Balancing Activities – Free or $20 or less
Are you out of Balance? Stressed out? Yes, you answer immediately, head hanging, shoulders drooping in desperation. So what are you doing about it? Balancing your life is a journey. It isn't something that is going to happen overnight. You will have to make conscious efforts on your part, efforts that need to be repeated on a regular, continual basis. As you take the journey, you may find that when you take two steps forward, you end up taking one step back. Don't worry, that's just the way life is. But don't give up before you start because the task seems too overwhelming. Take it one step at a time. Start slowly and take baby steps in balancing your life.
It is often little things that most bring you the most joy and balance - time to self, time to play, time to relax. And yet it is simply too easy to forget that. We all have things on our to-do lists. The lists are seemingly endless. Work list, home lists, play lists...lists, lists and more lists. Some of the lists are written while others float around the recesses of our brains, keeping us awake at night, robbing us of time needed to relax and recoup.
There's always an excuse at hand. Not enough time is probably the most common. If we don't have time to do all the things on our lists, how can we find time for balance? Finding time is always going to be an issue. It's how creative you can be in making the time for balance. The more time you make for balance, the more time you'll find to do other things. It's a circle of energy. When you are more balanced you have the focus and the energy to do other things, things that bring you joy and things that bring you more balance into your life. But when you are out of balance, your energy is simply not there. We are so busy taking care of other people (children, spouse, partner employees, parents and friends) that we forget to take care of ourselves. And yet, YOU are the person you requires your utmost personal care and attention.
Taking a vacation alone will not create life balance. A vacation clearly is a balancing activity, especially if you can avoid checking in with work via phone or email. But a vacation costs money, even "staycations" where you explore the city where you live. If not having time isn't your excuse, maybe not having money is. As Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame used to say, "It's always something!"
And in this economic climate of lost jobs and tight pocketbooks, money may just trump time in terms of excuses for not doing the things in your life that bring you balance. So to help remind you of some of the little things that can add balance to your live, I've provided you with a short list of some balancing activities that are free or cost less than $20.
Read a Good Book: Escape into the world of mystery, suspense, romance, adventure and real life. Curling up with a good book is therapy for the brain. Learn about others and learn to help yourself. Simply escape into fictional plots and characters created to entertain or perhaps even inspire. Join a book club and share your thoughts and reactions. Share books you enjoy with friends. Wander the bookstore or check out the local library. Make time to read!
Volunteer your Time: Give of yourself to those in need. Believe in a cause and champion it into result-oriented action. Serve on a board and strut your stuff. Be selective in choosing which committees and organizations you want to join.Use your skills and talents to benefit an organization's purpose, including talents that have nothing to do with your day job. Do merely because doing gives you a gratified sense of fulfillment. Expect nothing in return and your rewards will be great.
Go for a Walk: Appreciate your surroundings on the balls of your feet instead of the seat of your pants! Be good to our heart and increase the pace. Listen to music or be present and focus on your surroundings. Walk on the beach, wander your neighborhood or in the park. Explore new environments by walking, not driving. Be good to your feet and wear appropriate shoes. Push the stroller, walk the dog, take time to think or walk and talk with a friend. Enjoy the view and have fun too!
Phone a Friend: Who but a good friend knows just how to make you laugh or lets you bare all without judging you? If you can't make time to get together or live in different cities take time to phone a friend. Schedule a phone date via emails to avoid telephone tag. Sometimes, simply hearing their voices is just what the doctor ordered. You may not win a million dollars in doing so, but you are sure to feel like a million bucks!
Get a Manicure: Buff, file, soak, shape and paint! Short nails suddenly look longer. Dry skin is moisturized and massaged. It's a reasonably priced treat that you can give yourself weekly, bi-weekly or just for a special occasion. Coordinate colors with your clothes or lips or maybe just your mood of the moment. Real men get manicures too! Give yourself this simply indulgence that makes your hands look and feel marvelous.
Bathe Luxuriously: Listen as warm water flows from the spigot while bubbles cascade around you. Permit the stress to release from your body as you let yourself sink into the depth of the tub. During your luxurious float, indulge yourself with simple bath products that smell good and make you feel great. Allow the embryonic rhythm of the water to transport you out to sea, miles away from your woes.
Cultivate a Positive Attitude: Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Keep your chin up and go with the flow. A positive mental attitude helps even the keel and keeps you going and growing stronger for the long haul which is life. There is nothing to be gained by being negative, so simply try to be positive.
Know How to Listen: Good communication requires not just talking but listening too. Hear what someone has to say and is truly asking for. Wait before responding even though the natural temptation is to reply in turn, often interrupting before the thought is even complete. What you give in live, you get back. Learn to listen and you, in turn, will be heard.
Enjoy a Lazy Day: Time to do what you want to do; nothing at all or everything at once. It's a day for you to touch base at home or a day to laze on the couch. It's a day for you to read a magazine or tear through a novel. A day to talk on the phone or pray it never rings! A day to rent a movie(s) or organize a photo album, sew on buttons or watch sports on television for hours on end. A day of your making, be it your "to do" list or simply a come what-may day! A day just for you!
Balancing you life is about work and play, friends and family, heart and soul and mind and body. These are 9 of the 66 ideas presented in my book Life is a Balancing Act...a fun book. These activities will help add balance to these areas of your lives. Think outside the box and personalize your own list. Start small so you are sure to succeed. Then aim higher without taking away all that you've already done for yourself. Yes, another list. But this one's just for you. This one you'll want to complete. This one will make you happy! Call it your Balance Sheet if you will, the things that will help bring balance to your life. And the only numbers relevant on this balance sheet is #1 - YOU!