How To Achieve Balance In Your Life
As a counsellor and hypnotherapist, I see many clients who are extremely successful in their working lives. They are professional and articulate and clearly very well thought of in their chosen careers. That is fantastic, something to be really proud of. However, in our busy society, we are in danger sometimes of putting career success above everything else. Work is just one aspect of life and as human beings, we are multi-faceted individuals.
Often, people need to balance work commitments with family obligations, juggling parenthood with work responsibilities. Many people do this admirably and are fantastic parents as well as great employees.
This may be you and if it is, then you deserve a massive pat on the back! Being a parent and a model employee is hard work. I wonder though if there is a very important person that you are still neglecting, despite your best efforts to please everyone...? YOU!
When we think about our responsibilities, we tend to think in terms of work and family, with our own needs coming very much behind everyone else’s.
The A.C.E. model is a CBT concept which can be useful when thinking about balance in your life. The idea is that we need all three elements for our lives to be correctly balanced and fulfilling.
These three elements are:
A - Achievement: which we can relate to career aspirations, working patterns, etc. It may also refer to studying and so on.
C- Communication or closeness to others: this refers to personal relationships, such as with our partners, family and friends.
E - Enjoyment: the first two of these are fairly self-explanatory but the third element is where our balance is often skewed. The Enjoyment element refers to what we do for fun. You may enjoy your work, for example, but this part is about your leisure time, things that you do simply because you WANT TO!
It’s useful to draw out a circle and fill in your own A.C.E. diagram. Each element occupies an equal share of the circle so your answers help you see immediately where you should focus your energies to properly re-balance your life. This may not apply to you, but it’s the Enjoyment area that most people fall short on.
How can you redress the balance?
- Draw out your A.C.E. circle, fill in and identify your own particular needs.
- Wherever you fall short, start to think about how you can re-balance your life.
- If the ‘Enjoyment’ area needs work, think about the types of activities and hobbies you could enjoy. Sometimes we give things up when our lives change, so a good starting place is to consider the things that you used to enjoy before life got busier.
- You may have to organise or prioritise your life better so that there is more ‘room’ for enjoyment, even if it means that other people in your life (colleagues, partners) need to take over some of the extra things that you have been doing. It’s easy to over-commit… and then it becomes your new ‘normal’. Look at your life carefully – are you doing too much at work or with the family? Are there areas that others could step up to? Has ‘doing everything’ become normalised for you? Perhaps it’s time to change!
- Try different things out until you find something which makes you happy.
- Make A.C.E. a regular activity so things don’t slide back into the same old pattern.