Many of us are struggling with routines, stress, anxiety, and burn out. We fail to find balance since we are constantly juggling many things that are important and have priority. But doesn’t our well-being deserve to be in our top list of priorities as well? Why is it that everyone and everything else comes before us? I know I am definitely not the only who has felt this way; you have felt it too. Maybe you are dealing with such high level of stress that you can barely sleep. Maybe you are so anxious that you end up the workday snacking and eating a lot of things that you know are not healthy or good for you, but the anxiety wins over the fight. Perhaps your daily routines of taking the kids to school, run errands all day, pick up the kids, take them to their extracurricular activities, plus cooking, homework, the dishes…. Augh! It is overwhelming to even detail the endless list of things to do. Let alone have that endless list plus a challenging job. Yes! It is exhausting and hard to find balance. But balance is crucial for us.
As important as it is, it is difficult to accomplish. The best way to find balance in our lives is to start building the habit of prioritizing ourselves. What things we should do in order to have a balanced life? I personally found balance by adding to my daily routine the things that are important to me and that bring good health to my life. Things such as exercising, cooking healthy meals, reading, and meditating. Every new beginning is hard! But the way to go is to start little by little; with small changes. I started exercising by walking 3 days every week. There were weeks I only walked 1 day, but there were others in which I was more consistent and accomplished my 3 days goal or even more. Eventually my body started to ask for that walk, and it became a habit that I enjoy. While I walk, I talk to friends or family, or I listen to motivational videos, Podcasts, TED videos, or just listen to the music I like. It is my fun time! It is my “ME” time! It is only a 30 minutes’ walk… better than nothing right! Now I am at a different level in which I get to exercise more intensely at least 5 days a week, but it all started with baby steps.
Adding habits in your daily routine that are good for your health (physical and mental), is important. Why is it that we can plan and be there for everyone else, but we can’t take time for ourselves? Why is it that when we think about taking time for ourselves, we visualize it as sitting on the couch watching TV and eating chips or ice cream? Life is simply passing us by, and we are not living. We love our family, our children, but we also need to love ourselves enough to take some time for ourselves; and not just watching TV. When I stared the habit of reading, I never thought I was going to be able to finish one chapter. I hated reading! But I made the decision that I wanted to work on myself and for me to do so I needed to read and learn. It was hard! I used to read 1 page and fall asleep halfway, or I had to re-read the whole thing because I was not retaining anything (ADD anyone?!). But again, little by little, I started improving. Little by little I became hungry for more knowledge and for more information. My goal was my self-improvement and I started to notice the change from within. Now I love to read, and I look forward to doing so. You don’t have to read if you don’t like to, but I do believe that it is important to learn whichever way works best for you, whether it is with audio books or with TED videos or listening to a mentor. Learning and self-improvement bring balance in life.
Another thing I believe brings balance in life is being actively grateful. I used to think that I was grateful until I started to do a daily exercise in which I had to list 3 things I was grateful for THAT day, but the trick was that I couldn’t repeat anything from previous days. The first week was easy, then it became challenging because I had to pay attention to the blessings as the day went by and that helped me realize the many things and blessings I had daily that I never paid attention to. But even though there were days that were challenging, I knew there were always 3 things I could be grateful for in spite of the challenges. This exercise is only mental, it doesn’t disturb you from your daily routine or responsibilities, but it keeps you constantly searching for blessings, and you’ll have less time to worry about the bad things and the negativity that a day could bring; and even when you have one those days, you are still finding blessings; because it transforms into a new perspective rather than just letting the days pass you by or allowing a bad day take over.
One last thing I can recommend in this process of finding balance is to meditate and pray. You don’t need much time for this, just 5 minutes! Clear your mind from any noise! Sit quietly with yourself; alone. Just 5 minutes. It recharges you. It enables you to start and end your days clean and refreshed. Like taking a shower but it’s an internal shower to rid your mind from worries. Connect with God, connect your soul with the highest energy and you will recharge. It gives an extreme amount of peace that you will eventually look forward to that moment in the day and those 5 minutes won’t be enough, you’ll want more time to meditate, and the best thing is that you will find the time because it flows. Like with the other habits, the beginning is hard… those 5 minutes feel eternal, and it seems as if you cannot quiet your mind, but trust me, you will eventually get the hold of it. Whether it is meditation or praying, this kind of balance is key to start and end the day, it is best to take those 5 minutes twice a day, 5 minutes in the morning, before the crazy routine starts, and 5 minutes at night, right before going to bed. Connecting spiritually is very empowering and brings extreme balance in your life.
Creating healthy routines that don’t take much of your time is very important because it balances your stress and anxiety. Balancing your life is crucial. Sometimes it is important to disconnect from the things that you know are not good for you, not because you don’t care but because you love yourself enough to let yourself breathe. Balance is your way to breathe and relax even during difficult days and eventually the difficulties won’t seem as big or as complicated as they used to.