Balance. Everybody wants it, but not many can actually achieve it. Finding balance in life is one of the most difficult things couples try to do. Life is busy, there never seems to be enough hours in the day, and the to-do lists continually seem to grow.
When we lose sight of the important things in life and begin to place too much emphasis on the trivial things, it disrupts the balance and we find ourselves ending our days feeling drained and depleted. We also find ourselves to be irritable and cranky towards our spouse or families. We start to just go through the motions and the days begin to blend. Additionally, not having balance in life can also leave one feeling depressed or anxious. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! Feeling overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities is a very typical feeling amongst individuals and couples in our society. Fortunately, it is never too late to make changes to better yourself and your quality of life.
Below are some manageable, yet important steps you can take to start working towards balance in your life.
One of the most important things a person can do is prioritize the responsibilities in their lives. Whether it is prioritizing their job responsibilities, social life, children and family, household related obligations, and yes, even their spouse.
Couples should reflect on their busy schedules and see where there is room to “let things go”. Maybe you do not get all of the dishes done one night and watch a movie together instead. Maybe you say “no” to the social gathering over the weekend and relax at home. Maybe you secure the babysitter for a night out instead of reading the same bedtime story over and over again. Maybe you order take-out one night instead of cooking for the 5th night in a row to give yourself a break. The most important thing about prioritizing is knowing what is most important to you and your spouse. Every couple is different and every couple’s priorities are going to be different as well. Come up with a list of things together which you know you are unwilling to waiver on and let the rest be flexible. When you begin to prioritize the things which are most important vs. prioritize everything you feel you need to do, life will start to seem much less stressful.
2. Remember who you are
Often times couples forget they are individuals outside of the couple/family dynamic. Remember when you were your own person BEFORE you had a spouse and kids? Go back to some of those same mentalities. Maybe you have been wanting to try a yoga class. Maybe there is a hobby or interest you have been wanting to explore but have not felt you have had the time. Maybe there is a new movie out that you want to go and see.
The idea of doing anything on your own may seem daunting. “There is just no time!” “But the kids!” “I can’t imagine!” “What would people think!” are all things which may even cross your mind when reading this and that is OK! Just remember, you are an important part of the relationship and/or family dynamic and you need to take time for yourself. If you prioritize everything and everyone else above yourself, you cannot possibly be the best version of yourself in the various roles you hold.
3. Limit social media
In a world where everything is readily available at our fingertips, it is difficult not to compare your lives to others. Social media, while wonderful in so many ways, can also pose as a potential stressor to the relationship and upset the balance. You may find that you start to question your relationship status, your family dynamics, and even your happiness after a brief scroll through Facebook. This may even begin to cause tension in the relationship as one partner may begin to put pressure on the other and you may start trying to achieve and acquire things you believe you should have vs. what is actually applicable for your lives.
It is easy to feel as though your life is not as glamorous or exciting as an acquaintance who just took a trip to the Bahamas with their smiling family. However, what the pictures do not show behind the sunshine and smiles are the tantrums on the plane, the sunburn, and the fatigue and stress from travel. People only post what they want others to see. Much of what is shared on social media sites is just a sliver of the person’s reality. Once you stop comparing your life to others and stop basing your happiness on what you think happiness looks like through social media, you will start to feel as though a weight has been lifted.
There will never be enough time to do everything. Your to-do list will most likely continue to grow and you may not get everything done within a time frame you had hoped for. You may neglect certain responsibilities or even people in your lives. And you know what? It’s OK! Balance means finding the middle ground, not swaying too much one way or the other. If you and your spouse are concerned about your ability to implement change and find the balance, consider couples counseling as a way to start working towards this goal.