Balancing Life:  Family, Work, Health and Faith. 

By:  Joella Baker

I am often asked how I get everything done that I do.  Trust me, I am no expert on balancing my life.   I always feel I could be doing so much better than what I am.

There are so many self-help books out there telling you how you need to prioritize your life and where you can find balance.  I have found the following to be the major items in my life.  Family, work, health and faith. 

I am lucky that I figured out a way to combine my work with exercise and my work with spending time with my son.  However, I still find that I am stretched in too many directions.  I get stressed out very easily on all the demands in my life and I find I don’t spend enough time with my husband.  I am trying my best to change that. 

So, what does it mean to be balanced? For me, it is feeling fulfilled in the important aspects in my life. 

The key is to make a list of what are the priorities in your life and which are most important to you.  Then look at which ones you spend the most time on.   They might not be the same.  Perhaps your family is most important to you, but you spend far too much time working. I certainly fall into this category.  I don’t want to, but I do work far too much making it difficult to spend “quality” time with my husband and son.

I love to read articles on how to improve your life.  I use these articles to help myself and my family and I also use these ideas to help the athletes I coach.  I believe we can learn from others if we pull the right ideas from each article.  I read several articles and books on balancing your life and I came up with the following steps from all the articles and books I read to help myself and you reach balance in your life.

So, I ask the question: What is your current balance and how do you want to see it change?   That is the first step in finding balance in your life.

  1. Realize your neglected areas.

Make your list of what’s important in your life.  Be honest with your list and be honest with yourself.  What areas are you neglecting?  Spiritual, Social, Fun, Nutrition, Health, Family?   What could you be spending more time on to find your balance?

  1. You know from reading my previous articles, I am all about goals.  Therefore, set goals.  What goals do you want to achieve to reach your balance?

Look at your list.  If you want to spend more quality time with your family, how will you do that?   Will you take an extra hour a week to really sit and talk to your kids?  Take them someplace where there aren’t distractions and hang out having a picnic or doing something fun like playing a game or Frisbee.  It could also be having a date night with your spouse, even if it’s simply hanging out on the couch watching a movie.  Perhaps it’s spiritual.  Have you stopped going to church or when you’re at church, you are so focused on the rest of your life, you aren’t in the moment?  Find your spiritual side, what do you need to do to have the faith and the beliefs you need to be more balanced in your life?   Exercise, are you ignoring your health?   If so, this should be a focus.  Without your health, you won’t be able to be productive at work, be a good spouse or parent.  You can’t ignore your health.

  1. Plan Tasks.

Learn to say no!  Certainly, my downfall.  I seem to always over commit to too many things.  This causes extra stress in my life which affects things at home, at my job and with my health.   Plan your tasks according to priority and what you need to accomplish and say no to things that will add stress to your life. 

  1. Remember when things were easier.

Remember the days before kids, family, carpool, soccer games?   Think back to those days.  You probably thought at the time that you were stressed out and busy.  Now you probably look at those days and think to yourself, “I had no idea back then what busy was.” Back when things were easier, you probably still had a lot to do.  You still had a house or an apartment to clean.  You may have been dating someone, you had work.  You had friends who wanted to hang out.  You had to get that run or exercise class in.  You still had a lot to do, but somehow when you add in a kid or kids, a husband, parents who maybe aging, volunteering at school or church, things take a whole new priority.  What are the first things to go?  Exercise, social time, fun, quality time with your spouse.  Sometimes learning to say no can allow you to find some extra time and that extra time, if used wisely can add balance into your life.

  1. Have fun.

I often forget this part too.  I am trying to add more of this into my life.  Remember, we only have one life, so why not enjoy it.  Despite the craziness, the stress, the worry, we all need to have some fun.  A few days a week, take some time out to have fun.  Of course, you need to determine what’s fun for you.  For me, fun is going for a run or bike with my family or friends.  Going out to a nice lunch or even hanging out at home and playing cards.  Some people need more, perhaps a Pirate Game, going out with friends to dinner, or going dancing.  We all have a different description of what is fun for us.

In conclusion, finding balance isn’t easy.  It will come and go.  Often, you must go with the flow.  Things will always happen that will add stress and mix up your balance.   The key is to find some alone time to think, this is your spiritual side.  Search your inner-self during this time.  Talk and spend time with your family for support.  Focus on your health through exercise and nutrition and when you do all of this, the stress at work won’t seem as daunting.   Lastly, have some fun along the way.  Everything is better when you laugh and smile.