Last month, September 2017, I was travelling through Bali when my taxi driver made a very interesting comment and really got me thinking.
As we drove along the small, crowded streets with the dense jungle on either side there was one tall building sticking out above any trees — higher than anything else around it.
He pointed to the building and said something along the lines of, “Do you see that building? It has brought up so much conflict in our city.” After seeing the confused look on my face, he continued on. “This is the tallest building in the entire city, higher than any tree, it is not natural and its height throws our whole environment out of balance.”
He paused, and asked me, “How can we live in harmony if our environment is out of balance?”
That last statement really struck me. I am from the U.S. and everything we have pushes to be bigger, faster, better. We don’t think about keeping our world in balance, we strive to have the most or the best.
More than just our cities being out of balance in many ways, my own life is out of balance in smaller ways. I work too much, sleep too little, don’t see my friends enough, over eat and my room is a constantly cluttered. It’s no wonder I feel so overwhelmed, stressed and out-of-balance when the world I am living in is not in balance either.
Have you heard of work life balance? Most Americans, including myself, are constantly trying to find a balancing point between work and play. We are expected to do the most, because if we don’t someone else will. Competition is bred into our society and we think we’ll feel happier when we have more, but that only leaves us exhausted, run-down and still craving more.
The key to finding balance is to understand what you need to feel content.
Here are 5 tips to help you find balance + reduce stress in your life:
Declutter - If your room is messy you’re going to feel a lot more overwhelmed because you’re living in a cluttered environment makes it more difficult to find things you’re looking for, If something in your room does not serve a purpose nor does it bring you joy, then it’s time to let it go. A great book about decluttering and organizing is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Develop an effective morning ritual - Waking up a little bit early and allowing yourself some quiet time to get grounded will help set a calm tone for the rest of your day. You can make your morning routine even more effective by answering these three questions:
What are you grateful for? This gets your mind focused on positivity and abundance, by recognizing what you do have.
What is your intention for the day? This will help keep you focused, motivated, and moving forward with your daily life. Even if you want a lazy sunday, set your intention as having a restful day and see how much easier it is to relax.
What are your top three priorities today? Identify your priorities and then focus your day on getting those done.
A great tool to getting your day started and ending your day is The Five Minute Journal. It has quick, short journal prompts designed to help you live your most productive and fulfilling day.
Get the most important thing done first - Similar to above, if you only had time to do one thing today, what would it need to be to feel productive? Get that thing done first. The activities we put off, give us the most anxiety. Likewise, if there is something you don’t want to do, do that first. By the end of the day you will feel accomplished and stress-free.
Leave your work at work - This is important. How often do you come home from work and continue to think about what you need to be doing or are constantly checking your phone + emails? This can be difficult but understand that work is for work, and no where else is. It’s kind of like the idea that you only sleep in your bed, you don’t eat or read in it. To help you leave your work at home, make a list at the end of the day of what you need to do tomorrow. Creating a list will help you stop thinking about what you need to do later. Secondly, when you show up to work the next day you will know exactly what you need to do and where you need to start so you don’t waste a lot of valuable work time.
Focus on one task at a time - We are living in the age of multitasking. It can be difficult but train yourself to do only one thing at a time. If you have not finished your current task at hand, don’t check your phone, facebook or emails. Set aside time in your day to look at your phone or scroll through facebook. You will find yourself a lot more focused, productive, stress-free and present with other people.
Start incorporating these 5 tips into your daily life and begin to feel more balanced and less stressed.
Want to take these methods one step further? Sign up for our FREE GUIDE on How To Be Zen AF and receive 10 daily tips to living your most stress free and fulfilling life.
Stay Calm, Stay Cool
Monique from Zen AF