It’s Monday evening. I’ve been held up at work and am now running late for boot camp. Finally I make it, but have missed out on a great warm-up.

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By the time I get home it’s 8pm. I clean the apartment and unpack my gear for the day, plus take calls from friends interstate and locally. 9.30pm rolls around and my stomach is officially eating itself but I find myself collapsed in a heap on the couch, yet to even consider what I’m going to cook for dinner.
What an overwhelming day! Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, you certainly aren’t alone.
Over the past decade we have felt more pressure to ‘have it all’. But it’s important to remember that despite these pressures, you do have a choice. When it comes to creating more ‘you’ time, it’s all about striking a healthy balance.

What is balance?

Balance is maintaining a consistent, healthy lifestyle on a daily basis in mind, body and spirit, regardless of your situation or circumstances.
While a lot of us whinge about not having enough time and being stressed out, very few actually do something about it.
Many of us have an image of our life in balance, looking like a set of scales in perfect alignment every single day. But this is unrealistic, as achieving equilibrium requires continual adjustment that flows with the life changes that happen along the way.
Here are some ideas you can apply to the different areas of your life to achieve greater balance, happiness and satisfaction.

Work

Write a to-do list
If things are getting on top of you, get organised! Each morning make a list of tasks and place them in order of importance. Then for each of the tasks, either do it, delegate it or dump it.

Rearrange your working life
If you are getting frustrated, look at ways to enact change. Some great ideas are working from home, job sharing or only working three to four days per week.

Leave work at work
If you find yourself taking work home, dreaming about work at night or not able to wind down after the working day is over, do something about it. Have cut-off times for particular tasks. Train your brain to switch off from work-related thoughts when you leave the office.

Change jobs
If you are legitimately unhappy, unfulfilled or extremely stressed at your current job, it may be time to move on. Research shows that being stressed or unhappy at work can raise your blood pressure, and in the long term affect your health.

Finances

Calculate a budget
If you want to see where all of your money gets spent each month, plug the information into a spreadsheet and work out how much you have left over to either save or spend. Having it on paper will make you more aware and more accountable.

Throw away the credit card

Credit cards do come in handy for paying bills, booking holidays and many other things, but if you are regularly racking up a huge credit card bill and are struggling to pay it off, it’s a good idea to cut it up and get your spending in check first.

Avoid impulse purchases
Sure, retail therapy makes you feel better, but be careful if funds are tight. Think before you buy that $500 designer dress.

 

Mind, body and spirit

Work out your role
You have more than one role in this world. It may be mother, daughter, sister and boss, for example. Recognise and become more aware of these distinct roles and the obligations of each. If one of your roles is more important to you, it is worthwhile working out how to dedicate more time to this role.

Live in the now
Living in the present allows you to appreciate things as they happen and balance your thoughts. Rather than dwelling on the past or becoming anxious about the future, live every moment as it is happening.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
Often you may feel guilty about not satisfying everybody or everything in your life. Remember that fussing about these things is a choice you make, and it doesn’t have to be the case. If you don’t have time to clean the house, get a cleaner. Or if you’re simply too exhausted to make it to your friend’s place for dinner, let yourself off the hook and have a night in to relax and recuperate.

Health and fitness

Watch what you eat
‘Everything in moderation’ is the best rule for following a balanced and nutritious diet. But your body may respond differently to certain foods, so monitoring this is a good idea.

Get moving
The National Heart Foundation recommends you do at least 30 minutes of activity most days. Walking is one of the best and simplest forms of exercise, and it will help to clear your mind, burn off calories, relax and keep obesity and other health conditions at bay. Plus, it also helps balance your mind and spirit, as it releases natural endorphins.

Rest when tired
Learn to say no if you are injured or stressed from too much training. A lot of injuries arise due to lack of healing time, so listen to your body and know when you need a break.

Sleep well
Research by the University of Sydney found one sleepless night has the same effect on coordination, judgement and reaction time the next day as consuming the legal driving limit of alcohol. So ensure you are hitting the hay at a reasonable hour and averaging eight hours of shut-eye each night.
Avoid toxins
Drink plenty of water, limit alcohol intake, avoid smoking and reduce the toxins you pump into your body for a more balanced and healthy overall lifestyle.

Social

Find a hobby and volunteer
In the past few years you may have let your hobbies go by the wayside. Pick up one again to get back to your creative space.

Give the domestics a break Although it may be hard, it’s vital that you leave the house, go out and reconnect with your partner and friends every now and then, no matter what needs to be done at home. If you’ve got kids, hire a babysitter and hit the cinema or go to the opera. Relax for a few hours!

Manage relationships
Good friendships and relationships are mutually beneficial, thought provoking, enjoyable, informative and occasionally a little challenging. But if your friends and/or romantic partners drain you or vice versa, assess the ones you would like to work on and those you may simply need to let go. You should be around people who bring the best out in you.