Achieving a balanced lifestyle


Changing your lifestyle

The pressures and strains of modern life mean that we are constantly being pulled in different directions. Trying to please everyone is nigh on impossible and, as we have already discussed, stressful.

To some of us, life is a juggling act between work, rest and play, and getting the balance right – to please everybody – seems just about impossible. In this article, we will be looking at how you can weigh up work, relationships, leisure, self-development and what I call ‘Me’ time. First, let us have a glimpse at how elements that go to make up a ‘lifestyle’ can be changed for the better.

Work

Is work taking over your life? Are the extra hours you spend in the office eating away at your leisure time or the time you might otherwise spend with your family? Everyone needs a challenge and work provides this for most people. However, too much challenge or involvement at work can turn a conscientious worker into a workaholic. If you know that your workload is too heavy, be assertive – talk it through with your boss and explain the problems.

Conversely, too little challenge – as happens when you are unemployed – can lead to boredom, stagnation and low self-esteem which is equally stressful. If this is the case, look for activities to fill up your life while applying for new jobs. Your local paper, the internet or library are good sources of information about local events – offer your services for free in necessary.

Relationships

It is important to get the balance right between the time you spend with acquaintances, family, and intimate friends. Be aware of letting one of these relationships take over too much of your time. If you feel too many demands are being made on you from any one quarter, this is when you need to be assertive and negotiate for compromise. There is no denying that the compromise may be difficult to achieve, and you always run the risk of upsetting someone, but in the long-run it is vital for your health and wellbeing.

When Bill’s company sports’ day clashed with a regular visit to his partner’s parents he was faced with a decision: he could either cancel the visit or miss the sports’ day. Bill knew that the first course of action would run the risk of upsetting his partner and disappointing her parents, but he was also aware that his support at this high profile company event was important to his future. In the end, Bill was able to reach a compromise by offering to visit the family the following weekend.

Leisure

For some of us, leisure time equates with luxury time – in other words, it rarely happens. This is a bad thing as leisure time is crucial to wellbeing.

Make the effort to plan your weekends and evenings as carefully as your workdays. This may prove to be a strain of a minor sort but you will find it revitalising as well as stress-relieving in the long-term. You will also find that you get the more out of your leisure time as it will have been well planned in advance.

In addition, do not ignore the potential of hobbies, holidays and occasional breaks as these give you the opportunity to wind down negative feelings and wind up positive ones. One-off surprises apart, they usually need to be planned in advance and it is important to let other people who might be involved know what you have arranged – this will prevent tensions arising from misunderstandings.

Self-development

To stop stress building up in your life, it is important to be aware of your under-developed potential. By recognising your weaknesses, and by doing something about them, you lessen the stress in your life. If, for example you find it difficult to maintain relationships, seeing a therapist could help you to overcome the the problem.

If you are overlooked for promotion at work, ask yourself why. Did the person who was promoted have more skills than you? If so, then this is the time to think about the further training so that the next time promotion is offered you will be ready and equipped to meet the challenge.

‘Me’ time

If your life has become task-orientated, or if you find yourself spending too much time doing things for others, you need to take time out occasionally to indulge in ‘Me’ time – time spent by yourself, for yourself. ‘Me’ time can be crucial to many people’s wellbeing and planning it in advance is often the only way to make sure that it materialises.

‘Me’ time should be your own exclusive time during which you do exactly you want without feeling guilty. You could, perhaps, lie in bed late on a weekend morning listening to the radio. Or, you might treat yourself with a visit to an art exhibition. Make time for yourself and enjoy it!

Next we’ll learn who to develop a healthy lifestyle to cope with life’s challenges.

How to achieve a healthy lifestyle >>

Text Copyright © Alix Needham
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