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How To Live A Balanced Life [It Takes 5 Things…]

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON April 3, 2022

& FILED IN Self Care 


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Living a balanced life in todays fast paced world can be so hard to achieve – it feels impossible, doesn’t it?

I’m sure you try each and every day to do a bit of everything you feel you should be doing – but life gets in the way.

We try our best, but all those day to day tasks can take over all too easily and we get bogged down in the small stuff rather than looking at the bigger picture.

Let me ask you a question – at the end of everyday, can you truly say that you have a balanced life – or are you just keeping your head above water?

This post will change the way you look at your life, and take you step by step through the 5 areas that create more balance. Are you ready?

How to live a balanced life - a great way to ensure that you are doing things that benefit all parts of your life everyday - use this acronym to make it easy

The Method To Make Balancing Life Easier

I was only a teenager when I came up within this acronym, but it’s stayed with me every day since – that’s how powerful it is, and I want to share it with you today.

Isn’t it strange how some things just follow you through your life, no matter what other things change?!

I was (still am) always thinking about things, how to be happier, how to get where I wanted to go in life, how to get everything done without losing my mind, how to get fit when I couldn’t run more than 100 metres without stopping for breath etc…. and my mind is still switched on permanently (if anyone out there has the OFF switch, can you lend it to me!).

It was in one of my sleepless nights that I started to think that it must all be easier really – why make things hard for myself – just a few focused thoughts on the day would make me appreciate what I had achieved, focus me for the following day, and sort of say goodnight to the day.

It subconsciously makes me ready to start the next day afresh, and ready to make it count.

… and it’s worked for me every day since….

Just S.M.I.L.E – It’s The Key To A Balanced Life

I wanted to have something that would be easy to remember, and that went through all the parts of my life that were important – and that’s when it hit me!

When life is going well, when you’re happy – you smile.

So – to judge whether I was happy in my life, – I created the acronym “S.M.I.L.E”.

It really helps to balance my life and the results were a happier, smiling self! – perfect!

What Does S.M.I.L.E Stand For?

S = Socialising

M = Managing my Home

I = Income 

L = Leisure 

E = Energy

The idea is – if you can do AT LEAST ONE THING from each area of S.M.I.L.E each and every day, then you will have lived a balanced life overall.

You won’t be able to neglect anything for long, as you will be constantly reminded of that fact.

So – no more skipping breakfast because you haven’t time, or missing the gym because work got in the way, or not seeing friends for months because you’ve not booked anything in – you will start to be in control, see the bigger picture, and start creating a balanced life for yourself – easily!

It truly does work for me – so my challenge for you is to try it for yourself and MAKE YOURSELF S.M.I.L.E for the next week!

Let’s Break That S.M.I.L.E Down Into The Details…

So – you want more info? – the truth is that each area can be what you want it to be depending on your own life and circumstances – but I will go through each one and give you some ideas of what could be used: –

S is for Socialising

Part of living a balanced life is gaining a network around you of family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, etc… – your role in the world is not one, but many – think about it:-

e.g. Are you a mother, wife, partner, daughter, granddaughter, sister, auntie, niece, cousin, friend, colleague, neighbour, businesswoman, volunteer, group member, I could go on and on…..!

You have so much going on in your life that its no wonder life can be so full.

The key is to acknowledge these various roles, and plan out how you can feasibly spend time cultivating each and every relationship you have, without getting stressed along the way (or doing what we have all be known to do in the past and not seeing people for months or even years at a time….)

However, firstly we must get to grips with our good and bad relationships – as we will want to spend more time with the good, and less time with the bad (or more time making the bad the good! bear with me and I will explain!)

Good Vs. Bad Relationships

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family…

Now, while this is mostly true, there are so many exceptions to the rule that I can’t help but think that we are in the midst of a huge social change in our lives.

