In this fifth installment, we will be discussing emotional health and ways to find balance. We are near the middle of this series and I am enjoying writing it much more than I thought I would. At first, I wasn’t sure if what I had to offer was worthwhile enough for an entire series but I am realizing that I love this series. I can’t wait to do more.
Emotional Health, What’s the Secret?
The ultimate path to better living (both physical and emotional health) is finding balance. Having the right mix of mind, body, and spirit; home, work, and family; friends, career, and relationships. Whatever your challenge, balance can sometimes seem unattainable. I am here to tell you, while it may seem impossible, it most certainly is not.
Balance begins with perspective. Some believe that each hour of each day must be equally divided to have balance. This just isn’t so. Try not to think of balance as a one day at a time thing. Focus more on the bigger picture. The key is to look at life in its entirety and sort of the amount of it you want to give to each thing in your life.
The Big Picture
While in our 20s, our schedules are often dominated by work or school and then relationships. By our 30s the demands of children, marriage, and a growing career take center stage. Then come our 40s, when many of us are searching for that emotional balance. We can begin to feel overwhelmed and forced to choose. We may have to choose between guiding our children and the struggles that sometimes accompany aging parents of our own. Leaving our own needs out in the cold. This all may again make it feel like achieving balance is something “other people” get to do, not us.
In our 50s, with children often gone from home, some often throw themselves into work. This seems to (at least at first) fill a void. Add grandchildren into the mix and there goes even more of your “me” time. Our parents may need to be cared for by this time and then (for us ladies) menopause. With all of this in mind, it is important to look at a span of time to find out if our life is balanced. We need to be on the top of our “to-do” lists.
Finding the Time
Stealing just 20-30 minutes a day to do something that is just for you can help. Even this little bit of time can boost energy levels and actually makes you feel like you have more time in your day. When you set aside those few minutes, you will begin to see that you start to get more done each day. This can also help with stress, making even the worst tasks of the day easier. Speaking of stress…
This is important to balance as well. Stress is inevitable, but, if handled well, can be motivating. For those times when you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the demands on your time, putting aside some time for yourself is so important. Stress is an emotional drain and as a woman the pressure is unrelenting. I can not tell you how many times I have stayed up way too late just to finish one more thing on my list. There have even been numerous occasions when I have had so much to do the next day, I would get up out of bed just to write it all down. Skipping meals or working through lunch just to get things done isn’t healthy.
What To Do
- Make time for you. Even 20 minutes a day
- Love your work. If you do not love your job, leave. Make sure you have somewhere to go (if you need the income) but you should never focus your energy on things that don’t make you happy.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps with energy, allowing you to get more done and relax.
- Focus on the relationships that matter to you.
- Get some sleep. You can not expect to get it all done with only 4 hours of sleep.
- Spend time with your friends. We all love our families but friends are important for emotional health. We can vent and get some things off our chests that we can’t (or shouldn’t) say to our kids or spouse.
- Get help. If you truly feel overwhelmed with no end in sight or you just can’t find a good balance, ask for help. Whether professional or personal, help is always there if you look for it.
- Remember you are only one person (one awesome person but still just one) you don’t have to do everything.