Many people struggle with their mental health as a result of not having a well-balanced lifestyle. However, ensuring that you have a good, balanced life, is not always easy and there are a lot of people who do not understand the importance of this; let alone where to start!
Having a balanced life, starts with you! You are in control of your own life, you are the only person who can change the balance that you have for the better.
There are various aspects to life, some more complex than others but all important in their own way.
Take a look at this Balance Wheel. It has seven sections; each important to have for a balanced life. But what does each section mean? I, for one had no idea what would come under the category of spirituality and a sense of purpose… so let’s look into each category in more detail.
Spirituality and Sense of Purpose:
This is how we heal ourselves when we are feeling down, how we pick ourselves back up and nurture ourselves. This may come naturally to some people, but for others, this may be easily neglected. This category therefore focuses on self-care and finding yourself again after a set-back. This may look very different for each individual as we are all unique and take pleasure from different things. You may enjoy spending time in nature, by taking walks every day or finding new places to explore every once in a while. You may enjoy listening to podcasts or reading a book curled up in your favourite armchair and wrapped up in a cosy blanket. You may change your style, have your hair done or buy an entire new wardrobe. However you choose to spiritually fulfil yourself, it is important not to forget to do it! You matter, more than anything else that is happening in your life right now, your self awareness, spirituality and purpose are the most important.
Do you do enough in order to feel spiritually fulfilled?
Rate this section based on how good you think you look after your mental health and fulfil your spiritual needs.
Rest and Sleep:
This category more or less speaks for itself! But how much rest and sleep should the average person be getting in order to be the best version of themselves?
According to the Sleep Foundation we need less sleep as our bodies age, they have provided a table showing the amount of sleep that is expected across various age groups:
As you can see, on average an adult should aim to have a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, in order for their bodies to recuperate and for them to feel refreshed and ready to face the new day ahead of them. Sleep is not just to ensure that we do not feel tired; it also has many other benefits:
– Helps to reduce levels of stress
– Improves your attention and concentration
– Can help to keep your heart healthy
– Can help you to maintain a healthy weight
– Can improve emotional wellbeing and mental health
Rate this section based on how well you think you are sleeping and how well-rested you feel.
Good Nutrition and Exercise:
Eating well is important and can have many benefits. I am not saying we all need to eat like rabbits and never touch anything sweet or fatty. In fact, my diet is not perfect, but it is fairly good! I try not to eat fast food often and when we cook at home we make things such as rice, pasta, chicken, vegetable stir-fry and genuinely healthy, nutritious meals. However, I do enjoy chocolate, sweets and the odd fizzy drink! There is nothing wrong with having treats and sweet things, but we should try to do so in moderation.
Healthy eating has multiple benefits, not only does it keep us physically healthy, reducing the risks of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses that can have an impact on our quality of life. Eating well can also make us feel better within ourselves, improving our mental health.
In regards to exercise, again I am not saying that everyone needs to hit the gym four times per week! Simply going for a walk, doing some yoga or having a good dance is good exercise. Exercising, again, does not only have physical benefits. When we exercise our body releases endorphins, making us feel happy. Exercising is very beneficial for mental health, however getting the motivation to work out in the first place, may not be so easy.
Rate this section based on your own nutritional intake and the amount of exercise that you do.
Family and Friends:
This category refers to how much we interact with our family, friends and loved ones. This could be as simple as a phone call, or a coffee date. Socialising is important, taking a break from your schedule and spending time with people who are important to you is good for the soul. We all need to talk to someone about the things going on in our lives, we all need some company and a good laugh or a shoulder to cry on… so make time for this to take place! Check in on one another, make time for each other and do the things that you love the most, with the best company.
Rate this section based on how much you talk to friends and family and how often you see them. You can also base this on how strong you think your relationships are with these people at the moment.
Work, Finances and Career:
Income has a great impact on our lives. Whether you work and earn for a living or if you are receiving benefits, money does become important. Although it is true to say that money cannot buy you happiness, it does keep a roof over your head and food on the table; both of which are essential for a good and healthy life.
But are you working all of the hours under the sun? Are you being paid a fair wage for the work that you do? Do you enjoy your job? Do you feel appreciated and cared for in your job? Sadly, a lot of people would reply negatively to these questions. Yes, you need money, but does your mental health need to suffer for it? If you do work in a job that brings you down and drains every inch of your soul from your body, it is important that you use your days off and your spare time wisely. Sometimes after a long day in work, you couldn’t think of anything worse than socialising with others… but most of the time if you go ahead and do it anyway, you end up having a good time. Take time out for yourself, look after yourself and if you are unhappy, look for a new job! It is never too late to start over somewhere new.
Building a career takes time, effort, commitment and motivation. This may be time-consuming and tiring, but worth it in the long-run! Again, taking a break does not mean that you are slacking or falling behind, you cannot work to your best potential if you are not looking after yourself in between.
Rate this section based on how happy you are in your job right now, how happy you are with your finances and the way in which your career is progressing.
This section is about education. No, this does not mean that you are currently in education at the moment, it is looking at the different ways in which people learn on a day-to-day basis. How do you stimulate your brain and maintain or expand your intelligence?
Do you keep up with the news, do you watch the headlines on the tv or do you read them online or in a newspaper? Do you research things that you find interesting and learn more about them? Do you write in a journal or draw in a book? Do you talk to different people, listen to them, have debates, negotiate, compromise or problem solve? All of these things stimulate our brains and can build upon our intelligence. You do not have to be a rocket scientist, a doctor or a teacher in order to be branded intelligent. People can be intelligent in various ways. We can all learn something new from each other if only we took the time to do so.
Rate this section based on how well you believe you stimulate your intelligence. Do you do the same things each and every day, or do you change things up and keep your brain ticking?
Creativity and Play:
Are you a creative person, do you come up with new idea’s and activities to take part in? Do you take time out of your day to do something fun? Maybe you like to unwind with a colouring book, or maybe you enjoy photography and keeping a scrapbook? This section focuses on your creative hobbies, things that you do just for you and your own satisfaction. Maybe you like to take part in fun, spontaneous group activities such as paint balling or go-karting, maybe you enjoy going to the gym and working out. We all express ourselves in different ways and we all enjoy a wide range of activities that we deem as fun! However, many of us do not do these things as often as we would like to do.
Rate this section based on how much you channel you inner creativity and how much you go out and enjoy yourself, doing things that make you smile.
Seven categories to try and balance out, may appear to be overwhelming, however, all I ask is that you rate each section to see which area’s need a little bit of extra love and care. When you see which areas are suffering, focus on them! Try and make more time for them, pick up old hobbies again, speak to an old friend, change your habits and create new ones. One small step at a time can make a huge difference.
I myself am aware that some areas of my balance wheel are on the verge on not existing! This week I made the decision to go back to the gym and start working on my physical and mental health again. I have been to the gym twice this week and I am already planning my third session. I have also started using the sun beds every now and again and it is amazing how such a small amount of relaxation time can improve your mental health. Those of you who know me will know that I do not tend to tan very well, but I have the slightest tan and it has boosted my body confidence. I am hoping that with going to the gym again I will start to feel happier within my body and then I can start working on other aspects of my life.
We all need some self-love and kindness but if the rest of our lives are unbalanced, we can still struggle and suffer in other ways. So, how are you going to start balancing your life? Where are you going to start? Let us know in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for some interactive Instagram stories!