In days gone by we used to rely on our family so much more, they always lived close by, helped with childcare, and were more often than not dropping by daily. Our partner was usually someone that we grew up with, that lived close as well.

Nowadays we are much more likely to live away from our family (having left for Uni and never come back, or relocated due to a job move or a new partner etc…), and as such we tend to rely much more on our friends to be our family.

As such, I am considering ALL relationships together – as it really depends on your own circumstances as to who you class as your family!

I want to be quite analytical in looking at our relationships, as this is how I work – but I really think that its the easiest way to do it – and if you take the emotion out of things for a while you will be able to see things much more clearly than ever before.

So – first things first – get some paper and a pen and split the paper into 4 columns. In the left hand column, write down a list of ALL your relationships – anyone that you spend time with at present. This could take a while!

In the next column along, write down how often you see that person and how you spend time with them.

i.e.

MARK – Every Week at the pub

HANNAH – Once a month for coffee

CHLOE – Every 2 months we email

Then in the third column add a tick or a cross. This represents how you feel after you have contacted/seen that person. A tick means you are energised and happy, and a cross means you are worn out/stressed and generally not happy.

The last column is your “Going Forward” plan for that person.

You may want to continue as is – as this works well for you and you feel like you see them the right amount of time. You may want to see more of them or change how you see each other (i.e. you and your best friend may be used to a call every fortnight to catch up, but maybe you want to change it so you see each other once a month). Or lastly, you may decide that you don’t want to cultivate this relationship anymore, as its doing you more harm than good (can be just a friend who asks for favours all the time and doesn’t ever return them, or someone that always talks about themselves with no interest into your life etc…))

Being this analytical really does help you to see who is the most important in your life, who shouldn’t really be using up your time anymore, and also really highlights how often (or not!) you get to spend time with those that matter.

It simply shows you where your good and bad relationships are.

Balancing Your Time With People

Like most people you will find that you have so many people in your life its pretty much impossible to keep regular contact with everyone – but here are a few tricks to help you get more out of your time while still having loads of great relationships:-

1. Think In Groups!

Whether it be friends of family – why not socialise in groups? Have a BBQ for your whole family, or a night out with a group of friends. This makes catching up all the more easy, and probably means you get to spend more time more often with those you care about.

2. Prioritise Your Time

You have already identified people that are basically wasting your time – in that they make you feel low after you have seen them. Now’s the time to declutter them from your lives.

This is much easier to do with friends than family members, but is possible in any relationship.

Try to be less proactive for a while with sending out invites for meeting up – and at least lessen the number of meetings you have. Also, when you do socialise with them, try and make it for less time than usual, or mix with a group of friends so that you see others as well. For family members, only see them at family occasions for example.

This is hard, and quite cold, I know that and I understand that. But the fact is that these are people who you ar letting have a negative effect on your life, however small that may be. You need to do something about it. Think of it another way if this helps – what are you now able to do if you spend time with this person? Who else are you having to postpone?

Hiding a coffee mug that says 'but first coffee'
3. Use Social Media

In this day and age, everyone is pretty much on Facebook or twitter.

I am not saying that this should take the place of talking and meeting up – BUT if you are really struggling for time, why not ensure that all your friends are following you on one of these sorts of sites. That way they can see what you are up to, and you can keep in touch with whats going on in their lives as well.

You only have to update once, and everyone can see what you are up to.

It’s worth thinking about as a quick fix while you get yourself more organised. (Word of caution – you can spend MANY hours on social media if you let yourself – just use it quickly for a few minutes a day and it can work well for you)

4. Use Your Down Time To Your Advantage

I tend to use my driving time or when I go for a walk in the evening to make phone calls (hand free of course!). Its a great way to keep in contact with people, and you can even get a sort of schedule going so that you always speak to certain people on certain days of the week (I have recently noticed that after my Tennis Cardio class on a Tuesday I tend to always have a chat with my sis on the way home, the journey is about 25 mins which is a good amount of time – and we keep up to date with whats going on. If I had to find time when I was at home then I doubt that this would happen so regularly, as there is always something to be done at home that distracts…)

5. Make Sure You’re Keeping On Top Of Your Relationships

I mentioned a schedule in point 4 briefly. And although this seems to be an analytical way of doing things (welcome to my world!), it makes sense really.

