Living a Balanced Life

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Work-life Balance | 17 comments

I live a full life. I work full-time, I volunteer, I’m a member in more than one professional organization, I’m a blogger, a wife and furkid parent. When I tell people I blog about work-life balance this often sparks a stream of questions about how I do it all. The truth is I don’t do it all, I just live the best life I know how.

I recently became a foster parent, and with this major life change other parts of my life needed to adjust to maintain balance. I am choosing not to worry or grieve over what I can no longer do as long as I’m living a life that’s important to me.

The beautiful thing about work-life balance is my life is in balance when I care for myself and spend my energy living a life that is meaningful and wonderful to me. Work-life balance doesn’t happen when I get it all right, or when I have less to do. Balance happens when I am grateful and content, peaceful and well.

work life balanceImage courtesy of woooody

It starts with self care

I can’t have any kind of balance when I’m not taking care of me. When I am rested, healthy, and emotionally well I have more energy, make good choices, enjoy more clarity and focus, and I have more to energy to spend on living a life that’s important to me.  For me, it all starts with self care.

Add a little gratitude

I’ve found I can’t be grateful and stressed at the same time- those experiences do not exist within the same space. Being grateful every day is all about celebrating all the big and small things that are awesome in life! Gratitude creates balance in my life because when I’m grateful I’m living life fully in the present moment being thankful for everything that’s good in this moment.

And live intentionally

Work-life balance isn’t about how many hours I work and how many hours I play. Balance is the experience of living a life that is fulfilling to me. I spend my time and energy in pursuit of goals that matter so that no matter the result, I am at happy about how I spent my day.

When experiencing balance I’m not living in fear of the past or anticipation of the future- I’m right here, today, and I practice doing what I love and loving what I do!

I experience balance when I mindfully interact with myself, my environment, and my life. Balance happens when my life is happy, healthy, and full.

Work-life balance is like riding a bicycle as I engage different parts of my body and mind, working together in motion. I lean to turn, I put my feet down to stop, I pedal to go and sometimes I coast down a hill, inhaling the wind as it rushes into my lungs, filling my body with the breath of life. I’m constantly adjusting, shifting my weight and focus, joyfully engaging with my life. That is what work-life balance means to me.

I don’t have it all figured out, and my life isn’t perfect; fortunately for me living a balanced, happy life doesn’t require omnipotence or perfection- what a relief! All I really have to do take care of myself, be grateful, and live intentionally.

I love your comments! What do you do to create balance in your life?

17 Comments

  1. What a beautifully written post, Chrysta. Balance is truly about living mindfully and in the present moment – how else can we hear what our body, mind and soul is telling us about how it needs us to sway this way or that way in order to be in balance? Love the bicycle analogy.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Diane! I’m so glad you stopped by.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  2. I have to admit that I don’t feel I have any real balance in my life these days. It’s not the worst life but the ‘fully taking care of myself’ part is lacking. I’m taking better care of my health, but not enough in some other areas and until I get that part taken care of, I don’t even have the opportunity to get there.

    But I will get it done.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Mitch!

      I can do a lot to try to create balance in my life and still feel unbalanced and harried if I don’t take care of myself. I’ve been experiencing this recently as I’ve had a lot going on and I haven’t been getting regular exercise. When I stop and really notice how I feel, my body feels stiff and sore- no wonder I felt unbalanced enough that I was inspired to write this post!

      May both of us take good enough care of ourselves that balance is restored soon.

      I really appreciate your comment and you’ve inspired me to do yoga tonight! Thanks!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

      • Good deal Chrysta. I actually walked twice today, which was overkill and I’m suffering for it as well. Still, every day brings a new beginning right?

  3. Hi Chrysta,

    Coming over from Adrienne Smith’s blog I too want to say congratulations on becoming a foster parent. I also want to say it’s nice visiting your blog. It looks like it’s a healthy place to be.

    This post to me is all about peace. It’s not a perfect world, you are what you make of it. Finding balance is very important if you want to live a fulfilled life.

    Hanging in, keeping your self busy with things that must be done and things you enjoy and being content about it and always striving to make things better and better is what I call a balanced life.

    Thanks for the good words,

    Terry Conti

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Terry!

      Becoming a foster parent is a huge commitment, and one I hope will be worthwhile in the lives of kids. Our first foster has come and gone and I’m looking forward to having another foster in the future. In the meantime I learned a lot from my first foster and I’m educating myself for next time.

