How To Create A Balanced Life In A Season Of Chaos And Stress
Sometimes it can feel as though we’re living in a whirlwind of chaos too strong to rein in. How do you restore balance when you can barely pull it together enough to get dinner on the table or do another load of laundry? Well, you start small. You can’t wrap up all the loose ends at once, and you can’t expect everything to ever be perfect. Don’t set yourself up for failure and disappointment by setting unrealistic long-term goals on a short-term schedule. Instead, start with these five simple ways to steadily chip away at the disorder in your life.
Mindfulness is one important way to be content and grateful for the present moment instead of worrying about things you have to do tomorrow or things you believe you should have already achieved. It also involves being aware of the sights and sounds around you and soaking in the good ones, like birds chirping or your children laughing while you make dinner. Mindfulness also offers you the opportunity to notice what stimulates your senses in a negative way - like gossip or the TV in the background - and reducing or eliminating their influence on you.
Stabilize Your Budget
If you haven’t already, begin to track your spending carefully. Document all unnecessary expenditures for one month, then try to cut that amount by 25 percent the next month. Even if you don’t hit that goal, take the percentage you did achieve and put it in your savings account. Also, invest in things that help you to be prepared for unexpected expenses around your home, like a home repair plan. This can save a lot of stress when your HVAC system goes out or your fridge stops properly cooling.
Stop the Negative Self-Talk
Constantly coming down on yourself about things being chaotic is a counterproductive practice. Notice when you’re engaging in negative self-talk, such as thinking about how you should be able to handle your life more effectively. Instead, focus on little ways that you’re taking action to regain balance and revel in each accomplishment. Let yourself be proud of your progress and your willingness to change.
Practicing basic self-care can be in the form of allowing yourself to take a short nap during the day, rewarding yourself with a $20 gift for completing a goal, or making better food choices. This also includes fitting in 30 minutes of exercise each day and creating a wind-down period before bed to promote quality sleep each night. Making time for creative or relaxing activities is important for your mental health, too. Start growing houseplants or create your own healthy recipes.
Separate Work from Family
One important aspect of a balanced life that is often overlooked is a healthy work-life balance. Whether you work from home or hold a more traditional job, maintaining exclusive spaces for your family life and your work life can be an incredibly difficult task. Set boundaries about when your workday begins and ends and stick to them. Keep your personal life private when you’re working and try not to discuss work when you’re at home.
Creating a balanced life might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Pick a tip and start working towards applying it to your life. Take things one step at a time.
*** Written for Meridian Counseling by Amanda Turner. Amanda Turner is a freelance writer and recent graduate who is exploring her passions through writing.