blog post is absolutely for you. We all need to catch our breath sometimes, look around us and remember to live, not to just survive.
Living a happy life is about enjoying each day. Even just those brief little moments that make you smile. They all add up and are so worth being present for. So here are some practical tips to bring balance back into your life.
Past, Present and Future
Psychologists tell us that most people spend the vast majority of their waking time either re-living the past or anticipating the future. Very few of us enjoy the present moment fully.
Being present and mindful is a skill; it doesn’t come very naturally to us, trust me, I know. But I do think it is worth trying to be present when we can. Especially when we are stressed; stopping and smelling the roses for just a few minutes can really refocus and calm us. When we are not present and are rushing around, we miss so much of the world!
You can’t take anything from this world with you at the end of your life. What we have here on earth is to be enjoyed in the present.
Do you have children or any pets? Children and animals are great mindfulness practitioners. Have you ever noticed how kids get completely lost in the present moment when they are playing? Or how about the way a cat or dog just stops and notices things around them?
It looks so peaceful – so have you tried it yourself? It might sound a bit unlikely in our mile-a-minute society, but if you try it I promise it will not disappoint.
Work and Play
I know people who never give themselves a whole day off. This is often because they feel guilty when they stop, and sometimes because they don’t even know how to stop.
A well-balanced life calls for a bit of give and take. When you’ve been giving a lot of yourself to your job or other commitments, it is completely fine to take back some time for yourself and just rest.
And how about play time? Yes, I’m serious. Grown ups are allowed to have fun too! See if you can remember the last time you rode a bike or threw a ball… If you can’t remember then it’s time to book some playtime into your diary.
Fun is a huge stress reliever and so undervalued in our society. It sometimes seems like the world is telling us to work until we can work no more, and then go into therapy to undo the damage! Hmm… How about we just look after ourselves a little better now? Let’s pre-empt the burn out before it happens.
Famine or Feast
Do you enjoy food? Maybe you rush through meal times, or maybe you feel guilty for breaking your diet. Let me suggest a little balance in this area too. Family dinnertime is so much more than refueling our bodies. It’s about connecting with our loved ones in a shared experience.
When you have been busy all day, you can put that phone down for 30 minutes and be present with your family. And please don’t beat yourself up for eating something ‘bad for you’.
Moderation means having a bit of both, and enjoying it too. And as Garfield once pointed out; diet has the word ‘die’ in it. A balanced approach to food is more sustainable long-term than a harsh, restrictive diet.
More often than not, your body tells you what it needs. We just need to learn to listen. When our lives are in balance and we are more present, then listening becomes so much easier.
I think that achieving a sense of balance comes down to the old analogy of the oxygen mask in the plane.
You know when you are taking a flight, and the safety announcement tells you that in the event of an emergency you must fasten your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others?
This is a well-used comparison to life in general because it is so relatable. If you don’t look after yourself, then you can’t take care of your loved ones, or your job for that matter. Finding balance is really the key here.
Why not come over to my Facebook page for more tips and little reminders. I would love to see you there!