The overriding challenge of achieving any kind of balance in your life starts with your ability to set and maintain reasonable boundaries, and not just in your work life.
The temptation, and the usual mistake, of giving too much to one aspect of your life can lead to spending too much time on that aspect and then attempting to overcorrect the mistake by using too much energy in another direction.1. Set Reasonable Goals
For example, if you want to balance your life away from working too much, the mistake would be to focus on another aspect of life with the same amount of time you took from work. Instead, experiment with the appropriate amount of time and energy you need to address your life needs, and allow yourself to make adjustments as needed.
Most importantly, grant yourself the permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Errors and shortcomings will occur, so embrace them and learn from them.2. Have A Support System
Support systems do not just include immediate family. Since you have the ability to create your own unique support system, the people and groups you choose to include can be made up of a variety of people.
Have a therapist? Excellent. Don’t forget to be involved in the community and create a support group from the people there. Attend a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious community staples? Get to know the people you see every week; they may be more than just people in a crowd. Have work friends? Try spending time with them outside of the office once in a while.3. Say No When You Need To
Sometimes, the best tool to achieving balance can be the ability to say “no.”
The use of the word “no” can be very diverse in terms of self-care and balance. For example, it may be hard to resist a night out with friends, but if you’re physically and mentally exhausted, it’s okay to say “no thanks” and stay home. Likewise, it’s okay to say “no” to extra work if you need time to recover.
The biggest hurdle in being able to say “no” can be traced to a fear of missing out. Not just missing out on a night with friends, but a fear of losing a work promotion for saying “no” to optional overtime. Or the fear of missing out on a life-changing opportunity because you need to stay home and keep an eye on a loved one. Saying “no” can be difficult, but it can also be the best way to achieve personal balance.
It’s especially important to say “no” when you need to rest.4. Just Rest
Take a sick day from work and just stay home and relax. Try to sleep for at least eight hours a night. If you exercise regularly, give yourself at least a day each week to rest. If you get sick, don’t try to power through the sickness. Need a day to do nothing? Take it, do nothing and enjoy every moment.
More than anything, the hardest part of finding personal balance will be the challenge of learning and adapting. Balance requires constant shifting and repositioning to maintain, so it’s important to work on balance while constantly making adjustments. Never settle into one position for too long. And don’t get frustrated; balance requires change!