Balance seems to be something we are all searching for yet is challenging to find. Check out my list below to identify what might be getting in your way. After years of living a very unbalanced life, these are the areas where I have started to make some changes to put things back in order! I hope this list can start to inspire you to find your own balance.
#1: Ignoring your mental health
You will hear me reference this topic constantly on my blog because it is such a passionate topic for me as well as my area of work! Aside from working in the field of mental health, I myself have struggled with challenges in my own mental health for years. I can not stress the importance of paying attention to your mental health enough, ESPECIALLY if you are feeling out of balance. If you are experiencing emotions intensely, worried about small things, not able to focus or pay attention, unable to feel joy, constantly angry, feeling like you can never finish anything you start, or experiencing constant cycles you can’t get out of… PAY ATTENTION TO THIS. So many times we conclude that there is something “wrong” with us for not being able to achieve what others do, when in fact there is an underlying concern or diagnosis playing a role. I lived 26 years with the belief that the level of difficulty I had paying attention, staying engaged, and accomplishing tasks fully was just me being lazy or “dumb”. I completely thought this was something in my control and I was choosing to zone out. I work in the field of mental health every single day, and I still believed this because I wasn’t truly listening. It wasn’t until I really started to pay attention to the difficulties I was having and opening my eyes and ears to the cues my body and mind were giving me, that I was able to get the support I needed to figure it out! I lived 26 years before being diagnosed and properly treated for inattention and anxiety, and my life has improved significantly since getting this support. If you think you are going to accomplish ANYTHING while completely ignoring your mental health, you are going to experience a significant amount of setbacks and frustrations. The brain is there for a reason, and you better start listening to it if you want to establish balance! There is no shame in getting help for mental health and throughout this blog I will be sharing resources and guides on how to do just that. If your leg was broken you wouldn’t think twice about going to the emergency department, time to balance that mindset out with your mental health too!!
I have been known to enjoy a glass of vino in my day, however it was only until the past few years that I started to pay attention to just how much alcohol was effecting my ability to maintain balance in my life. After a night of heavy drinking we all know what comes the next morning (especially if you are over 25… R.I.P to the bounce back.. these hangovers are no joke). We feel sluggish, unmotivated, tired, sick, and if you are anything like me, a night of drinking is always followed by a day of horribly distressing anxiety. Not to mention all of the greasy carb and cheese loaded food we justify when we aren’t feeling so hot. This day is essentially a write off. I have found it very hard to get back on the health train following these types of nights and it would usually take me 3-4 days before I was back to my normal routine after all the guilt finally went away from my hungover binges. By the time I was back to normal… it was already Tuesday or Wednesday and the cycle started again! If you notice that alcohol, or any other substance is causing you this type of cycle – re-evaluate its purpose because this is not balance!
#3: Extreme Diet and Exercise Routines
You will read a lot about my journey with food and fitness throughout this blog because they are patterns I have struggled with my entire life. For 26 years I so badly wanted to believe that there was a secret weapon I was missing out on and I would find it. I have tried probably every crash diet known to man and I have single-handedly ruined my metabolism because of it. We all know the cycle i’m talking about… you start your new gym plan off with some intense cardio followed by an a couple hours of weights, you completely wear yourself out for 2-3 days and then you don’t see immediate changes and you are OVER IT. The same goes for diet… you are hell bent to succeed at one of these extremely restrictive plans (because of course you need to punish yourself to be effective right?)…. and again you’re over it after a hell of a week and no results. This is not sustainable and is definitely not a balance. I have run this cycle for probably 15 years and within the last year I have focused on changing my mindset with this area of my life and this blog will be full of ways that I have accomplished this and how you can too
I can’t stress the importance of sleep for a balanced life enough! Without sleep we are not able to function at our best. We might be irritable, lethargic, and the brain just isn’t running at its normal speed. If this is the case it is really difficult to feel balanced and organized. There are two key things to look out for when assessing sleep quality – 1. delayed onset: the time between when you get into bed and the time you actually fall asleep. If you lay there awake for hours and notice racing thoughts this is something to pay attention to as it will significantly impact both the length of your sleep and the quality. #2. Restless/broken sleep: If you are someone who wakes up constantly throughout the night or you wake up with all of the covers on the floor and your head at the footboard you likely have restless or broken sleep. When we break our sleep cycle we miss out on all that good stuff that happens when we are in a deep restorative sleep. I will be posting ways to improve sleep soon, so if this is you, not to worry you can totally improve it!
