You know what they say about all work and no play. Even the most dynamic type As can feel like life is passing them by when work and problems take completely over. Realistically, finding true balance is impossible. We spend 8 hours a day working. Matching that with 8 hours of fun, or so-called “me-time” would leave us with just enough time to sleep. And what about children, meals and chores? So how on earth can we even attempt to find harmony?
The foundation to happiness is loving yourself, flaws and all. Of course, you can always strive to be better, but don’t focus solely on what you need to improve. Acknowledge that you are a human being who deserves to be happy. This can sometimes be hard, and it’s harder still to channel this self-love into actions. Always remember to be kind to yourself and treat yourself right. Take care of your health, without obsessing about it. Give yourself permission to be still, sometimes. Recognize when you are exhausted and allow for some rest. Don’t let guilt consume you. The world will keep spinning even if you stop and just breathe for a moment. Carve out the time for the things you love, the things that make you feel good about yourself and about life. You are your own responsibility. No one else can give you the gift of a fulfilled and content life.
What you cannot have in terms of sheer hours, you can more than make up for with passion. You might never have 8 hours of free time per day. But even if you only manage to pinch an hour or two here and there, you can make it count. When life gets in the way, make sure that even the short, rare moments you have for yourself are worth it. Get out of the passive observer role. Plan your free time so that when it finally comes, you don’t spend it miserable, abusing the infinite scroll on your social media. Find a hobby you love, binge that show that’s been on your watch list forever, have a dance party, even if it’s all by yourself, in your living room. Take charge of the way you spend your leisure time, instead of just letting it slip by unnoticed.
Mindfulness and meditation are perhaps the most valuable tools when it comes to achieving a balance in life. Because our brains are always running commentary on everything that surrounds us, very often our experiences are limited, or painted in a negative light. This can prevent us from enjoying the moment. It can be difficult to escape tension and negative feelings. If, for instance, you are worried or stressed out, you probably won’t be able to enjoy even those moments when you aren’t dealing directly with the source of your stress. Mindfulness brings a heightened awareness of the moment, free of judgment, devoid of fear and negativity. It can help us reconnect with ourselves and find inner peace. By slowing down our pace through mindfulness, we can find again the often lost sense of gratitude for our lives.
By the time you reach adulthood, it becomes clear that life will often throw things at you that you never wanted or planned for. Sometimes, these obstacles in the road might even be of your own making. If you take a long, hard look at your life, you will probably find that at least some of the burden you carry comes from non-acceptance. While taking responsibility for the things that you can influence is an important step on the road to bliss, it’s equally important to remember that some things are out of your grasp. We try to control and micromanage every aspect of our existence so much, that we end up buried under an avalanche of work, chores, to-do lists, social obligations, and who knows what else. Don’t take it upon yourself to control things that are out of your hands. Don’t own other people’s drama. Acceptance is not resignation. Fight where you can, and should. Just remember to acknowledge reality and relinquish control over things which, frankly, aren’t yours to control in the first place.
Obsessing about balancing your life just turns it into another task, another thing to do when you already have so much on your plate. Instead, try to go back to the lost art of living with a full heart and an open mind.