I’ve always been a firm believer that happiness comes when you can find balance in your life. It’s easy to have the mentality that your life could always be better in some way. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to dream big and have lofty aspirations, but I personally feel that happiness comes when you can live for today, not just tomorrow. The components of your life all work together and influence each other. If you’re happy in your marriage, you’re more likely to be happy when heading to work each morning. If you’re satisfied with your work life, then you’re more likely to be in a positive mood when spending time with family and friends. In my young adult life, I’ve found that it’s all about balance and managing those levers to the best of your ability. When I face stressful or chaotic moments in life, I like to ask myself 6 key questions:
- Am I being my best self?
- Am I putting my personal relationships first and avoiding the social media trap?
- When facing conflict, am I reflecting, learning & moving on?
- Do I change up my routines?
- Am I making an effort to serve others?
- Do I have a fun event planned for the future?
- BE YOUR BEST MENTAL & PHYSICAL SELF.
If you’re happy with yourself, then you’re more likely to bring a positive energy to others. Find a job that fulfills you. Even if you’re not overly passionate about the brand or product you endorse, there are ways to feel professionally fulfilled. For example, make meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients. Expand your mind space by learning new concepts and taking stretch assignments. Set goals, and see them through. Personally, I feel that I am my best self when I step out of my comfort zone and take risks. When those risks pay off, it brings the ultimate satisfaction.
TIP#1: Avoid making excuses for yourself. Only you can hold yourself accountable.
I also feel I am my best self when I exercise and maintain a healthy diet. When I feel strong and fit, I feel empowered. I am the only one responsible for my well-being. Friends, family, fitness instructors, dietitians, can all influence your behavior, but at the end of the day, you have to know your body and make the right decisions. When I am my best self, it positively affects my energy and my drive.
- PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS FIRST. AVOID THE SOCIAL MEDIA TRAP.
Social networks provide excellent avenues for communicating and networking with others, but it’s important not to compare your life to the photos and comments you see on social media. A person’s life can look very different online. If you find yourself making life decisions based on social media content, or you’re always thinking about finding that “next post,” then you should consider taking a pause from social media. One night, my husband and I determined we were spending too much time on our phones after work. Okay, to be honest, it was mainly myself. I felt like I had to be caught up on any social media developments that occurred that day, almost like it was a work task. We made a rule that at least two nights a week, we would go phone free. Even though I occasionally break the rule, it has made me more mindful of where the focus should lie.
TIP #2: Make a rule for yourself, or with your family and friends, to limit social media when you’re spending time with others.
It’s important to spend free time with YOUR family, not with others via the web. As my daughter gets older, I want to set an example that personal time and communication with the people closest to you is the most valuable. So certainly stay connected through your social media outlets, but don’t let it dictate and consume your life.
- REFLECT, LEARN & MOVE ON.
Let’s face it, no one’s life is perfect. It’s filled with moments of frustration, mistakes, arguments, accidents and heartbreak. They may be intermittent, but they’re inevitable. I believe that how one handles these moments and rebounds from these issues, is a key component to maintaining a happy life. It’s healthy and normal to experience conflict. I think it shows passion and brings out competitiveness. It’s important that we know ourselves and how we each process and manage negative feelings.
TIP#3: Following a negative event, don’t vent for long. Reflect on the conflict, and then move forward.
On occasion, I’ve caught myself venting internally about a negative event or situation. I’ve come to learn that nothing good comes from letting a negative occurrence percolate in your mind. It’s critical to address the issue and move on. If you allow it to linger, it will continue to fester and affect your overall attitude towards others.
- CHANGE UP ROUTINES.
I’ve found that when I fall into the same routines, day in and day out, I don’t embrace each day. It’s easy to “work for the weekend” and go through the motions of the week, but if you do that, you’re missing out on valuable time. For example, sometimes I pack lunch for work, or sometimes I run out and pick up a meal in town. I find some fresh air for a few minutes can recharge my energy.
TIP# 4: Switch up daily routines. It’s good for your mind & brings added energy.
After work, my husband and I generally cook dinner at home. Occasionally we’ll spontaneously decide to strap our daughter into the stroller and head out for dinner. It’s amazing how a small act of spontaneity and a change of scenery can keep you energized. Changing up daily routines also keeps your mind fresh and alert.
- DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL: SERVE OTHERS.
I’ll admit, and I’m sure many would agree, it’s easy to use the “busy excuse” when it comes to volunteering your time and serving others. However, I’ve learned that an excuse is exactly that. Everyone can find time. If you can find time to get your haircut and meet friends for coffee, then you can find time to serve the community. There are so many ways to give back. You can walk or run in a charity fundraiser. You can pick up trash in a local park. You can mentor a young student. I encourage you to participate in a charitable cause that you’re passionate about or possibly have a personal connection to. Not only are you helping the greater good, but it will also bring you pride.
TIP# 5: We all lead busy lives. That is not an excuse. We must make the time to give back and serve others.
For me, it’s always humbling and rewarding to make an impact on other peoples’ lives. I was fortunate to grow up in a prosperous home, in a safe town, with a great school system. But that doesn’t give me any sense of entitlement that I deserve to live above others. Many kids are not as fortunate as I was, so I feel I have a responsibility to give back and share the important life lessons I was taught. Serving others helps brings balance to my life.
- PLAN A FUN EVENT.
While I believe it’s important to live in the moment, I know that if I have a positive event planned in the future, it affects my mindset and work ethic. Whether it’s a family vacation, a college reunion, a day at the beach, or a night at the movies, having a fun engagement on the calendar tends to give me a little extra energy.
TIP# 6: Plan a fun event for the future. It will likely give you an added boost of motivation.
Even if the event is several months out, it’s nice to have that incentive to eat well, to maintain my fitness regimen or to push my level of productivity at work. I love what I do and I’m perfectly happy with my daily life, but having an extra something special planned tends to give me an increased boost of positivity in the back of my mind.
Everyone’s lives are unique. In this complex and fast paced world, we all face the challenge of how to appreciate each day and find consistent satisfaction in our lives. I personally believe it’s about each one of us finding our own individual way to balance the leading components of our life. It’s about making sacrifices and being self-assertive. All of these components can help balance each other. For example, you can clear up negative feelings by going for a hike or doing something spontaneous. You can spend more quality time with your family by working a charitable event together. Or you can energize yourself by changing up a daily routine. At any given time, there are life challenges that arise. Find your best way to manage and balance these fluctuating elements of your life.
Contact: Kristen Kjellman Marshall | 603.402.1711 | firstname.lastname@example.org