“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.” – Stephen R. Covey
Stephen Covey describes the concept of “sharpening the saw.” After repeated use and without proper care, a saw will become dull and unable to perform its function of cutting wood. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to cut down a tree with a dull saw? It can be just the same with us if we do not take care of ourselves and live a balanced life — we become like the dull saw and are not able to effectively tackle all the tasks that surround us. We have to fight our natural tendency to want to throw every ounce of our time and energy at the daunting tasks ahead. Instead, we need to take out some time each day to be balanced — these investments will pay large dividends for your overall ability to be productive since a sharp saw can cut infinitely better than a dull one.
To begin with, what does it mean to be balanced?
A well-balanced life is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind and living well. To me, it means that you can handle well the various elements in your life and don’t feel that your heart or mind are being pulled too hard in any direction. More often than not, you feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.
If you feel pulled in any one direction and uneasy about it, these 20 tips may help you get your life aligned:
#1 Continue learning. Once you begin to climb the career ladder, you will realise that your existing skill sets are not sufficient. Open your mind to new possibilities, beliefs, and interests by reading, taking online classes, watching documentaries, and attending workshops.
#2 Meditate regularly. Meditation improves memory, attention, mood, immune system function, sleep, and creativity. All it takes is a few minutes a day to start reaping the benefits. On the other hand, it brings mindfulness and peace — by seeking to experience God directly with the awareness of loving faith and God’s indwelling presence.
#4 Practice yoga. Yoga is amazing for your overall health. It helps you build strength, coordination, and flexibility while calming your mind. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. And one thing is for sure – Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is exercise.
#5 Avoid sedentary lifestyle. Physical inactivity may increase the risks of certain degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers. Thus, reducing the time spent being sedentary is effective way.
You should take a walk at least every 30 mins if you’re working in the office; take a phone calls outside and walk around at the same time; take a walk during lunch breaks; take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Spend some free time being active rather than watching television or playing video games.
#6 Have a regular exercise. There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few. If you are close to work – walk or ride your bike on nice days. Exercise is important for heart health, physical stamina, and mood. It may even help you live longer.
#7 Explore and see nature. Everything humans have needed to survive, and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Explore and go for hiking, boating, picnics, outdoor sports, foraging for wild foods, camping, and much more!
#8 Get a good sleep. Sleep can affect your productivity at work, irritability and mood, and how sharp your mind feels. If you have trouble sleeping, consider sticking to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. Have a bedtime ritual that helps you feel calm and relaxed.
#9 Fuel your passions. Set aside some time each day to do what makes your soul happy. Many of us work so much that we forget how great it feels to paint, stitch, dance, write, garden, or swim.
#10 Listen to music often. Music in itself is healing.To stay calm and healthy during a stressful day, turn on the radio. Be sure to sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit. Recent research shows that listening to music improves our mental well-being and boosts our physical health in surprising and astonishing ways. If we take a music lesson or two, that musical training can help raise our IQs and even keep us sharp in old age.
#11 Practice gratitude. Gratitude strengthens our emotions. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress. Whether you choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal, or simply take a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, giving thanks can transform your life.
#12 Simplify things. A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, eschewing chaos for peace, and spending your time doing what’s important to you. It means getting rid of many things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.
#13. Don’t over think. Life is full of surprises, and you never know where and when it will bring happy surprises for you, so don’t think too much before doing something. Thinking too much leads you to the searches like causes of depression, causes of high blood pressure or causes of low blood pressure. Let go of the little things. If something won’t matter tomorrow, don’t let it ruin today. Sometimes, it is better to grow with the flow. So take things easy and just live the moments.
#14 Disconnect to connect. Today our phones and computers take up most of the hours in our lives. Emails, notifications, and messages buzz us incessantly and draw our attention away from the present moment. Yet we never think about disconnecting. We all need to connect to the online realm and check our notifications. But don’t let technology eat up every free second you have in the day! You don’t need drop everything and interrupt what you’re doing to respond to your device. End the rat race of constant stimulation, and carve out technology free moments for yourself and others. Take time with your next conversation. Take time to go for a walk. Take time to be present in the moment.
#15 Please yourself first. There’s a difference between being kind and being a doormat. If you spend too much time worrying about what others will think, you’ll lose yourself and end up feeling miserable. Imagine what it would be like to say no, instead of the automatic, obligatory yes, so that you have the time and the energy to do for yourself. When you truly value yourself, you will know how to help others in a way that honors and respects both of you.
#16 Accept things as they are. I discovered that I was happier and more peaceful when I accepted what had happened instead of constantly fighting to change things. Acceptance, in my opinion, is the key to convert momentary happiness to enduring happiness. It helps you move from feeling happy to actually being happy.
Practicing acceptance prepares you to live in this changing world, where you never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting yourself with your own shield.
#17 Have fun and Laugh often. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you to release anger and be more forgiving.
What’s the science behind laughter? Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
#18 Get some holiday. It’s a priority! Do this as much as you can! Life is a wonderful gift. It really is, and as we travel and experience more of the world and life, we often become overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all the beautiful moments we enjoyed and people we’ve shared them with.
#19. Let go and let God. We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.
Stop trying to figure it out. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Let go of your frustrations. Let go of stress. Learn from the past, but don’t let it destroy you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
#20 Love others as you love yourself. But loving your neighbor as yourself isn’t always easy. That’s why God made it a command. He knew we’d struggle. Making it a command is actually to our benefit. How is that? We have to do it on purpose, be intentional about it. Sometimes even out of our need.
To begin to love other as yourself, you need to know two things: you need to know what love is and that you are loved.