What is a balanced life?
What is a balanced life?
A balanced life. Some will say achieving balance in your life is near to impossible. Others will say it is possible, but only if you strictly follow their how-ever-many-steps process. Then there is a third camp who will try to convince you that you need to scale down in order to have a semblance of balance. Me? I am here to tell you that you can have anything you want, and that includes balance.
I have heard other female entrepreneurs talk about balance as a unicorn – as in it doesn’t exist. And although I do tend to agree that finding a unicorn is impossible, I can tell you that achieving some form of balance is not that difficult. The difficulty comes in realising that balance is not a once-off achievement. You are not going to wake up one day and magically know exactly what you should do to be levelled and then that is that. Rather, balance is an ongoing process, one that can only truly be successful once you realise that life is fluid and therefore your approach to life should be fluid as well. Forever changing, forever adapting. That is how you achieve balance.
If you think of the word “balance” what is the first picture that comes to mind? I bet you that it is a seesaw! Or an old fashioned balance and scales. Point is, most probably you picture something that consists of 2 elements that are weighed in relation to each other. When I think of the word balance, referring specifically to life, then I picture an old fashioned merry-go-round consisting of 6 different sections that must be brought into balance before the merry-go-round will actually go round. If one of these sections is heavier than the rest, the merry-go-round will sag at that section and most probably won’t be able to work properly. That is life balance. When you have more than 2 things that you need to consider equally in order to ensure that one part of your life isn’t sagging.
Consider the above symbol, and then picture that each of these individual sections refer to a specific part of your life. I have identified 6 parts to my life – work, nature, relationships, spirit, body, and mind. If each of these sections or parts take up equal time in my life, then my merry-go-round will be in equilibrium right? Yeah kind of right, but not entirely. To bring these different aspects of your life into balance does not mean allocating equal time to each. It means assigning the right amount of responsibility to each aspect, and together with the time that you assign to each the different aspects will be in balance. So you might only exercise for 30 minutes of the day, but the personal responsibility is high so then exercise (body) carries the same weight as your work day that stretches over 6 or 8 hours. Does that make sense?
Once you start thinking of balance as an ongoing process that will change depending on the weight and time assigned to each different aspect of your life you will start to realise that, ultimately, balance means being able to live with peace and harmony. Every day. Regardless of external circumstances, internal needs or desires and other challenges. When you have synergy between your physical, emotional and spiritual being, then you can live a balanced life.
Obviously this permanent dance will be different for each person, and will also differ from day to day, time to time. In the end, you will know that you have been successful in creating a balanced life when you succeed in creating enough time for what you must do and enough time for what you want to do. When there is complete harmony between all of your responsibilities and enough time to focus on what you wish to focus on, that is balance.
As I fleetingly mentioned, the 6 aspects that I feel we should be focussing on in order to lead balanced lives are:
What we think, how we think, and when we think divines us more than the clothes we wear, even the people that we surround ourselves with. In any case these decisions will flow from our minds, which forms beliefs, habits, and ultimately lifestyle. To balance our minds, as part of a balanced life, we need to take into consideration our mental health, habits and routines, behaviour, memory, and our decisions.
Mother Earth is absolutely ingenious and gorgeous, and we were chosen to live here with her. That is the hidden truth - we were chosen to live with the planet, not on it or because of it. Synergy, balance and peace. To balance the relationship we have with nature, and ultimately to bring that balance into our everyday lives, we have to think about how we protect the earth, how we contribute to waste, as well as the natural alternatives that we can safely and effectively use as part of our lives.
Since work plays a major part of our lives, this should be one of the first places that you tackle in order to bring your life back in balance. Setting up healthy parameters, having the right goals, and choosing the right mentors are all steps in the right direction. As you can see on the diagram above, work should be equally important as the rest of the aspects, even if you spend most of your time there. I know, that is tricky! Things we will discuss as part of your work balance include your attitude and beliefs regarding money, how to set and achieve your goals, being an entrepreneur and overcoming those challenges, how to be productive and focus, and how to nurture your creativity.
How we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves. Self-love starts with other love, and usually ends with it as well. Most things in life goes full circle. If you have healthy and strong relationships with the most important people in your live you not only have a solid support network, but you also have a tribe of people who can gently and in love call you out when you are going of track. Much like a recovering addict has a sponsor your loved ones becomes your safety net, your defence system and your personal cheer-squad. These relationships cover friendships, partnerships, kids, colleagues, and yourself.
We are all spirits, living here in temporary bodies. Once you realise this is all fleeting, you should have an urge to know more than yourself. Bringing your spiritual life into balance takes more than simply discovering or deepening your faith. It covers being spiritual in any context, and ends in learning how to serve others. To help with this balance, I have added meditation to this aspect.
Lastly, our bodies. The temporary homes of our eternal spirits. Being kind and attentive to your body, the ultimate goal of a balanced life, means paying attention to what you eat, when you eat, how you move, the products you use, and how much you sleep. As I already mentioned, balance is a continuous thing - when external factors change, we need to adapt in order to keep our balance. In this case that can mean drinking more water when it is hot, moving less when you are in pain and sleeping more when you are anxious or overwhelmed.
Living a balanced life is not impossible, and also not that difficult if you stay true to yourself, and stay tuned into what you want and need. When you bring your life into balance you get to become an expert in you. You get to notice small signals that would previously have gone unnoticed, and you can make adjustments accordingly. Hard work, but so rewarding in the end!
Do you think it is possible?