Today I was reminded (again) that my life lacks balance.
Not sure if that’s surprising coming from a therapist that helps people with this exact issue daily, or if it’s expected because, hey, I’m human too.
It’s something that I long for and strive for on a daily basis. My eye opening moment today came from a reflection exercise I was completing for my business coach. She asked that I spend some time writing down what my ideal day would be like. This isn’t my first time doing this activity; in fact, I’ve done this twice before over the past two years. As I finished and compared my description to the previous versions, I realized they contained the same theme: balance.
I want balance between my work life and my personal life.
I want balance in each day, so that I have a range of challenging and relaxing activities.
I want balance in commitments so that I’m not consumed with all chores/work and no play time.
I want balance in my life!
To be honest, I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I know most of us struggle with this area.
Sometimes it feels like I’m a circus juggler, throwing various objects up in the air and miraculously keeping them flying. We all have a variety of balls we juggle in life (work, relationships, finances, health, and on and on). The challenge of juggling is navigating the different sizes and weights of the objects.
Now I’m not a juggler in real life, but I bet it’s harder to juggle a bowling ball or fire stick than it is to juggle three tennis balls, which I know is pretty hard by itself (because I’ve tried to learn to juggle).
So when we are navigating our life and we find one area starts to take up more space than the other areas of our life (maybe you have a huge work project or a health issue going on), it’s like we traded that manageable tennis ball for a bowling ball.
The other areas of our life can’t compete and sometimes our attention to them shrinks and they fall to the side lines.
Sometimes we take on too many obligations in life and find we are struggling with juggling ten balls at once and we spend eighteen hours a day just getting by keeping those balls afloat.
Today was my wake-up call. It's time to take action!
I’m tired of talking about ‘finding balance’ year after year and still not having it! So, I’m taking action. To do so, I needed something more visible and tangible to help me make better choices to achieve balance in my life, and I’m going to share it with you! I wanted a worksheet that I could fill out and revise each day/week/month or however often I needed it with reminders of things that I needed in several areas of my life. How you use it may be very different… that’s cool! Just do what works for you to make some shifts toward balance.
How to fill out the Balance Bubble worksheet:
Print out the worksheet and fill in each bubble with what you are currently doing in your life to meet these needs. Here’s an example of a filled in form.
Are you pretty balanced or are there areas that outweigh others? Is there a bubble that’s totally lacking anything? Remember these are things you’re currently doing, not that you think of/want to do!
Now the action step comes in…. start making adjustments to balance out the areas of your life. If there is a bubble that’s empty, what can you do to fill it up a bit? If there’s an area that’s filled in solid, maybe your focus needs to be shifted away from some of these activities and to another area. Because I'm having fun filling out this form... here's a sample with added in to-do's for the area that were lacking.
It’s possible to have too much of a good thing… if you notice that one area is filled in with details and another doesn’t have anything, then that’s not balance. For example, you may be doing an amazing job at focusing on your physical health, exercising regularly and eating clean, but your spiritual life may be lacking. You may be killing it at work and in your career, but haven’t seen your friends in weeks. We all need all these areas: work success and solid relationships, physical health and spiritual health. Balance it out!
If you need some ideas about how to better fill out the areas of your life to find that balance, here are a few to get you started:
Spiritual Connection: take time to meditate, pray, and connect with your higher power; go for walks in nature and breathe in the earth.
Emotional Health: share with others what you’re thinking and feeling on a regular basis; identify your strengths so you can rely upon them when things are tough; shift and change your negative self-talk into something more adaptive to your life; say “no” to activities that you don’t have time for; ask for help when you need it; find gratitude in everyday activities; give back to the world; help others.
Relationships (Self & Others): create space in your life for time with loved ones; text and call friends and family on a regular basis; schedule in time alone every day.
Professional Growth: take a professional growth class to bolster your career; ask your supervisor ways to advance in your job; go back to college or start your own business.
Challenge and Energize: Participate in activities that push you past your comfort zone; connect with your creative side in arts, music, and adventure; try an activity that gives you a sense of purpose in life; take a class or lesson for something you always wanted to learn.
Physical Health: fuel your body with healthy and nutritious foods; make getting eight hours of sleep a priority; avoid excess; avoiding mood altering substances including caffeine; move your body every day; join a team sport league; play catch with your kid or take your dog for a walk.
Financial and Environment Life: bring more beauty and calmness into your environment (home, work, car, etc.); pay attention to your finances and find balance, splurge here and there as well as save up for a rainy day; spend time both indoors and outdoors daily.
Relax & Play: take a nap; try activities that are soothing to your spirit; go for a walk; play in nature; travel; take a road trip; learn a musical instrument; write out your bucket list and start checking items off.
Creating balance in your life is a challenge but totally worth the effort. Join me in saying good-bye to just talking about it and make that balance happen in your life!
Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento area therapist specializing in helping people lead authentic lives. Adriana’s most passionate about supporting individuals exploring their gender and sexuality, and advocating for the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.