When I moved back home after living on the east coast for a few months, there were a lot of adjustments that took place. For one, I went from having very little immediate support to having my entire support system around me. Of course, this is a wonderful adjustment to deal with. I am much happier being surrounded by people who love and care for me and support me.
The difficulty arose in trying to balance my time between working a 9-5, having time to work on myself, and spending time with all of the different groups of people and individuals who are important to me. I am very aware that many of us young adult types go through something similar to this at some point. Everything is new and it takes time to learn how to balance all of life’s important aspects. For myself, it’s still a work-in-progress, but I have learned a few key things that are important to finding solid life balance and living a well-balanced lifestyle.
1. Make your well-being your number one priority
Whether it be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc., I cannot stress enough how important this point is. The problem with not prioritizing yourself is that not taking time to feel your best affects many areas of life. Your relationships with loved ones may suffer from your consistent negative mood-state. It can be difficult for others to support you if you don’t make the time to support yourself and find what brings you joy. You may find yourself with health concerns related to not taking the time to eat healthy or exercise. Your performance at work could suffer if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
As a therapist, this is a huge one for me personally. How am I to give therapy if I’m not in a good state of mind? While there are individuals who may not be completely understanding and supportive of your need to put yourself first (particularly in regards to mental health), the majority of people understand that both physical and mental well-being are important to an individual’s success.The best way to avoid burnout is with preventative measures such as practicing self-care on a regular basis. Click To Tweet
Fortunately there are many accommodations available. The best way to avoid burnout is through prevention by practicing self-care on a regular basis. Many people find it helpful to schedule time into their day to focus only on themselves and whatever brings them peace or joy. Some examples of self-care practices might include meditation, reading, writing, having a bubble bath, or going on a walk. Find something that makes you feel good, and make time to do it regularly. Say yes to commitments you can handle and say no to those you don’t feel that you can do. While there are what may feel like an infinite number of responsibilities and commitments, YOU are the one living your life, so make sure to take care of yourself. There’s nothing selfish about that, as far as I’m concerned. On the other hand though…
2. Try to be fair in spending time with different people who want to see you
The hardest transition when I came home was making time for everyone while still prioritizing certain relationships. I live in the city with my grandparents during the week, making it easy to spend time with them. My closest friends live all over and are therefore difficult to spend time with. However, when opportunity arises to catch up with them, that becomes a priority because it doesn’t happen often. I spend most weekends with my boyfriend, which is important to me because we’re building a strong relationship and he is one of the only people who can almost always make me feel calm and supported. We don’t see each other during the week because we’re both working full-time, so that is high on my priority list. Because I spend weekends with him, I spend time with his family throughout the weekend as well.
On top of all of these, I also have my parents who I am very close with. It is difficult for me to make the trip home as often as I would like because they live up north. I’ve handled this by making plans here with my mom when I can to do something we both enjoy. A couple of weeks ago we even went on a weekend trip together! I like to go home once a month for a night to see my dad and my dogs. When I am home, I make sure to actually spend quality time with both of my parents (and my brother if he’s home from university). We’re only a few months into this routine since moving back from the east coast, but it seems to be working out well so far. On a similar note…
3. Have empathy and understand that it is an adjustment period for others in your life as well as yourself
For instance, say you’ve been super close with your mother since you were little. She took you to all of your activities and was always your biggest cheerleader for everything you did. You spent many weekends shopping with her because none of your friends had her power shopping abilities. She was the most fun shopping companion. Even in university, you could count on her to drive three hours to help you when you needed it or take you out for the day or bring you home for the weekend.
Now, you’re gaining independence and trying to establish yourself as a young professional. You’re in a serious relationship and have less time in the day or week to spend with her. Of course that’s difficult for her! And while you’re doing everything to try and balance things, sometimes it’s going to be hard and your mother (or whoever else) will feel disappointed. It’s not because she isn’t happy for you or doesn’t want to see you succeed, she just misses you, and that’s okay. Acknowledge that, for whoever it is that’s missing the time they used to spend with you, and try to at least make an effort to let them know you still want to spend time with them.
Finding life balance between your relationship and responsibilities isn’t easy. That being said, it is necessary to living a fulfilled lifestyle. Do you have any tips to add? Share them in the comments!