When I am checking in at the end of the day and working through my S.M.I.L.E acronym, or checking my diary for upcoming plans, I find that it helps to have my list of people close to hand.

I can then quickly run down the list and ensure that:-

1. I have seen/spoke to them recently – or within our usual time frame

2. I have made plans to see them and they are in the diary already

This simply means I can maintain relationships, no matter how infrequent – and hopefully it stops me from neglecting anyone!

Making New Relationships

Over the course of life, you will meet new people, move house, join new clubs/groups etc… and people will naturally come and go from your life. This is the nature of relationships.

And its exciting!

However, I would like to think that now you are more aware of what relationships you have, what time you have, and what you need/want out of relationships, you will find it much easier to make new relationships.

You will also be a lot more aware of what you need from relationships.

For example, over the years I have come to term some people as “Fair Weather Friends” – people who want to be around you when the going is good, but are notably absent when times are tough. This is no problem if you are aware that they shouldn’t be the people you ring in a crisis, as you will only be disappointed. But knowing that they will be the life and soul of the party when you organise a night out means that the relationship is more geared towards having fun – and sometimes that can be just what you need!

I find that having a balance of people in my life always works well. People I can lean on, people that can lean on me, and people I have fun with – all work so well, and makes life much more interesting!

And thats’s the Socialising part of a balanced life. Hopefully you will have completed the actions we have talked about, and got much more to grips with your network of family and friends etc….

You will know what you want and what you need from your relationships, and also be much more aware of any relationships that you should let go, any that you aren’t spending enough time on, and any that are just right!

You will be more open to new relationships, and much less likely to be disappointed as you will be more aware of what kind of relationships you have with people.

And you should be able to more clearly keep up to date with catching up with people – not letting friendships drift, and making your social life part of your balanced life!

M is for Managing the Home

If you can say at the end of each evening that the house ran smoothly, everyone was where they needed to be (on time and with the right things), food was on the table, the house is clean and tidy (to whatever extent it needs to be) – then its been a successful day on the house front!

I hope that this series of posts helps you to think about what your priorities are, what your goals are for each part of S.M.I.L.E, and enables you to lead a more balanced life!

I know that having a balance has really helped me over the years.

How Do You Manage Your Home At The Moment?

If the answer to this is – “Manage – my home – WHAT?!” then read on!

Some people are great managers in the office, and then come home and don’t want the same regiment at home – they want to relax more. Others crave a more organised home, and just can’t seem to get there – and there are some that have found a way to organise themselves and their families with what seems like minimal effort.

There is no right or wrong way to manage your home, its what works for you that counts.

However, if you find that the way you are using just doesn’t get the results you want – then you may want to reconsider certain areas (and thats where this website comes in!)

Whether you want to run your home with military precision, or in a more relaxed way – it still needs running in some way! – and there will be systems that can help you.

And if systems sound like hard work – they’re not. You have to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed – you don’t even think about it but you do the same thing most days, and the result is that you are ready to go at a certain time. This is a system. Nothing difficult I’m sure you’ll agree! So, even those who want a more relaxed time of it and can’t be bothered putting systems into place, you need to ask yourself – how relaxing is it really when you are having to hunt for lost items, chase people to do chores etc…?!

Without a home that runs smoothly, everything else will be so much more difficult:-

  • With no clothes washing system in place – how will you manage to look good for work?
  • With no food system in place – will you always end up eating takeaway, or even skip meals?
  • Without a cleaning plan, how will you ever be able to find things you need?
  • Budget? Without one you may be in even more trouble than you thought……

All these things and a lot more besides can be helped if you manage the home well.

