If you want to achieve life balance on a daily basis, then the first step is to understand that balance isn’t something you achieve at all.
It’s something that you feel.
It’s a sense – a sense of balance – not an equation to solve or a schedule to fill or a challenge to go forth and slay.
Thinking of it as something to achieve puts you instantly on the back foot.
When we use the word achieve, our brain thinks balance is something we have to work at, because the word achieve is linked with ‘doing’ or work.
Straight away, you have a mindset that says balance is yet another thing to add to your to do list, and that’s likely to make you feel a little defensive about it because your list is already long. The last thing you need is something more to do.
This is why it feels too hard. Because it feels like more work. It feels too hard.
And it is how we feel about things that ultimately determines if we even attempt the thing, because our thoughts create our feelings and they drive our actions. If we think something’s too hard, if we feel it’s too hard, we don’t attempt it or we resist getting started.
The pursuit of balance shouldn’t be exhausting. It shouldn’t be something else you have to do.
Instead, let’s make it about how you feel.
Take the work out of ‘achieving’ balance
Taming and retraining your mindset away from one of busyness, to instead one where you tune into your inner wisdom and change your thoughts to ones that are more supportive of you and your life is where the key to balance lies.
If you know you can feel better – balanced – as quickly as you can think a new thought, it feels much more achievable. It is more achievable.
You can feel balanced in the middle of chaos. At the epicentre of a storm. In times of tumult.
In moments of fear, despair or sadness, you can practice balance.
Balance isn’t always about solving a problem, or always about changing your life in some major structural or significant way.
On a daily basis, it’s simply a shift in mindset, in thought, that then opens up space, options and yes, sometimes even time, for you.
So what does that even look like?
Change your thoughts and feel balanced
Stuck in a negative frame of mind? Pay attention to your thoughts and challenge them.
Ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ Often our thoughts are not true, just fear or assumptions, so check yourself that you aren’t making stuff up in your head and that creates a feeling that isn’t actually justified in that moment.
Does it really matter? Will it matter next week? Next year? In 10 years?
And what are the positives or the upside of whatever you are ruminating on?
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed about how much work you have to do?
Your thoughts might be racing around your head like: ‘I have so much to do’, ‘I’ll be here all night’, ‘I’ll never get through all this’, ‘I don’t have time for lunch’ and so on.
So you feel uptight, stressed, anxious and maybe even pissed off. You carry that mood with you throughout the day, and probably home later.
You assume that in order to feel balanced, you need a holiday, a new job, a new life. Instead you pour a glass of wine and shout at the kids to be quiet.
Instead, when those thoughts during the day are running wild, try: ‘I’ll just focus on this one thing first’, ‘The work always gets done eventually’, ‘Is this true? Do I actually need to get all this done today?’, ‘I can only do what I can do, and that’s OK’.
These type of thoughts calm your mind and your feelings. You feel more steady, more centred, more balanced.
Feeling exhausted from looking after the kids?
Your thoughts might sound something like: ‘I’m so exhausted, this is never-ending’, ‘This is so hard, I can’t keep doing this’, ‘I never get a break’, ‘My life is ruined’ (hehe, threw that one in for my benefit). When this is your internal chatter, your feelings of exhaustion, resentment and lack of patience escalate.
Try these thoughts instead: ‘I’m going to bed early tonight’, ‘These days will be over before I know it and I will miss them’, ‘I don’t need to cater to their every whim, just the important ones’, ‘How amazing it is that I gave life to these beings’.
Then your mind starts looking for positives, and it and your body calms down. You feel better, more balanced.
This kind of daily devotion to check your thoughts I think is far more realistic and profound than trying to squeeze something else into your schedule, but you might find yourself making more time for you because you’re in a better frame of mind.