Finding balance is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but what exactly does it mean? You hear people say it a lot, but it can start to seem like just another chore on an overloaded to-do list. This doesn't mean it isn't important, but telling people that they need to do it without identifying how can do more harm than good.
What is Balance?
Usually, when people talk about a balanced life, they mean that there is time in a person's life for work, family, friends and leisure activities. There is increasing evidence that lifestyle is a factor in mental health. Everyone is different, and there are probably a few workaholics out there that are genuinely happy devoting themselves to their jobs. Far more common, however, are people who have convinced themselves that they like their long hours at the office when a closer look would reveal that it is affecting their physical and mental makeup for the worse.
An unbalanced life is a stressful life, and stress in turn affects your immune system and your overall physical, as well as your mental health. For people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, this maintenance can be crucial to wellness. However, even those who do not can find their own suffering from a lack of balance and the stress that results.
Humans are social creatures, and finding time to maintain ties with other people is a critical component of mental health. However, this can feel overwhelming for people who have one or more demanding jobs and other responsibilities. They need concrete steps.
Getting Professional Help
Sometimes, your own efforts are not enough. Trying and failing can leave you feeling even worse even when the failure is through no fault of your own. You may want to schedule time with an Oakland therapist to talk about how you can introduce more balance into your life for your own mental health. For people worried about cost, some workplaces may offer employee assistance. Some therapists also work on a sliding scale. A therapist can help you identify your priorities and set better boundaries to get the balanced lifestyle you need to be on the right track.
At work, this can mean setting boundaries. Many people never feel entirely off work, and they may find themselves answering emails at 10 p.m. Setting a time to stop checking on work emails or taking phone calls, such as 6 p.m., can help. People should also set manageable daily goals instead of trying to cram too much into each day.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this much control over their schedule. Still, there are other things that nearly everyone can do to reintroduce balance into their lives. Taking five minutes here and there in the workday to breathe and look around can help. Family members can be called on to take on additional responsibilities, such as starting dinner. Once at home, it can help to unplug from technology as much as possible.