By guest author Madison Sonnier
Achieving balance and simplicity is much easier said than done for most people. We forget to remind ourselves to step back, breathe, and appreciate the simple things when we’re constantly on auto-pilot, working ourselves to the bone, and falling victim to overwhelming stress and pressure.
For me, achieving balance and simplicity is all about making it a habit to do so. It is habitual for me to consider play to be just as necessary as work, make time for the things that matter most in my life, and cut myself some slack when I recognize that I’m putting too much pressure on myself.
I can easily turn into a reactive and overwhelmed basketcase if I get too anxious, emotional, or stressed out. My mental health and overall well-being is important to me – and making balance a priority in my life typically leads to that good mental health and overall well-being.
Asking yourself the following questions will help you get clear on your priorities, be honest with yourself, and hopefully, make steps towards a more balanced and simple life.
- Am I taking care of myself? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves. It can be so easy to leave ourselves behind.
Identify any areas of your life where you may be neglecting your health or happiness. What steps can you take to make self-care more of a priority?
- Do I have too much clutter? Drowning ourselves in too many material possessions can ultimately lead to stress. Get clear on what you absolutely need and what you can get rid of.
- Do I take time out of my day purely for myself? We all need a little “me time.” Set aside some time every day to just relax and do something that you enjoy, whether that is reading, meditating, watching TV, cooking, spending quality time with your loved ones, etc.
- Am I eating healthy? The types of foods we eat can greatly affect how we feel both physically and emotionally.
Eating too much junk food can lead to crankiness and a relatively low energy level, whereas eating healthy foods can lead to better moods and a more positive energy level. Take a look at your own eating habits and see if there is a certain one that you can improve or eliminate altogether.
- What are my core values? What is important to you as an individual? Is it family, health, spirituality, work, etc.?
Make sure that you are living in alignment with what matters most to you.
- Am I maintaining healthy relationships? Is there a relationship in your life that needs a little extra care and attention? Do you need to right a wrong with someone?
Try to stay aware of how you’re treating the people in your life.
- Am I working too hard? Taking time to re-charge and spend time on activities that make you happy is so important. Honor your desire to pull back from work or school pressure when needed and give yourself time to breathe, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time.
- Am I playing too hard? A lack of motivation to accomplish certain things can throw you off balance or make you feel stressed out and pressured later on. Taking breaks is very necessary, but if you take so many breaks that your productivity level drops, or you get into the habit of procrastinating too much, it might be time to balance out your schedule so that you will get a generous amount of things done and still have time for breaks and leisure.
- Am I spending too much? Overspending can lead to stress, clutter, and financial complications. It can also turn into a nasty habit over time.
Distinguish your wants from your needs and try to maintain a healthy balance between the two. Saving money is an excellent practice and you will more than likely be glad you did in case of an emergency.
- Am I worrying about the future? Worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet causes stress and anxiety. Focus on the moment in front of you and realize that it is all that exists.
- Am I dwelling on the past? It is very tempting and almost involuntary to look back on the past and obsess over something we regret or something we miss. Learn to let go and only focus on what’s happening right now, and on the choices you will make today.
- Is there something I am clinging to? We don’t always realize when we’re clinging to something harmful when it feels safe and familiar, whether it is an unfulfilling job, an unhealthy relationship, or a stagnant way of life. Recognize if you are clinging to something that isn’t serving you and work on taking small steps towards change and release.
Madison Sonnier has written for several online publications, including Tiny Buddha and Mind Body Green. She loves to express herself and you can read her personal life ramblings at Journey of a Soul Searcher.