Work-life balance. It’s the catchphrase of the new millennium and yet we’re still debating whether it’s even possible; is there such a thing? And, has it helped us find a better life or just placed more pressure on us to achieve some kind of imaginary perfection?
Sometimes I feel we often miss the point. Finding balance in life is a deeply personal and individual pursuit and – like the world around us – that balance is constantly changing.
I think very few of us achieve the state of nirvana that balance implies, but I do think the process of reassessing what matters and what brings you happiness, as well as setting goals and boundaries, is an essential and implicit part of living life by design rather than by default.
Of course, there are times when we can’t change our lot, or times where it seems change will never come, and that’s when it’s really important to ask for help.
I asked for help when I started my website ‘Balance by Deborah Hutton’. I asked a lot of women (and some men) how they navigated life’s journey and their answers were inspiring, humbling and insightful.
In fact, my good friend and qualified life coach Lyndall Mitchell has a written a whole book about how to transition from chaos to calm.
Here are some of Lyndall’s top tips for finding balance and improving your confidence:
Make a vision board of this chapter of your life: Put pictures on the board of everything that inspires you.
Create a life plan for this chapter: What is the focus, and how will you ensure that this focus is a part of your life?
Delve into personal interests and hobbies: Don't wait until you retire! Hobbies and personal interests can fire up your passion, creativity and zest for life.
Practise Gratitude: Journal every day about three things you are grateful for. Gratitude is the fastest way to fill your tank with confidence and happiness.
Meditate daily: Honour where you are in this stage of your life and be fully present for this chapter.
And here are a few of my personal tips to help point you in the right direction through this next phase of your life.
1. Take it easy on yourself
Funnily enough, this is often easier said than done. Being balanced is in no way being calm, relaxed and content all of the time!
Balance often occurs only for a fleeting moment, but with practise it can reappear over and over again. Think of yourself as practising balance because it’s kind of like learning to ride a bike. You often hear ‘it’s good to fall’ – the same is true in life. Of course, we will lose our way and get off course, but with practise you will find your perfect balance again and again.
2. Do what you love and love what you do
This one sounds like a no brainer, but if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Instead of churning through endless lists of daily tasks, prioritise what you love to do and make it your mission.
3. Break away
Everyone has a dream holiday in their head. Why not just make it happen? Start a mood board with all the places you want to visit and things you want to do. On a rough day, it will always be a good reminder of what you are aiming for.
4. Give yourself some headspace
Let me guess… Your morning alarm goes off, you immediately roll over and check your device for any messages, emails, notifications, social media updates – and the list goes on!
In this day and age, we’re spending hours upon hours in front of screens and we’re contactable 24 hours a day. You can’t possibly find balance if you don’t consciously set aside time to step away from your devices, regain focus and become more productive.
Make time for yourself every day, in a quiet meditative state, to relax and check in with yourself.
Finding balance can be tricky at the best of times, but with some gentle guidance, a little bit of planning (and a lot of tweaking), the results can lead to a healthier, happier and more fulfilled you.
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Deborah Hutton is a television presenter, former magazine editor, entrepreneur, author, speaker and Australian media personality. Facing 50 and the shock of being diagnosed with a serious skin cancer, Deborah spent more than a year assessing and redefining herself and realised along the way, women not only needed support but also wanted to connect and talk. As a result, she launched her digital media community ‘Balance by Deborah Hutton’ in 2011.
For more from Deborah Hutton, check out The Check Up’s dedicated section.