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Summer is here, people! It’s 100 degrees in Albuquerque today! I thought I left those temperatures in Phoenix last year. I don’t know about you but does time speed up in the summer time? Even though the sun rises earlier and stays up longer it feels like the days go by faster. Maybe it’s because we try to pack so much into them.
Are your summer days busier than your school year days? I no longer have any kids in school so I’m not really bound by that calendar. I remember when my kids were in school and how crazy all the activities and homework and due dates and special events made our lives. It is much calmer now but life is still very busy or it can be.
I believe our lives are as busy as we allow them to be. When our kids were in school we purposely did not enroll them in every possible sport or extra-curricular activity. I know some people will disagree with me on this but we felt it was important to create a balance in our lives – ours and our children’s. They were involved in things but not everything. I think it makes a difference.
If we are so busy running from place to place and even tag-teaming events because two kids have different events at the same time, we can miss so much. As Ferris Bueller famously said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
Balance has long been one of my most favorite words. As an introvert, my comfort zone is found inside my house either alone or with my family. I have to choose to go out or to reach out to invite someone in. But I feel strongly that it is important to make that choice. I’ve also been accused of moving too slowly however, again, I believe in moving slowly at times. There are many experiences in life that should not be rushed. Although it goes against the stream of our fast-paced society, it makes the view so much more meaningful.
When we are traveling at the speed of life, just letting all the events and opportunities take us for a ride, we can get lost in the hustle and bustle. Pretty soon, just keeping up with the schedule takes priority over the people or the learning experience. After a while, we start to resent the schedule and the busyness that is taking away our quality of life. That’s why it is important to make balance a priority.
5 Keys to Living a Balanced Life
1. Physical Health
Taking care of yourself physically is vitally important to this process. If you are not healthy, you are not able to care for anyone else, like your family much less yourself. Eating a balanced diet with proper nutrients to fuel your life will give you the energy you need to keep moving forward. Regular exercise is important to maintain your vitality and strength. Movement of any kind is better than none at all.
2. Mental & Spiritual Health
Our society emphasizes physical health (nutrition & exercise) over mental health. However, being healthy mentally is part of what helps us want to exercise. Then physical exercise can aid our mental health. It’s a beautiful cycle as opposed to the many vicious ones we deal with in life.
Finding time for contemplation is often challenging. We have to be intentional to carve out time for thinking, planning, and dreaming. Getting out in nature is a great way to rejuvenate your mental health. I love to be outside taking a walk or hike or golf game, enjoying the trees, birds, and water. I have a deep appreciation for God’s creation and His handiwork. If you’re working on Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude, experiencing nature is a great way to do that. As you spend time outside be aware of your surroundings. Take in the sights and sounds, even the feel of the breeze on your skin.
Whether you are single without kids, single with kids, married with kids or married without kids, you are part of a family. You may have an immediate family you share a home with or you may be on your own. Whatever your situation may be, the family is important. We find ourselves at different stages through each phase of life, but our family is usually a stabilizing factor and a very important part of our life. Balancing our work and family lives has long been a challenge. Some people really struggle with making time for their family when the demands of their job are very high. I don’t mean to sound simplistic but jobs can come and go. Family is forever.
Another thing that is very important is to make sure that when you are at home with your family, that you are truly there, meaning you are not just physically present but mentally as well. My husband Darrell and I wrote an article for our marriage website, XtraO Marriage, that talks about this subject. It’s called Be Where Your Feet Are. Click on the link to check it out.
Most of us have to work in order to live. Perhaps you are retired and reaping the benefits of many years of hard work. I am very fortunate in that my husband provides for our family and enables me to stay home and do my work from there. He works very hard, sometimes long hours, but he is diligent in making time for family. Sometimes he is so tired he can barely keep his eyes open but he has made a decision to make us a priority. I admire him for that and so appreciate it!
Take a moment to evaluate your work life. Are you a workaholic? It seems that is one of the acceptable types of overindulgence in our society. Do you use your job as an escape from your family life? If so, I would encourage you to examine that more closely and take steps toward fixing your family life. Are you working on the priority items that will move you forward in your business or do you find yourself wasting time on busy work? Sometimes we don’t have control over what we are working on or even how it is done, but in the things you do have control over, make good decisions that will enable you to have a more balanced work life.
Having a network of friends is an important part of life. Many times we find ourselves too busy to encourage this, however, it is all about priorities. Being “too busy” is just an excuse, in my opinion. We throw those words around for many reasons but the bottom line is that everything we do is first a decision. We decide what we are “busy” with. If we are trying to have a balanced life, we will make decisions that reflect that.
Making time to develop friendships is important for our mental health and well being. Studies show that people who have a network of friends to engage with live longer, happier lives. It is not always easy to make friends but it is valuable.
Balancing all the areas of life can be very challenging so it is important to make a commitment to doing it. Write something down to remind yourself about it. Put the word BALANCE on your bathroom mirror to remind you. Make a decision today that you will work on having a more balanced life.