Lady cleaning the kitchen surfaces

How Can You Improve The Way Your Home Is Run?

Now, I’m not talking about housework taking over your life, or becoming a domestic goddess (although sometimes we can all dream!) – but simply to enhance your home by putting systems in place that will help good habits to form, and thus leave you with more time for the fun stuff.

Ideas for these (which are talked about in detail throughout this website) are as follows:-

  • Creating a schedule for cleaning and household jobs – and detailing when and by whom they are done
  • Following a budget
  • Delegating where appropriate – get everyone involved
  • Creating places for everything to go – so that people know where to find things
  • Setting up a paperwork area for incoming post etc…
  • Using a wallplanner and diary to ensure the family knows whats going on easily
  • Making things habits – so that they are done without thinking (just like cleaning your teeth)
  • Setting goals and working towards them
  • Sorting out clothes so you and the rest of the family always have something to wear
  • Decluttering regularly
  • Using a shopping list
  • Creating a home file

What Are The Benefits Of A Well Managed Home?

With our busy lives, we don’t want to be chasing our (and others!) tails all the time. We want freedom and more time to do the things that really matter to us – and this is very rarely to spend more time cleaning etc…!

As soon as you have more systems in your home then the home and everyone in it seems to be able to relax a little more. You are not the one that has to manage (aka NAG!) everything directly, and therefore there seems to be a lot less tension in the house.

And as soon as you have freed up some time, you can start to enhance all the other areas of your life – the benefits are three fold –

MORE ENERGY – energy for getting fit, playing with your children and living your life to the full etc…. (you don’t feel burdened by household tasks any longer)

MORE TIME – for a social life, for spending time with the family, for holidays etc….

MORE MONEY – for the non-necessities, and treats such as holidays and days out – or just for saving for emergencies (leaving you a lot less stressed if money is tight)

The key is to acknowledge that the house DOES need some amount of managing, to be able to run itself well, and then you are well on your way to a more relaxed version of you!

Whats The Right Way To Manage Your Home?

The right way is the way that works for you. Its the way that you can instigate systems and methods to do things, without rocking the boat too much, and the way that ensures these new systems are kept up for the long term (after all, its no good putting something in place only for it to cease after a couple of days).

Organising your home is an ongoing process – NOT a quick fix.

If you like living with lots of clutter, fine.

If you like saving your cleaning and doing a blitz each week, fine.

If you have a pile of post by the front door and you get to it when you’re ready (or when it falls down) , and that works for you – again, fine.

I am not saying to change everything – just what doesn’t work at present. As the saying goes – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Look at how your home runs, write down what works and what doesn’t – and then with those that don’t work in your mind, try to implement systems that will help get them working well for you again (and this website is a great place for inspiration!).

If you change just one thing that makes your day easier – then its worth it!

You will probably have been thinking about your own home when reading this – and perhaps already have a better idea of what you want to tackle there.

My advice is to add all of these to your TO DO list, and then to work through them as and when you have time. I always recommend starting with the things that are most affecting you – as you will see quicker wins this way and are more likely to continue the good work!

If you start to go through each area of S.M.I.L.E at the end of the day as a habit, then you will be thinking about your home much more than you probably ever have. Giving your home some thought as to how it runs, and how to make it run more smoothly, will now become part of your daily life – whether consciously or not.

Once you have started to think about it more, you can start to look at how you can make your life (and the rest of the households) easier.

Its a win-win situation, don’t you think!

I is for Income

Whether you work or not, ensuring that the house brings in some income is vital to staying happy – we all need enough to get by.

  • DO YOU WORK FOR SOMEONE? – Obviously your wage can count for this which is an easy win! You may also be able to earn overtime, get a promotion etc… – so it will help you to focus on extra ways to improve your income.
  • DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF ? – Use this as a gauge to how productive your day has been and to focus your mind on money earning tasks rather than busy tasks that don’t actually help overall.
  • ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MUM? – You have a vital role in your home’s income in that you can budget and make the money go further. Maybe you can save money – and that is just as much income for the house as any wage.

