Ever feel like something is off? Finding life balance is the key to living well. Many people feel that they are really triumphing in one area of life, while another is falling apart. Others feel like they have it all, but still do not feel truly happy.
Kids, spouse, career, purpose, relaxation, health--it can feel like you are juggling so many balls. In this situation balls inevitably get dropped. And our culture tends to emphasize success in some areas while ignoring (or even criticizing) others. In our society careers are often our identity. We may be a financially successful culture, but we do not seem to be a really happy culture. Therapists, medications, and rehabs are becoming an accepted part of life.
The most obvious need for improvement for most people is the work life balance. Your career makes up a huge portion of your life. Sometimes you may find you allow it to really take over. It can begin to prevent you from giving other parts of your life proper attention. In reality, as important as you may feel your work is, it really provides two things:
1) Financial means to do what you really want to do (ie. be with your favorite people, relax, live life to its fullest), and
2) It may give you a sense of purpose, if you are doing something you feel passionate about.
It is important to keep your work life in its place. Your work is not really your life...unless you're a nun. Many people fall into the trap of working hard and putting off living the good life until they have achieved enough or acquired enough money. The trap is: there is never enough.
The time to start living is now, in this very moment. Being present in the moment requires a high level of self awareness. Our culture is not good at this on a whole. You eat, drink, shop, work, etc. all to really avoid anything remotely close to introspection. You don't want to look in there--it is really dark and scary.
But being aware of your inner needs is critical to developing life balance. You must begin to use your internal compass to tell you when to play barbies with your child, take a nap, or pay attention to your spouse. It is easy for you to stay disconnected--isolation and independence are pillars of our society. Connecting requires a certain amount of vulnerability and openness. But bonding with others is a fundamental key to happiness.
It is important that you also truly connect to yourself. Even if you are alone most of the time, you are probably pretty disconnected to your inner world. When your inner compass is telling you it needs rest, your brain overrides it because you "should" go to the gym. Even if you end up relaxing, you are filled with guilt and cannot really enjoy yourself.
If you want a brownie, but make yourself have carrots instead, you are not even close to satisfied. You would be surprised at how trustworthy your instincts really are when all of the 'shoulds' are stripped away. For true life balance you must start listening to your inner voice and vow to stop 'shoulding' all over yourself.
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