Top 10 Ways to Balance Your Life

2013-07-23 14.35.43I was out for a walk by the lake this morning and noticed a fleet of boats from the nearby sailing school’s ‘Learn to Sail’ program.  I watched in fascination as the sailboats would tip to one side and, just when I thought they were going to overturn, the students would shift their body weight and bring the boats back in balance.

Life is like that, isn’t it? We’re sailing along happily and then, and out of nowhere, something happens and we’re thrown off balance. Maybe it’s an illness, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job – it could even be a positive change, like a new baby or a move to our dream house – but it can still throw our lives out of balance.

I don’t know that we can avoid these ‘gusts of wind’ entirely. But what we can do is be prepared to weather the storms by getting our lives back in balance – before it’s too late.

If the sailing students waited even a few more seconds before moving to get their sailboats level, they would be thrown into Lake Ontario. Of course, they would be wearing a personal floatation device so they’d be okay. If only we could wear a PFD to stop us from drowning when we feel overwhelmed by life’s demands.

Just like sailing, keeping our lives in balance requires learning some practical skills and strategies…

Top 10 Ways to Balance Your Life

  1. Become good at delegating – you don’t have to do it all. In fact, by sharing the workload, you are helping others develop skills and increase self-esteem.
  2. Avoid overscheduling yourself (and your children). Learn to say ‘no’ when there’s too much on your plate. If you have trouble with the word ‘no’, find another way to turn down the request, i.e. “Thank you but I think I’ll pass this time.”
  3. Avoid multitasking – give important tasks your undivided attention. Doing several things at once has been scientifically proven to impair memory, increase stress, and decrease productivity – leaving us feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.
  4. Take time for you – take regular breaks, both short and long. Take short breaks between tasks, even if it’s to get up and look out the window. Do at least one thing you find relaxing every day. Take holidays and long weekends.
  5. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people – choose good listeners with your best interests in mind and who make you feel good when you are around them.
  6. Book a date night with yourself and do what you want to do. Also schedule regular date nights with your significant other to keep the relationship fresh. Plan the dates in advance so you have something to look forward to.
  7. Avoid working late or bringing work home unless it’s the occasional urgent project. If you are tempted to stay late, schedule something after work that forces you (or gives you a good excuse) to leave on time (i.e. gym class, dinner date).
  8. Listen to your body. If you are tired, get some sleep. If you are hungry, have healthy snacks readily available until the next meal. If you are irritable, go for a walk and figure out what’s bothering you.
  9. Get outdoors – spend time in nature. Go to a park, a beach or the mountains. Turn your cell phone off, even for just few minutes, and enjoy the surroundings without distractions.
  10. Get physical. Exercise will reenergize you. Go to the gym, go for a bike ride or a run, or get involved in a sport. Find something you enjoy doing and see if you can find a friend to join you.

Try some of these suggestions and see how much better you’ll feel. Finding the right balance will help you feel more relaxed, fulfilled and in control of your life. What’s your favorite way to balance your life? Please share in the comments below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post has 4 comments

  • gayla says:

    I agree with all of these. I would boldly add one more–spend grateful time with your higher power.
    Thank you for all the great help you have given me through the various media means. Gayla

  • Marie says:

    I like this analogy with the sailing! Great food for thought.

    On a side note, when I took sailing lessons, we had to learn to capsize our sailboat. This made us know how far we could go so we could push the limit (live without the fear of the boat capsizing if we didn’t want it to), and also it made us learn how to get it back up if it was to capsize. Although I usually preferred to stay dry, it can actually be fun to capsize just for the fun of it, especially on very hot summer days.

  • Helen, thank you for all the practical tips, but keeping our lives in balance also require a certain amount of faith and knowledge of self.
    Sometimes in life, when faced with adversity and despair we need to draw hope and the will to survive, from that deep well of strength and confidence within us. Sometimes that little well of confidence within us helps life’s ups and downs more bearable.
    I remember singing the song “We shall overcome someday” in English in church on Sundays, back in India in the 70’s. Interestingly the same song was translated to Hindi to be sung for the Republic Day Parade for a newly established democracy with many socio-economic problems. Today my childhood country has come a long way while my life here in Canada continues even when the boat tips a bit against the strong wind. We shall overcome each day.

  • Karen M says:

    All these tips are great, and can also be used at the workplace. For me it’s at work where I’m feeling the unstable/rushed environment, only to come home and continue the same disruptive skills they think really work! I found this saying that I look at when I get overwhelmed, and it reminds me to slow down and do it right the first time, “why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but enough to do it twice?” thanks for your guidance.