When was the last time you felt truly at ease in your life? 

If your answer is “I can’t remember”, then you’re likely prioritising certain areas of your life over others. 

And that’s okay. We all have to juggle competing priorities and navigate difficult and stressful situations in life. But when your life remains unbalanced for too long, it catches up with you and often leads to prolonged periods of stress, depression, or burnout.

In order to feel fulfilled and happy, people need to lead a well-rounded existence. But, what exactly does having “balance” even mean? And how can you achieve it for yourself? 

What does having balance in life mean? 

While it might feel like it’s almost impossible to achieve, having balance in life means not spending too much of your time and energy focused on one thing. It also means making balanced decisions with your head and your heart, taking the time to acknowledge and honour your feelings. 

For instance, workaholics are renowned for having troubled personal lives, because they spend all their energy on their careers and have nothing left to offer the people they’re closest to. They might be operating solely in their heads and ignoring their true feelings – after all, they don’t have time for them! 

Living a balanced life will look different for everyone. We all have different wants and needs. Some of us thrive off feeling busy and others are completely overwhelmed by long to-do lists. 

Neither of these types of people are “better” or “worse” than the other. Living a balanced life is all about acknowledging what your personal strengths are and knowing how to live your life according to your unique strengths. 

A balanced lifestyle is also a precautionary measure. Many of us wait until we’re overwhelmed or miserable before we realise we need to make a change. A balanced lifestyle can help manage stress and sadness so we’re less likely to experience negative health consequences, both mentally and physically. 

It’s worth mentioning that you may have a perfect (theoretical) balance, but if you’re not present and actively involved in the moments you’ve planned, you’re not going to reap the benefits. 

For instance, let’s say you’ve decided to drive to the beach at the weekend. You make the two-hour journey and park the car, but you don’t get out to walk along the sand and experience the fresh air and laid-back lifestyle of the locals. Instead, you observe from afar and then drive home again.  

This is an example of being caught in the intellectual act of doing, and not experiencing the feeling of being part of an environment. 

Oftentimes coming to these realisations and making these changes on our own is difficult. Joining a workshop, having a group connection and taking time for deep reflection, helps my clients find the clarity and motivation they need to make big lifestyle changes and mental shifts. 

The components of a balanced lifestyle

Everyone has a different answer when it comes to the number of components or ‘pillars’ that contribute to a balanced life. But it really comes down to these four areas. 

  1. Your emotional wellness 
  2. Your physical health 
  3. Your social life
  4. Your work life 

The benefits of achieving balance in life 

1. Stress

We all feel stressed every now and then but intense and prolonged stress isn’t only detrimental to your mental health, it’s detrimental to your physical health as well. 

Stress can manifest in a myriad of different ways. You could become more anxious, angry, or restless. You might start eating more or less. You could have trouble sleeping or feel more fatigued than usual.

You may also feel stressed when you’re not acknowledging your feelings and using your head to make all the decisions. It’s easy to dismiss how we really feel and convince ourselves we should be doing something when in reality it doesn’t sit well with us. 

You might be able to ignore your feelings, but they’ll usually come out in other physical ways. Taking the time to not only have a balanced lifestyle but acknowledge our thoughts and feelings is the only way forward.

2. General health

When you lead a balanced life, you have more time to stop and take note of what your body and mind need. This means spending time on activities that aren’t necessarily ‘productive’ but contribute to your overall health and well-being. This could be fitness, meditation, improving your diet, or making sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. 

3. Mood

When our lives are balanced, we tend to feel happier in our day-to-day lives. This doesn’t mean you never feel negative feelings,  but we’re generally better at handling them and they don’t hang around for as long. 

We need balanced, full lives in order to feel our happiest. Without it, we can become bored, get into the habit of comparing ourselves to others and find ourselves feeling stuck or unfulfilled. 

4. You’ll have more energy 

Do you ever wake up feeling tired? When we’re tired and overworked, we often let good habits slip. For example, takeaway meals become more appealing and instead of getting outside on the weekends, we’re more likely to become really good friends with our Netflix accounts. 

In doses, none of those things is bad, but when we’re perpetually tired we’re not putting in the effort to be our best selves and enjoy our lives. Sleep and diet in particular have a huge impact on how we feel in our minds and body. 

How to achieve a healthy lifestyle balance 

1. Fill your own cup first 

If you’re used to putting others’ needs before your own, hearing that you need to put yourself first may bring up feelings of guilt. But here’s the thing…

You can’t pour from an empty cup. 

It’s not selfish to meet your own needs. In fact, it makes perfect sense. If you’re going to be a good employee, friend, partner, and parent, then you need to be rested, happy, and capable of showing up and being present. 

That means scheduling time for self-care, downtime and doing what brings you joy. 

2. Pay attention to how your body feels

Strict diets and exercise routines can often have adverse effects and create more stress and overwhelm in our daily lives. I don’t want you to beat yourself up when you don’t eat something green or if you skip a day at the gym. 

Paying attention to your body means acknowledging how you feel, what you feel up to, and letting yourself have some choice. Incorporating movement and being more conscious of what we put into our bodies is a great place to start. 

3. Prioritise the important stuff (and learn to say no)

The days aren’t going to get longer to accommodate you fitting in more things – which means you’re going to have to prioritise doing the important stuff. Otherwise, they’ll never happen. 

This means learning to say no more often. Whether that’s saying no to a night out with friends, saying no to taking on more work or creating boundaries with emotionally demanding people. 

Need a hand rediscovering yourself so you can become the calm and confident master of your life? Check out our upcoming workshop series!