There will never be a moment when you can say to yourself, "Sweet! I'm balanced now," and hang up your yoga mat, meditation cushion, or whatever prop you use in your quest to bolster your wellbeing. That's why we all need some signs to let us know when were getting off course in our self-care efforts. We need a balance benchmark.
For me, a sign that I am leading a relatively balanced life is when Im eating at least one meal a day that I prepare at home. Because I work from home, this is an attainable goal for me. Although I'm no chef, I love to cook. I love the creativity it requires, and that I get to use my hands for something other than typing. My inner neat freak is also soothed because I make a huge mess and then clean it all up again. And best of all, I get to eat something completely delicious (and generally, nutritious) that I know was made with love. If I go more than a day or two without eating a home-cooked meal, I take it as a sign that I need to build some breathing room into my schedule. I'm not absolutely rigid with this principle: on really busy days, I consider toast and a cup of tea a "meal". I just get back on track as soon as I can with something that involves dirtying a pan.
How do you know when you are living a balanced life? If you don't know how to answer that question, here are some ideas you could use to set your own balance benchmark. Feel free to adopt or modify as you please.
Balance Benchmark Ideas
- Dedicating time to practicing a hobby, whether it's a weekly knitting circle, 10 minutes in the garden every day, or an art class each season. Whatever you choose, devote yourself to doing it consistently.
- Spending time alone each day.
- Spending time outside each day.
- Keeping a regularly scheduled date with a favorite family member or friendwhether it's a phone call, lunch, or other date. (Email doesnt count.)
- Taking walks just for fun, with your pet, a family member, or on your own.
- Gathering the troops for a family dinner.
- Eating home-cooked meals.
- Spending daily quality time with your pet.
And remember, you only need one! No sense stressing yourself out with a list of things you feel you MUST do every day or else. Life is hectic enough. Whatever you choose, let it work for you instead of against you.