Life Balance Disruptors and Protectors: How to Find Better Life Balance, Increase Self-Care and Improve Your Wellbeing
This may sound strange since I’m writing an article about it, but I don’t actually believe in life balance.
I personally don’t think my life is “balanced”; I spend more time working than engaging in self-care. My home life is far more prolific than my social life. I don’t have enough hours in the day to spread my time equally between all the things I care about.
However, I do believe in feeling balanced and I’m really excited to share some of my top tips, so you can hopefully feel more balanced, too!
Feeling balanced means:
-I’m generally satisfied with how much time I spend in the different areas of my life.
-I’m not overwhelmed by to-do lists and feeling like I’m constantly running out of time.
-My physical and mental health are as good as they can be (ie getting enough sleep, eating regular meals, engaging in self-care).
-Stress is well-managed and I can properly enjoy the fun times in my life.
-I listen to my intuition about what I need and make sure I prioritise self-care and quality time with my loved ones.
However, this is simply my personal perspective on what life balance feels like!
You may have an entirely different idea about how life balance feels and I ‘d like to encourage you to think about the questions below and determine your own definition of life balance.
Which life areas are most important to me and do I prioritise them enough?
Am I as healthy as I would like to be?
Do I have realistic goals to work towards?
Am I properly managing stress and other factors which can be linked to unbalance (such as fatigue or illness)?
Do I listen to my needs and fulfil them?
Are there any areas of my life which I feel are “taking over” and can I do anything about that?
Am I aware of my balance disruptors and protectors?
Speaking of balance disruptors and protectors, you might be wondering what they actually are!
Balance disruptors are essentially the things in our lives which tend to interfere with how balanced we feel, while balance protectors usually enhance our sense of balance and protect it (even during challenging times).
A few of my own balance disruptors include:
-stress (because it seems like the one thing I’m stressed about is taking over my WHOLE LIFE)
-alcohol (essentially, whenever I drank alcohol, I felt nauseous and sad)
-social media (there was a time when I wasted hours on social media and felt overwhelmed by comparison and FOMO)
It’s important to at least be aware of your biggest balance disruptors so you can plan for any unbalance they may cause. For example, if stress is one of your balance disruptors and you know there’s a stressful change or event happening at work, you can implement a self-care plan and let your supports know you might some extra help.
Awareness of your balance disruptors is great, however, you can also consciously choose to minimise the impact of them (if it’s possible!). I used to drink a few glasses of wine most nights and even more than that if I went out and eventually I decided I couldn’t keep doing that if I wanted to feel well-balanced in my life. I now only drink alcohol for special occasions and even then, I don’t over-consume.
Feel free to experiment with your balance disruptors and notice how you can minimise their impact, but try to also have some fun with it! Implement changes slowly and in small doses, check in with yourself regularly and perhaps even organise a support network to keep you accountable!
My most important balance protectors are:
-good quality sleep
-mindfulness and meditation
When the above balance protectors aren’t being incorporated regularly into my life, I tend to notice myself feeling out of balance. The good news is, I can quickly turn that feeling around by consciously taking the time to go to bed early, talk to someone who cares about me, practice mindfulness (especially creative activities like photography), meditate and do some of my favourite self-care activities (such as take a bath or read a book).
To discover your own balance protectors, look at the things in your life which tend to have a positive impact on how balanced you feel.
Perhaps particular activities, foods, people, places, objects, music, or animals.
Whichever balance protectors you choose, be sure to think about the importance of self-care. How do you take care of yourself when your life is a little unbalanced and there isn’t a lot you can do to change it?
For example, when I had my wisdom teeth surgery in early 2017, I was feeling quite unbalanced because I couldn’t leave the house and I wasn’t being as active as usual. I also wasn’t eating regularly because it was so difficult and when I did eat, it wasn’t my normal food. It was important for me to engage in good self-care as much as I could to maintain a sense of balance!
HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
One of the challenges I’ve heard people face when it comes to self-care is not having enough time. Below, you’ll find my top 3 tips for making time for self-care!
Replace time spent watching tv or scrolling social media with self-care
These two activities used to take up much more time than I realised! When I wanted to incorporate more self-care into my life, it was simple enough to replace 20 minutes each day of tv/social media time with self-care.
Change your perspective
Sometimes, we do things to take care of ourselves and forget that we’re actually engaging in self-care. For example, taking a warm shower, reading a book, sleeping in, cuddling a loved one and putting on moisturiser or other skin care products. Rather than incorporating new self-care practices into your life, start to shift your perspective of what self-care is to include many things you already do.
Look for opportunities
Lying in bed at night when you can’t sleep. Commuting to work. Waiting in queues. There are just a few examples of times when you could do a meditation or mindfulness practice to engage in self-care.