You don’t have to look very far or dig too deeply to find information about LIVING A BALANCED LIFE. Call it the new buzz phrase or maybe it’s just a sign of the times when we recognize that we need to take a step back, reevaluate and simplify. We’re in an age of instant access to information, the global village and constant communication. We tweet, post, text, email and search. We don’t exercise enough, we don’t put enough care and attention into what we are putting in and doing with our bodies or where our attention is going. We’re so focused on more, faster, bigger that we’re over-stressing our brains, bodies and relationships.
There was a time when we worked hard but at the end of the day we entertained ourselves with stories told around the dinner table where we actually sat and spent time talking to the ones we love. A time when we gathered to listened to the shows on the radio, kids went outside to play, we saved up to buy special things and the foods we ate were predominantly home grown. There were less pesticides, additives, & preservatives. We accomplished less but didn’t need to accomplish more. Somehow all the important things in life got done. The dishes were cleaned, clothes put on the line, food was cooked, and bills were paid. It was a time when family came first and we looked out for our neighbours. The goals and life objectives were more easily defined.
In an attempt to make our lives better I think we’ve overshot the mark. Yes, we really do have some amazing life benefits thanks to technology. I love being able to “Google” every time I need information or plan a vacation. I love being able to send an instant note or share photos with a loved one in another city or country. And let us not forget about online banking and shopping which just make my life easier, especially in the middle of winter. I’m not suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bath water. I’m the first one to admit that I probably would not have faired well in the horse and buggy, churn your own butter time in history, but I also know from experience that doing too much, expecting too much from ourselves and others and pushing our minds and bodies too far has detrimental affects on our lives. So what’s the answer? Finding a happy medium, creating a balance in your life.
There are many different ‘Balanced Life’ models. Do a search on Google or Amazon and you’ll have access to a ton of information and tips on the importance of, and ways to create that balance. The model I like and one that I’ve referred to time and again in my teaching career is the
Balanced Life Concept of Career Counselling.
In this model there are three parts of life:Self, Relationships & Education/Life Work. In order for our lives to be in balance we need to give equal attention and energy to each one. Easier said than done, I know. But, too much time and attention spent in one area of your life WILL have an effect on the other two.
There are obviously times when we must spend more time and attention in one area of our lives, during a loved ones illness for example, or working hard on a project for your employer. The trick is to ensure that over the course of your days the pendulum swings back so that the other areas of your life are nurtured. Taking time for yourself, making time for your family & friends, and giving work what it is due & nothing more, is an ongoing process, one that takes work but one in which the payoff is a happier, healthier you, which will mean a happier and more productive work place and stronger and more fulfilling relationships. Are you beginning to get the picture?
Today, I urge you to take that first step and take stock of your life. Where is your time going? Where are you spending your energy? What are you doing to your body and what do you do for your body. Is your life mostly in balance or is the pendulum swinging far too much and too often in one direction.
Creating the balance begins with deciding who you are and what you want for your life. What are your beliefs, interests, aptitudes and dreams? Each of the three areas of your life, and the way in which you choose to approach them, are affected and influenced by your values and your attitudes. As I’ve told my students, everyone has attitude all the time, it’s working for you or against you and the choice really is up to you.
A great place to start is by downloading the Balanced Life Concept of Career Counselling PDF below which will give you the complete visual with explanatory notes, and then reading my article “Stress and The Balanced Life Concept” in which I explain the concept in more detail and outline how an imbalance in my own life lead to increased stress and ultimately illness. I’ll walk you through the steps of analyzing your life and putting what you learn about yourself into action to begin the process of living a simpler and more balanced life.