      I love what you shared about making the best of life- this is a philosophy we share! If I waited for life to be perfect in order for me to be happy- well, I’d be waiting a long time. All I can do is make the most of the life I have, and do so thoughtfully and purposefully.

      I agree with your comment that living a balanced life is all about peace. When I stop struggling/forcing/controlling life and, instead, interact with life, a feeling of peace comes over me.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  4. I want to start by congratulating you Chrysta for becoming a foster parent. That’s sometimes not an easy job. I have no doubt that any child that comes into your life will benefit greatly from what you can teach and share.

    I love what you’ve mentioned here and especially about having a balanced life. It’s not always about balancing things out but living a fulfilled life. I totally agree with you and if we are doing what we love and enjoying our life then that’s balance enough in my opinion. I think some people think there has to be one or the other.

    Just live your life to the fullest the best way you know how and what more can we be grateful for.

    Always enjoy what you share and how you make this all seem so easy! :-)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Adrienne!

      Becoming a foster parent has been a wild ride so far and I feel really great about it! I do sometimes wish I had time to do it all but that’s something I can’t do and so I make the best of the life I have. (Unfortunately this means less commenting on other blogs, among other things, but what I’m doing is just as awesome in a totally different way!)

      It’s no surprise to me that you agree a balanced life is about living a fulfilled life because when I think of you, I think of a positive, helpful, and kind person that lives a full and happy life. You are an inspiration to me and I’m grateful to count you among my blogging friends!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  5. I love the point you make about gratitude and stress. In my opinion, gratitude brings us to a place where the resistance that we’ve been harboring (even unconsciously) is released. It’s such a simple solution, but so often overlooked.

    (Contrary to what the title of my post says, we’re on the same page this week–you can only do what you can do!)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Steve!

      I love the point you made about harboring resistance- this is so true! Gratitude is a powerful force in my life and it can break through all kinds of resistance I’m carrying with me. Go gratitude! :)

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  6. Now, I’m not saying this to sound all deep or anything like that – but I personally, just live on purpose. It’s funny that you should write about this today, Chrysta; I’ve been thinking and meditating a lot about the saying. Live on purpose. And this ties in beautifully with that.

    To me, that’s basically what a balanced life would consist of being. Let me explain what I mean by that. If we’re living on purpose, we’re living first of all, as though we know we have something to do on this incredible planet. So then the decisions and choices we make will aligned with whatever that purpose is, for each of us.

    We do all of these things you listed here, and recognize that every step, thought, spoken word, action performed – everything really – whether insignificant or life-changing, we know that it is working towards that balance in our lives.

    I’ve become a lot more mindful of my surroundings these last few months, and have been taking in what my inner voice has been saying. And you’re absolutely right with this post; it’s as simple, but so complex for many to grasp, that all we have to do is what you’ve shared here. Take care of ourselves, be grateful, and live intentionally.

    Beautiful post, my friend. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Deeone!

      The more I practice living a purposeful life, the more I enjoy my life. This doesn’t mean everything in life goes according to my plan, but when I am focused on living a happy, healthy life I feel grateful and accomplished no matter what happens in my day.

      As you mentioned, balance is something we work towards in life- it’s not a destination, it’s part of our journey (as all the great things in life seem to be).

      I’m happy to hear you’ve been living mindfully, and this practice has been positive and effective in your life. It is in mine, as well.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. This is so true! Balance isn’t about working the perfect 8 hour day – because it’s so easy to do that and then spend 4 hours veged out in front of the TV. It’s about doing things that all consistently contribute to a life well-lived. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment!

      I completely agree that balance isn’t about how we spend our time as much as how we spend our energy. I try to live a life well-lived, as much as I am able, and when I do this I feel peaceful, happy, and balanced.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. Live intentionally. That is where and what I strive for. I want to get to a place where I am in the moment all the time, not always thinking about what is coming next. Not always bracing for the next whatever. I am getting better at it and I want you to know your posts are helping me on my journey. Thank you so much for your insight and your honesty. It helps to know others are working at this also.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Lynda!

      My life is all about progress, not perfection. Everything I write about are practices and principles I am learning to live every day. Some days I do this better than others. I think that’s how it is for all of us.

      I wish you all the best in your journey to living an intentional life. I am grateful our paths crossed at BlissDom and we’re taking this journey side-by-side!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

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