#5: One Sided Friendships
You know, the friends that never call you but are mad when you do something and don’t invite them. The friends who never text you first. The friends who feel you have to cling onto or they will bounce the minute you don’t do what they want. Time to move on. These types of relationships are the single most exhausting interaction you have in your week. Friendship should be the DEFINITION of balanced. You buy coffee this time… they buy it next time. They ask you about your goals and projects and they cheer you on. They aren’t competitive because your success is their success and vice versa. I have eliminated more friends in my life than I can count, but I can definitely say my current friends are totally balanced and each one of them is a boss ass babe and it has made the biggest difference in my life and my sense of balance. This year has shown me more true friendships than ever before, and without them I don’t know what I would do. If you are reading this, I love you!
#6: Overextending Yourself
If you have had friends like the ones I mentioned above, you are probably an expert at over extending yourself. You say YES to everything so that you don’t miss out, and because you fear what will be said about if you aren’t there. You are always offering to help even when you know you don’t have time or that its not doable for you. We usually over extend ourselves in hopes that the other person will appreciate us and return it, or because we feel it is necessary to maintain the friendship. But guess what… if they aren’t a balanced friend this ain’t gunna happen with or without all of your generous help. Notice if you are saying yes and then being frustrated with the task. This usually means a) you didn’t want to do it in the first place or b) you have so much pressure on you to complete the task for the other person because of a high level of other constraints on you at the time. Don’t feel guilty for saying no! Balance it out babe.
#7: Obsessing Over Lengthy Beauty Routines
Look I am a self identified make-up junkie and I am not ashamed of it. I love the creativity of makeup and the expression you can accomplish with it. Heres the thing, in the last 5-10 years the social media aspect of beauty has exploded and it is no longer acceptable to have a makeup bag… you must have an entire room in your house that beautifully showcases your make up. Again, if you are a collector and this brings you joy then you do you boo, but if you are over spending and stressing about the amount of products you have to buy to keep up then you are definitely out of balance. This happened to me when I became interested in youtube. I got to learn about all these new products and I wanted to try them all. Pretty soon I financially couldn’t keep up with the new stuff because brands were pushing products and filtering them down through youtubers faster than I could even watch! The extreme routines, layers and layers of hour long makeup, and multiple hair tutorials are fun – but they aren’t part of a balanced life. This is their full time job, its impossible to expect that we can incorporate a similar routine if we have different demand.
#8: Not Engaging in Self Care
I didn’t even know what this really was to be honest until I completed my second undergrad where my focus was on mental health. I mean of course we all know we have to take care of ourselves, but I did not fully appreciate the need for this in order to avoid burnout in our life. I assumed showering regularly, putting myself together, and being social was self care, but its not! Those activities don’t feed my soul or allow me to recharge the batts. It has taken me a while to find the self care strategies that work for me and throughout this blog I will hopefully inspire you to help you find yours! Today I spent the entire day in my pyjamas which is something I NEVER do – the pyjamas was not my self care, but allowing myself to do it without guilt was!
#9: Looking for Happiness in Monetary Items
My name is Lindsay, and I have a shopping problem. I guess I should say “had” a shopping problem because I have been working on this a LOT. Everytime something bad happened, or I felt a strong emotion, I could easily fix that by buying something new. Purchasing something you love is one of the most instant forms of satisfaction you can find. That instant pleasure you feel is on the same spectrum as drugs, sex, and food and all of these things can be dangerous to our health, and definitely our balance, when used impulsively and excessively. It wasn’t until I realized the underlying need in that time that I recognized what I was doing. And I hate to tell ya…. that shopping high lasts until you get to the car and then you are lookin for it again! If you are impulsively shopping to fill a void, or using any of the other responses I mentioned, you might want to look for a more balanced way to nurture those emotions.
