Living a life of balance is extremely essential in order to be productive, stress-free and happy. It’s normal to get so caught up in our worries and our routines that we forget to take care of ourselves. Here are seven simple ideas to “change up” your regular stressed-out routine for something that will help you live a balanced and happy life.
1. Make time for yourself and family by leaving your work at the office.
Dr. Bob Kelso on the hit TV series, Scrubs, was an expert of this principle. Each day, when Kelso left work the camera would zoom in on his face as soon as he stepped out of the hospital and took his first step onto the parking lot, his face shifted from stressed-out disdain for his job to happy, smiling and often whistling. He was off the clock and ready to relax at home.
It can be tempting to work on work stuff at home. It’s easy to respond to another email or sort through your work stuff for a document. Instead, you may be happier if you forget about all your work stuff and simply leave those things at work. Dump your work stuff physically and emotionally at the office and forget about it. Get comfortable at home. Take a bath or a shower, if this helps to relax you. Get into PJs or whatever clothes that you’re most comfortable in by doing this you are creating a balance immediatly from work to home, supporting you to live a happier life.
2. Spend time cleaning and straightening up.
Clutter is stressful. Calm your life by calming the house and canning the clutter. Keeping up with chores sounds painfully odd, but if you slowly step-by-step clean up after yourself and your home, it will be a more calming place to be. After you come in the door, give yourself time to unwind and have dinner, then tackle one chore. Get it out of the way so you can really relax when it’s done.
3. Enjoy one of your hobbies.
Whether this is having a drink, reading a book, listening to music, going outdoors for some light exercise or calling a friend for some chit-chat. The importance is to do something for you. We all need some time for “me” to escape every once in a while. Involve friends or family by playing a game together. This could be board games, cards, video games, apps on tablets/phones, crosswords, etc. If games do not work for you, find something to watch that will make you laugh more. Watch a funny TV show, movie or comedy routine. Laughing 100 times a day is equal to doing a 10 minute rowing exercise!
4. If you don’t feel like cooking, don’t. Take a day off!
Order out, have pizza delivered, pick up something on your way home from work or have your significant other do something kind by cooking for you.
5. Dwelling on worries, anxieties or stress will not help.
The old Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t worry, be happy” comes to mind here. Spend a few minutes to an hour once a week, sitting down and writing down all of your stress. Then challenge yourself to forget about the worries for the rest of the week. The rest of your day and week can then be free from worries!
Similarly, plan one night a week or every other week to do bills and errands; this way you don’t have to worry and stress over finances every night. Relax the rest of the month; you will sleep better and be happier.
6. Get six to eight hours of sleep every night!
This may be the most important (and difficult) thing anyone can do to live healthier and happier. During deep REM sleep, the brain re-charges with serotonin, which is a gas for the brain and makes us happy. Go to bed earlier if you have to. You will want to make your bedroom as comfy as possible. If you need absolute dark to sleep well, invest in blackout shades for the windows. If you need total quiet, put in earplugs before trying to fall asleep. If earplugs do not work, turn on a fan for white noise or play relaxing music or natural sounds like waves crashing or water falling. Set the heat or air conditioning to the perfect temperature for restful sleep. So many studies show the importance of sleep!
7. Try a relaxation method.
For some people, yoga is an extremely peaceful activity. It combines a lot of other great techniques such as relaxed meditation, breathing techniques and muscle relaxation. I usually cover these three in detail. Here are a few alternative relaxation methods you may not have heard of before:
- Use your imagination to come up with a world that is different, one where you are happier and relaxed. If you could wake up to this world, what would that look like? Journal this. This is your peaceful place.
- Stop buying possessions, start buying experiences. Spend quality time with those that you love. These earthy possessions do not last anyway!
- Give. Volunteer, pay for the person behind you at a store, cook a surprise meal for someone, or give someone a gift outside of Christmas or their birthday. Doing kind acts and helping people helps you to feel better.
- Simply focus. The age of multitasking is wearing thin on our minds. And science is showing that multitasking does not work as well as we first imagined it would. Did you know that being distracted makes you unhappy? There is a powerful direct connection between focus and happiness.
- Be thankful for what you have. A grateful mind is more positive. And then smile. Yes, it sounds strange, but it is true. Smiling, with real smiles that include your eye socket (not just your mouth), is also proving to increase psychological health. This is the “fake it until you make it” attitude. Even if you are not feeling it, a smile will help you and other people around you.
I hope this has provided you with some helpful ways in which you can improve your work-life balance and overall happiness.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!