And there’s even more! – maybe you are preparing to earn an income in a different way – so you may be going through education or building a business – this can count for longer term income plans.

What Money Do You Have?

We need to look at what you have – so start by writing down anything you have in the following areas:-

  • Salary
  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Large saleable items (house, jewellery etc….)

Now you can be more aware of what you have – and see the clearer picture.

Yellow piggy bank

What Do You Need?

Creating a budget is key to being able to rest assured you can afford things each month. I am in the process of writing a budget sheet for my Home File documents (soon to be one sale – watch this space!) which you can use as a template for your own budget, but for now simply writing down everything you currently need to spend each month is enough to give a rough idea of where you are heading.

Write down anything like the following:-

  • Mortgage / Rent
  • Council Tax
  • Water
  • Gas / Electric
  • Phone
  • TV license
  • Cable TV
  • Mobile Phone
  • Home Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Car Service / Tax / MOT
  • Healthcare
  • Food
  • Socialising / Going out
  • Gym / Hobbies
  • Savings (I put here as a necessity as everyone should have savings if possible – for any unexpected emergencies – again this will help to alleviate stress on a day to day level)

Now hopefully if you take the total of your outgoings away from your incomings, there should be a positive number left. This can then be saved or spent as you see fit.

What May You Need In The Future?

You may have already written down or thought about your future as part of getting more organised, and you may have some big ticket items in your ideal life that you need to be prepared for in a financial way.

Things like moving house, having a family, starting a business – all need large injections of cash at specific points in life, and if you prepare for them as much as you can, then taking that step will be easy when the time is right – its one less thing you will need to worry about.

When I started to plan setting up my business, I was currently employed in a good job and there were opportunities there to do overtime etc… and save as much as possible.When we also moved 3.5hrs away this job was no longer an option, and so I started to use my skills to contract for a year. In this time I managed to earn more than in my previous job, and was therefore able to save enough to ensure I could pay the bills for a year without worrying. Had we not moved as well and had i not had my hand forced to look for different employment, i may not have saved as much and would have had more to worry about when I finally decided the time was right to go it alone.

Be Prepared…

Its not rocket science that if you are spending above your means you are going to get into trouble fast. What if the worst happens and you fall ill / lose your job etc…?

Ensuring your income is safe for as long as possible is paramount to getting organised.

If you have savings, try and keep at least 6 months of your income to one side, so that you have some breathing space should you need it. In todays world no job is secure, and no-one knows whats going to happen, so best to be prepared.

Maximise Your Incoming Money

Another great way of creating a safer and easier life for yourself is to maximise what incomings you currently have, and to create more if possible.

There are lots of ways to do this and here are a few ideas for you to think about:-

