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How to Make a Better You – Finding Balance

by Nina Sabin - Healthy Tip

Most of our lives feel unbalanced. Either work takes too much of our life, or family, friends, exercise, activities, church events, and even hobbies. Each one by themselves can be good, but trying to juggle them all can be frustrating. How can you devote enough time to yourself, work, family, friends, activities, etc. without feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and unbalanced?

Setting a schedule is a great start to getting your life balanced. First if you can, figure out what is the appropriate amount of time to devote to work. Many jobs have set times like 7am- 4pm or 9am – 5 pm. However, that usually doesn’t seem to be the case in many jobs. Often we stay later or go in earlier. The question is: does that have to be every day or can you adjust to doing that just once or twice a week?

Those of us who work from home, such as self-employed, or a stay-at-home parent, have a difficult time knowing when to stop working. Being organized and setting a schedule is significantly important in order to obtain that balanced life.

I know this is easier said than done. I have to admit I used to be the worst offender of not balancing my life. Part of the reason for my struggles with balance is because I am a perfectionist and wouldn’t stop working on something till I got it just right. No one is perfect. I had to learn that the important thing is to get things done, not necessarily to perfection. That does not mean I didn’t try my best. I just had to accept that things done is better than things done perfectly.

This also helped with my expectation of others. If my husband helped with the dishes or laundry, I had to learn that he did his best and to be happy the work was done, instead of having to performed to my standards. In other words, lowering my expectations really helped. My expectations often tended to be unrealistic and now they are becoming more realistic. I am not there yet, but I am getting better.

Here are suggested ways to set your schedule or another way to put it is establish healthy habits to obtain balance.

1) Work will often take up a lot of your time, but remember, often you can leave the office or project and pick up where you left off the next day. A clear head and not being frustrated is actually better for the work environment.

2) Set aside time for yourself. It is recommended daily to exercise about 20 minutes. This could include walking, going the gym, bike riding, swimming, etc.

3) Set aside time for your activities. If you are like me, you can spread yourself too thin. Pick an activity you really enjoy and set 30 minutes to an hour. If you have more than one that is fine, but be aware if it affecting other areas of your life.

4) Set aside time for family. Eating dinner together is an important family time. Breakfast and lunch are usually difficult to eat together due to schedules. However, dinner could be a priority for a family if you can make it work. During this family time, either eating dinner, or couch time, 20 – 30 minutes recommended, set boundaries, no phones or other technology at the table. Yes, that includes watching tv.

5) Manage your energy not your time. Listen to your body, don’t try to do things when you feel over-tired and done for the day. Schedule the more energy driven tasks when you have high energy.

6) Give yourself a break. Whenever, you feel over-whelmed and unbalanced, leave the situation and take a break. This could involve a walk, going to the park to feed the birds, talking with a friend, reading a book, etc. for at least 10 – 20 minutes. People are only productive about three hours in an eight-hour day. Good breaks reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function, and help us stay focused. But be aware too many break cannot be helpful.

7) The most important thing is knowing the order of your priorities. God first, then family, friends, work, self. It is opposite what the world teaches. The scriptures say - Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. God is the one who balances your life when you seek Him first.

Remember to Make a Better You find balance in your life by seeking God first, setting realistic goals for yourself, and giving yourself a break when you need one. Please share your thoughts on Health Chat with Nina.


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