#10: Toxic relationships
I touched on this with the whole friendship thing, but it is also important to evaluate present and past romantic relationships for toxicity. I think everyone defines this differently as each person has a different level of tolerance, needs, and expectations in a relationship, however for the most part if you are in a relationship that feels like its completely out of balance, it probably is. Heres the key message :ITS NOT YOUR FAULT. There is not something wrong with you if a relationship ends up being toxic or unbalanced. Two people merging into one in a relationship is a much more complex scenario than we often consider. It is important to be evaluating relationships and checking in on how fulfilled you feel from it frequently to assess its contribution to your life before it becomes a negative addition. If that relationship is unstable, and draining you of all your good emotions – its unbalanced and you need to take a deeper look
#11: Passive Aggression
this is honestly probably one of the worst things you can do if you are working to establish a balanced life. Do you ever notice you say you will do something for someone and then go and complain about doing it to everyone else? Or you are super friendly to someone but as soon as they leave you are rolling your eyes? Why do we feel the need to please people that we genuinely don’t like…? Usually passive aggression comes from not wanting to have a confrontation, but also not being happy about a situation. I hate to tell you but the only person who suffers from that is you! And maybe your relationships when someone catches on to your attitude. Snap out of it! And balance out what you are committing to and who you are choosing to spend your time with so there is no need for that toxic energy!
In this generation it seems unacceptable to even have a work life balance. There is this constant need to be the best, and the bar is being raised every single year for expectations in the workplace. If you are working for someone who is expecting you to overwork to a point where you don’t have time to do other things in life there is no way it is balanced! This also includes stress and anxiety. You may leave work at 5pm, but if you are worrying and thinking about it until bedtime – still not balanced! Take a look at your day and the amount of time you physically spend at work OR thinking about work, if it is more than what you signed up for it might be time to assert some boundaries to reach that sustainable balance!
#13: Not Being Effective With Time
There are of course individuals who struggle with conditions that make focusing very hard to do, me being one of them. That being said, there are also a ton of things you can begin to incorporate into your daily life to enhance your productivity. Wasting time is one of the best ways to leave yourself feeling worthless and full of guilt. If you are noticing that you do this a lot, it is likely contributing to your overall feeling that you are out of balance in life. Its important to consider this and look at your daily routines to see if you are spending an extremely long time on tasks, or if you are unable to even get started! Under my mental health and lifestyle tabs on this blog I will be building up a complete resource mecca to help all of you babes get balanced with your mind body and spirit!
#14: Setting Unrealistic, Unattainable Goals
Tell me if this cycle sounds familiar: you get this great idea in your head you are super pumped about it you dream big and set these huge lifelong expectations and goals and within a month you give up? Similarly to the post on fitness above, setting too high of goals and expectations is POISON for the balanced life. There is a specific, proven way to set goals that set you up for success and keep you feeling balanced and in control so stick around because I will be sharing them with you and providing you with all the tools to do it for yourself! It’s way easier than you think and will make the most amazing difference in feeling productive!
#15: Not Checking in With Yourself… Like Ever
This is my last thing I want you to think about before I end this post: When was the last time you asked yourself “how are you doing today?”. If you answered never, we have some work to do sister! But it’s ok, neither did I! I was always so worried about pleasing other people, obsessing over what others thought of me, and working my butt off to do everything I could to make sure everyone else is ok I actually never asked myself the above question. This simple strategy is something I encourage you to start adding to your day and watch your world change just from this. You will learn SO much about yourself by simply asking yourself how you are doing that you will begin to see all of the pieces I have talked about in this post. When we don’t check in with ourselves, we are utilizing an avoidance strategy which I will talk much more about throughout this blog. Avoidance significantly increases anxiety, and eventually all of those feelings are going to come out and I can almost promise that they are going to come out in a way that you wont be happy with. The most common way this expression comes out is anger, or tears… or both. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve had a “breakdown”, it is likely you havn’t been checking in with yourself.
I have created a FREE printable daily planner which I use to keep myself in Balance! Subscribe to my e mail list below to get your code to my resource library so you can download it!