Maximise What You Currently Have
  • Can you reduce your bills at all? There are great deals to be had on most things at the moment if you can spend a few hours shopping around, and it could save you loads over the years.
  • Do you really need everything you spend on? Can you get rid of your landline if you only ever use your mobile? What about reducing food costs by planning meals and possibly even changing where you shop. Can you stop any subscriptions/memberships? All of these are quite easy wins, and won’t change your lifestyle that dramatically, but all add up quickly to big savings.
  • Are you spending a lot on childcare at present? Maybe its possible to get a couple of friends together and share childcare each week so that each of you are making savings, your children have others to play with, and its a safe environment. This works really well if you work part time and need after school or before school care.
  • Do you have skills that you could swap with others so you save money on things you can’t do yourself? i.e. can you babysit for a friend if their son washes your car once a week etc….
  • What about giving up your car and walking/cycling instead? You could get fit into the bargain! If things are too far away theres always buses or trains which will still work out much cheaper.
  • What do you have in your cupboards? A great test is to see how long you can go for without having to spend on food and toiletries etc… – most of us have far to much in the freezer and pantry, and bathroom cupboards – and this may just save you a months shopping bill each year – definately worth giving it a go (I find myself throwing out things from the freezer sporadically as they have been long forgotten – what a waste! – note to self must get freezer checklist written!)
Create New Income Streams
  • Can you get a raise, promotion or overtime in your current job?
  • Can you find a similar job that pays more elsewhere?
  • Can you do anything to earn extra money? Dog walking, cleaning, childcare etc… can all quite easily be fit around other commitments – Even something like ironing for a couple of extra families could bring in around £50 a week, and no its not everyone’s idea of fun, but if you can fit it around your schedule and its making a difference then why not! – you may otherwise just be sitting watching TV so its not a stretch to iron while watching it really! Think outside the box and you may surprise yourself.
  • What about starting up a business? When I set up my interior design business I lost count of the number of people who said they would love to do something other than the job they were in. Whats stopping them?! I retrained, and yes its hard work, but its SO worth it – you end up doing something you love, making money, and are able to work as much or as little as you need to at any given time (mine works really well around having children for example)
  • Do you have things around your home that you don’t need any more that could be sold? EBay is great for this! or a car boot sale.
  • Many people fund changes in their lives by juggling the possibilities a little. Selling your home and renting or downsizing may free up what is needed for example (you have made a note in the first section of the larger items that could be drawn on if required – its good to know what you have as you never know when you may need it)

To feel less stressed about money, you need to take stock of your situation – however good or bad it may be. Be honest with yourself about where you stand money-wise, and then make steps to improve it.

There are ways to make money if you need to, and ways to maximise what you currently have available – and thinking outside the box may well be eye opening!

Once you have income under control, and keep it in check daily, then you can free yourself up to do all the other things you want to do with your time and energy.

L is for Leisure

This is what I like to class as anything that helps EMOTIONAL HEALTH (the next letter is for PHYSICAL HEALTH!).

It’s what you do with your spare time – hobbies, pastimes, interests, me time and personal development – and can be thought of as LITTLE BIT OF TIME FOR ME as well. Anything you have done to relax, recoup, or just had some “Me Time” will work well in this section.

Living in todays fast paced world, where you are meant to be striving for success in relationships, family life, home life, career etc… and its very easy to forget yourself in the equation. Thats why I feel that it’s important to have a section in my S.M.I.L.E acronym that serves to embody everything that helps you to relax, and develop as a person.

I call it Leisure because it’s the area where you can prioritise fun time, and start to look ahead and plan how you want to live in the future.

Lady in jeans holding her leg sitting on table top

But I Can’t Just Look After What I Want, Can I?

Look after yourself and the rest will follow

Too many times I have heard people say that they don’t have time for themselves – theres always something more important to do / attend to in their lives, but my answer to that is that if you don’t look after yourself then you run the risk of not being able to help others as you may then suffer from burnout/depression etc…

After all – if you are not happy then everyone around you will be aware of this, and it can affect every part of your life.

So, lets tackle this area and see how we go – the aim is to make it a priority, as much as any of the other areas in your life – and I bet that out of all 5 of the S.M.I.L.E subjects (Social, Manage the House, Income, Leisure, Energy), this is the one that suffers the most from lack of time……

What Is The Perfect Scenario For My Free Time?

Think carefully about what you love to do – what makes you happiest, and what you would spend time on if you had more of it.

This could be ANYTHING really – heres a few examples to get you going:-

  • Joining a sports team
  • Learning a new skill
  • Complete relaxation time
  • Writing a book
  • Reading
  • Watching films
  • Theatre visits
  • Walking

Now, you may see that these naturally fall into 2 categories – those that are purely for fun, and those that help you to develop your skills. Both of these are crucial to having a rounded life, as its important to do things just for fun, but equally important to keep growing and finding out more about yourself as you never know what you may find out!

