It’s January, the time of the year when we usually write down promises for the year and start ticking them off. But what if instead of concentrating on the end results, we take time to enjoy the journey and try to balance our life? January is also celebrated as Get A Balanced Life Month. We decided to look into it and find some good tips to help our colleagues through the wintertime and why not the whole year.
Why is balance important?
At first, this might not seem like a topic related to the IT sector or work environment at all, but let’s look further. We have deadlines, tight competition, the expectation of perfection, need for constant improvement. While trying to stay on track and not fall behind, we often forget to do even a simple check-in with ourselves. If we focus only on goals and forget to watch what is happening inside us, we will lose balance in our lives. We will get tired, start doing mistakes, and will not complete our projects on time.
Where is your focus?
We try to be exemplary citizens, colleagues, and family members by focusing on the needs of others. This kind of approach to life will not get us far.
In our current reality, our daily routines are constantly changed. We often find ourselves thinking about the past and what was while trying to figure out how to deal with the unknown in the future. Our inability to be present and focus on our own needs is laying the ground for stress that affects not only us but also the people around us.
A simple exercise to increase focus:
Do a little check-in. How do you feel? What is on your to-do list today? What are the important things? Did you also include You on your list? Start with the questions and see where it leads you.
The science behind happiness and balance
If you don’t know where to start, just start small. There are numerous studies on how to keep the balance. But to keep things simple, let’s just concentrate on a chemical quartet for happiness and balance. Various situations can trigger these neurotransmitters, but instead of being in the passenger seat, we can intentionally direct them.
Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals and gives a surge of pleasure when achieving them.
- Playing with a pet or kid
- Get Enough sleep
- Listen to music
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.
Take a walk in nature
Enjoy the sunlight
Jogging, swimming, cycling
The release of oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and strengthens relationships.
- Try yoga
- Taking care of your own needs
- Celebrate small milestones
- Spend time with friends
Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress and help to alleviate anxiety.
- Eat dark chocolate
You must be present to win!
Start with limiting your news and social media consumption. Excessive news consumption has a negative influence on our mental health and social media is one part of the equation. Think about what are you doing on social media? Have you really noticed how much time you spend scrolling the screen? Notice why, what, and when you’re engaged in social media. If you learn to win time for yourself, then you can try some ideas that can teach you how to be in the moment:
Use technology to your advantage. Try to find things you enjoy watching (sports/comedy – don’t underestimate laughter. Smiling and laughing are effective against anxiety.
Try activities that make your family laugh. Board games, telling jokes. Whatever it is, the only aim is to make you all happy.
Sing, because it helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
Practice Yoga and meditate. There is no way we can overemphasize the value of these two in the present world. We try to clean our houses, wash our clothes, eat healthily. Yet, we forget the mind and its thoughts. Perhaps they need even more cleansing than our environment and bodies. The mind is working the longest hours and runs the operating system of our life. While we don’t even think about eating from yesterday’s dirty dishes, we often tackle a new problem with yesterday’s cluttered mind. With meditation, we can achieve better clarity, mood, and also better physical coordination. If you don’t know where to start, you can try a free meditation app, like Insight Timer.
If you want to win, I mean to REALLY win and get your life in balance. Learn to be in the present, not in the past or in the future. By focusing on here and now, we give ourselves the opportunity to fully enjoy and get the most out of every single day.