I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “it’s all about balance.” I’m sure you can relate and have probably said this to yourself a few times. It’s something I used to whole-heartedly believe and live by until I realized something very important… that striving for a “balanced” life was doing me more harm than good.
How’s this possible? How could something so positive and uplifting be unpractical or worse, harming? I understand this may sound odd but give me a chance to explain. In today’s blog I share 5 reasons why I stopped trying to live a balanced life, and basically why I don’t believe in it anymore (get ready, this is a good one).
Why I stopped trying to live a balanced life.
Reason 1: I realized a perfectly balanced life did not exist.
When was the last time you achieved perfect balance in life? Take a minute to really think about this question. Whether it’s in your eating habits, exercise, family time, work life, and so forth; when were all these things ever perfectly balanced? Most likely never, right?
If you did find an example, how long did the balance last? Not very long? Then why the need and stress of trying to achieve something that will never truly exist?
Reason 2: I wanted to become more open to change.
When we’re constantly doing the run around in our minds of trying to achieve balance, we become so inclined to perfect the things we do in order to balance them all out. Take for example this train of thought,
“I have to balance X & Y in order to achieve Z, and I’d like to achieve this by the end of the month so I really don’t have time for any change. Once X & Y are balanced I’ll see what I have room to change.”
I’ve been in this train of thought and it’s not fun. Reality was and is that X & Y never become balanced thus leading me to feel like I had limited time for change. When change did occur, it made me feel like I was going off track and at times I became hard on myself to disrupting the balance.
Essentially, the pursuit of balance become a tail chase, and the thoughts and unachievable balance left me feeling constrained. In my opinion, change is not something we make time for instead it’s something that occurs (sometimes when we least expect it), and trying to balance life did not leave room for me to more willingly accept it. Hope I haven’t lost you yet. This may sound far-fetched but putting myself outside this balanced driven box allowed me to really understand how openly accepting change worked.
Reason 3: I wanted to be more willing to try new things.
Similar to Reason 2, trying to constantly live a balanced life kept me from exploring activities outside my balance-bubble. My focus was on balancing multiple priorities; limiting my options, personal growth, and openness to start something new. Shifting my focus from pursuit of balance to happiness enabled me to introduce new ways of thinking, new approaches and pass-times. I stopped feeling the need to balance everything and became open to trying something new without feeling as though it was interfering with another part of my life. It became ok (and fun) to branch out.
Reason 4: It took so much pressure off!
As I write this post I’m beginning to understand how all of the Reasons I list truly tie in together. Giving yourself the opportunity to be real with yourself, be open to change, and try new things takes so much of the pressure off. Why pressure yourself to create balance that may never exist? Why not go with the flow more often? Why not try something new? Why not go on a sporadic self-care adventure? Why not give yourself room to breathe? Why not be ok with an imperfect day/week/month? Why not shift priorities as you see fit? Why not put emphasis on what makes you happy more often? Why not let go of anxiety or fear that everything will fall apart (p.s. it won’t)?
We have so many pressures in life, why add one more that is literally impossible to achieve?
Reason 5: I stopped being disappointed in myself.
This reason is very important friends. The moment I stopped trying to achieve a perfectly balanced life was the moment I stopped being disappointed in myself. Countless times I used the following thought as a crutch, “I just have to balance this and that and it’ll be fine.” Fast forward a week or two where zero balance was achieved because life did happen and I began to question…
Had I spent too much time eating out?
Had I not exercised enough?
Had I not spent enough time with loved ones?
Had I spent too much time on technology?
Had I not invested enough time in self-care?
It was unbalanced day after unbalanced day. Disappointment, questions, self-doubt, trying harder to balance more, and basically being disappointed in not being able to fully balance everything.
My reality check.
The reality check came years ago after a conversation with a friend about the idea of balanced living and how it’s literally impossible to achieve, and the stress felt from constantly trying to achieve it. “True balance doesn’t exist, stop living your life by it and just go with the flow.” my friend explained. In this moment I felt a weight lift. A part of me also felt mislead from all the “balance is key” inspirational articles/blogs I had read. Why hadn’t I told myself this before? Why hadn’t someone smacked me in the face with the truth sooner? Why had I created this “balance is the answer to everything” Type A crutch for myself? The moment of realization was very real.
Going with the flow?
I began to really think about the concept of going with flow. I felt like it helped me breathe. I began to understand that everything did not need to be balanced in order to live a happy life. I began to stop caring about striving for balance, at times even cringing when I heard the word.
For myself, balance like most things became a task, something I had to do in order to feel accomplished and organized. I realized this was actually holding me back and although it was keeping me at arms-length with my priorities, it was also leaving me confined and wrapped in a web of doubt and unease.
My ambitions, goals, pieces of life were all surrounded by the idea of keeping balance; something I would never (even on a great day) achieve. I let the practice of balance drown with its stress and anxieties. My thoughts became so much more positive. I began to tell myself, “just go with the flow Fay, you know what your priorities are, you know what makes you happy… just live life. What’s the worst that can happen?” Had supporting my mental health just become that simple? Yes.
Life, live it.
I removed the “b” word from my life about 3 or so years ago and I’ve always wanted to share why I did. If I can help one person stress a little less, feel a little better, understand a little better, by sharing these thoughts/advice than that’s more than enough for me. Ridding the pursuit of balance from my life was a life-changing experience. I began to feel relieved, at ease, and at peace with how my days went. It felt ok to make mistakes, to not be perfect, and not try to perfectly layout priorities. Today, I feel less stressed in my day-to-day life and can only hope this post has inspired you to think openly about the pursuit of happiness over balance.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share in the comment section below or with me on social media.
Helping you put Wellness 1st,