Fun Things!

Make time for fun in your life – do things just because you want to – and the key is DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.

If you have children and worry that you are not spending time with them, think about it this way, you will be a happier parent to be around when you are happy, and your children will also learn that everyone has their own things to do at times and thats a good thing as when you all do spend time together you may find its more quality time than ever!

Its also a great way to destress after a long day doing what you should/need to do. Its a way to rejuventate yourself and gain more energy for the rest of your life.

Everyone needs some fun in their lives!

Personal Development

And along with fun comes personal development. Learning new skills, finding out what you like to do, discovering new passions – its all there for the taking, and so often I hear people say that they wish they had done ……. if only they had the time / energy etc…..

Grab your wishes by the hand and go with it. Even if you only start to read about a new career, or buy an audio book to listen to in the car that will teach you a new language – its all steps in the right direction.

Think about where you want to be in 5 years time if you are finding this exercise difficult. Its amazing how many people have sort of forgotten they own selves when it comes to planning the future. Do you want to be in a new career, own a business, live abroad etc…. – work towards that in little steps starting NOW and you will have a real chance of getting there rather than looking back and regretting what could have been.

Where Can I Find The Time Though?

This is the biggest stumbling block on why people don’t do a little of what they love. Time.

However, I always say that you find the time to tackle an emergency when it unfortunately hits you, you find ways to fit in family demands and household jobs etc… – so treat this as you would any other demand on your time.

When you are planning your time, look at your week as a whole, and see where you are wasting time or where you can be more clever with your time (I am planning on writing a time management ebook early next year so watch this space if you need extra help!). Even creating more time in your day by getting up earlier or going to bed later is feasible.

It may be that you only need a few minutes a day to have some me-time, and maybe once a week a couple of hours for a new class or for a hobby.

Make these unavoidable appointments and you will start to fit them into your life – and prioritise them – don’t question whether you have the time – simply do it!

We all need some downtime to destress and build up our own sense of self.

To do this we need to prioritise ourselves within our own schedules.

So, look inside yourself, find out what makes you happiest, and work towards adding some of this into your life each day. You will thank yourself for it as you will find that every part of your life feels easier once you are happier in it!

E is for Energy

This is about your physical health, as I said before. So it’s focused on eating well (your 5 a day, drinking enough water, getting a balanced diet etc…), Keeping fit, and anything else you do to stay energised and maintain good physical health.

Because you’re actively asking yourself at the end of each day to think about what you’ve eaten and what you’ve done to keep fit, you are more likely to make better choices during the day – it works!

This is an area that many people let slip if they lack time, but its so important not to neglect yourself, as otherwise you’ll be no good to anyone else when you fall ill or are unable to help out when needed.

Looking After Yourself Is A Crucial Part Of A Balanced Life – It Means You’re Able To Live Life To The Full

So. lets look at the ways to increase your energy one by one:-

Eating Well

Eating well is one of the most important ways to help your keep your energy levels high.

We’ve all read that eating a balanced diet will help give you more energy, less stress, and less illness – but how can you do it quickly and easily in your daily life?

The trick is to plan as much as possible (Heres a link to my meal planning post where you can read more on how to plan your meals easily and quickly each month).

Also its worth remembering that eating well doesn’t have to be expensive, its another myth (don’t believe me? compare a banana to a bar of chocolate in price and see what I mean!) You don’t have to create weird and wonderful concoctions everyday, just be sensible and eat more natural foods where you can.

In the summer try and eat fresh fruit, veg and salads with every meal, and in winter try using them in soups, stews and casseroles – both will fill you up well and don’t have to cost lots.

If you are really strapped then a great trick is to shop last thing before a shop is closing as they reduce fresh produce at this time of night so you will get an even better bargain! You may find its actually cheaper than eating more ready made meals and jars.

