The 360-Degree Guide to Finding Balance in Life
More and more, society is getting busier. People end up juggling multiple responsibilities and constantly either feel like they’re dropping the ball, never enough or just completely defeated and burnt out. In fact, 76 percent of U.S. employees are currently experiencing burnout.
Here’s how you can start improving your quality of balance in life and start feeling better.
Take Regular Inventory of Your Emotions
It’s such a basic step, but with the busyness of our lives, it is often overlooked. Understanding one’s emotions and being able to effectively manage our emotions are essential skills for maintaining mental health. Without proper awareness and attention, mismanaged and unregulated emotions can completely throw off your balance in life.
Emotions shouldn’t be ignored — especially when they’re negative. Your mental health demands and deserves attention. When pushed aside, numerous problems can pop up that affect every aspect of your health.
Studies show that stress can be linked to health problems such as higher blood pressure, respiratory resistance in people with asthma and even have the power to affect negatively and ultimately impair a person’s memory or learning ability.
Science is studying mindfulness in more depth as a tool to manage emotions, admitting just how important the emotional and psychological component is to daily and long-term physical health.
When you take time out of your day to explore your emotions, whether it’s through mindfulness practices, meditation, gratitude journals, speaking with a therapist or friend — your mental health is getting the attention it needs. Doing this can help you process the stressors in your life in a healthy way that promotes overall wellness and balance in life.
Get Enough Sleep
Good sleep hygiene is a struggle many deal with. But when 35.2 percent of all American adults claim they get less than seven hours of sleep a night, it’s no wonder people are struggling to find balance in life. In fact, half of all Americans say they are sleepy during the day three to seven days a week.
Sleep issues not only pose health risks, but they also disrupt our lives on a daily level which impairs our success at work and in our interpersonal relationships.
According to Workplace Psychology, a study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 65 percent of Americans experienced sleep problems:
40 percent of those surveyed were impatient with others at work.
27 percent of sleep-deprived people frequently found it hard to concentrate.
20 percent had lower productivity than they expected.
29 percent have fallen asleep or became very sleepy while they were at work due to sleep problems.
12 percent were late to work in the past month due to sleepiness or a sleep problem.
Focus on Self Care
Self-care can be a trendy buzzword, but it really is an essential factor to consider when looking to achieve balance in life and improve overall wellness. According to the World Health Organization, the definition of self-care is, “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
Self-care is everything from good hygiene and sleep habits to taking time to do things that help you relax and find enjoyment, like reading a book, going through a meditation practice or participating in a soul-nourishing hobby.
Several studies have been done on the correlation between self-care and its positive effects on depression and chronic illness, type II diabetes, heart failure and more. When people take care of their most basic needs, their mental health drastically improves, and they enjoy other health benefits. When we make the effort to cultivate balance in life, our overall quality of life also improves.
Some basic self-care ideas to get you started:
Practice good sleep hygiene
Exercise regularly, at least 150 minutes per week
Eat a healthy diet of nutritious whole foods
Spend quality time with people you care about and less time with toxic people
Find hobbies you enjoy
Practice meditation and breathing exercises
Find and talk to a good therapist
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
It may seem like a simple suggestion, but healthy eating and exercise really do wonders when improving mental health and helping people feel more balanced in life.
Studies have even shown that exercise can improve balance in life and work by helping lower stress levels and improve people’s self-efficacy, which an article in the Harvard Business Review defined as “the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done — and although self-efficacy is a matter of self-perception, it has a real impact on reality.”
Improving one’s self-efficacy is an improvement in mental health.
When it comes to diet, several studies have explored the link between inflammation and poor mental health. Cleaning up one’s diet and eating more whole foods and even the Mediterranean diet, which is inherently anti-inflammatory, can improve one’s overall wellness, both physically and mentally.
To put it simply: when people feel better, they function better. Suddenly things that feel overwhelming become less troublesome and more manageable, and finding balance in life becomes more tangible
Know When to Disconnect
As technology continues to infiltrate society, it becomes more commonplace to be attached to modern devices. According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of adults and 81 percent of teens in the U.S. use social media.
However, excessive social media usage can pose several risks. According to an article on McLeanHospital.org, "a 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance… Researchers know the connection between the mind and the gut can turn anxiety and depression into nausea, headaches, muscle tension, and tremors.”
When looking to achieve balance in life, it’s important to give yourself healthy boundaries. Set times where you are completely unplugged from your devices. Eat meals and go to sleep with your phone in a separate room so you can be more present in the here and now.
When you take a break from your phone or computer, you’re vastly improving your overall health.
Allow Yourself to Seek Help When Needed
Achieving balance in life can feel impossible. There are so many responsibilities and desires between work, family and personal wants. It can be overwhelming. Throw in common mental health issues that affect people today, such as anxiety and depression, it can all feel too challenging to handle on your own.
Sometimes achieving true balance in life is more complicated than just getting enough sleep and eating your veggies. Sometimes it takes a whole lot more, and it’s okay to seek out professional help to get you back on track and care for your mental health.
We offer a variety of services including:
Marriage and family counseling
Strategies for managing stress
Cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
You don’t have to constantly feel like you’re at risk of burnout or that you have to sacrifice any piece of yourself every day. Let us help you find balance in life together.
For more information on how our Pennsylvania-based team can serve your needs, contact us today.