So really – its simple (!) – create new habits in your daily life in order to eat better, change one thing a week or whatever you feel comfortable with, and reward yourself for a job well done – what about some of the following ideas:-

  • Drink a glass of water before every meal
  • Eat your 5 a day
  • Try a new fruit or veg each week
  • Add extra veg to things like pasta sauces (you can blend them up if you don’t want to see them!)
  • Use sweet potato instead of white potato – as this counts as a portion of veg whereas the white variety doesn’t
  • Use unprocessed meat where possible, and mix fish into your weekly menu for extra variety
  • Go vegetarian one or two days a week (its also a way to save money!)
  • Have puddings only once or twice a week as a treat
  • Have some alcohol free days every week (why not only have a drink at weekends for example)

Before long you will be on your way to a healthier you that can take on the world!

Keeping Fit And Healthy

Getting Fit is the other half of the coin so to speak.

If you are eating well then your body will thank you, but for it to be at its best, eating well is only half of the battle – you need to get moving!

Getting fit doesn’t have to mean sweating it out at the gym or running miles everyday (although it can if thats what works for you of course!), it means just keep moving more in your day to day life.

Walk when you can, play with your children, use the stairs, go dancing, cycle at weekends, clean your home vigorously – it all counts – and you’ll be amazed at the results. Whatever you do, try and vary it as then yo’ll be more motivated and feel more energetic (even the fittest people see plateaus in their fitness if they do the same thing for too long).

This will help you with aerobic exercise, but strength is also key for keeping fit.

Many people, especially women, neglect weight training as it has a bad press often for making you very muscly. Think instead of simply toning your body – putting everything in its place so to speak! Even carrying shopping home, carrying the kids around etc.. will help – but doing some resistance exercises for 10-15 minutes a day will really help you notice a difference.

Ladys legs running along a road

Leading A Balanced Life And Staying Positive Everyday

I also want to mention positivity in all of this balancing – because just the mere ability to stay happy everyday (as much as possible!) will have a fantastic effect on your life, and as you get a balanced life, so you will see your happiness levels soar!

So many of us let the little things get us down, but just by counting your blessings, however small those are, everyday, can help in your general outlook and therefore positivity in life.

I will leave you with this exercise to add into your life:-

My mum started me on this simple exercise probably around 20 years ago now, and it has stuck with me ever since, and thats to go to sleep thinking of 5 things that have happened to you or around you in the day that were good.

This gives you a positivity that grows day by day, until you are able to see all the positives out there, and make the most of them, and not notice the negatives quite so much (or at least not let them affect you in the same way).

Here are a few ideas of what can be seen as positives – and feel free to tell me your own as well!

  • I have had my 5 a day
  • I have taken some Me Time
  • I have socialised with someone I haven’t seen for ages
  • My partner surprised me with …..
  • My child did something special
  • I fit in a run today
  • I felt happy all day
  • Nothing went wrong today
  • Everyone is healthy in the family
  • I balanced my life today (Did something from every part of the S.M.I.L.E acronym!)
  • I am looking forward to tomorrow
  • I told someone I love them today
  • I did a good deed
  • I didn’t eat that chocolate as I’m trying to eat better
  • I started a new project that i’ve been meaning to start for ages
How To Live A Balanced Life [It Takes 5 Things...] - 6. live a balanced life

So – do you have a balanced life, or is there work to do?

A quick tip that works for me is to think about this acronym each night as I go to bed. I can see exactly how much I’ve achieved even on the days that I’ve felt nothing has got done – and I usually go to sleep a lot happier as a result.

Of course – you could also use a diary to see how far you are getting towards your goals etc…… i.e. if your aim is to lose weight, you may chart your progress in Leisure and Energy – or if you want to get more organised you may look at a different area in the house each week to concentrate on – WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU! (I like the idea of tracking in a bullet journal or a planner).

I hope this changes your perspective on life as much as it has me over the years…

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