In my post ‘What is a well-balanced life?’ I write that mental and emotional well-being influences all aspects of our lives.
It can be virtuous, or it can be vicious, and having a healthy mind and a healthy heart is the fuel we need to live a well-balanced life. I even went so far as to define what this looks like in practise (see below).
mental well-being (health + work + friendships + relationships) = a well-balanced life
So, what does living a well-balanced life mean to me?
I feel like I’m living a well-balanced life first and foremost when my mental are emotional well-being is solid. I started presenting signs of depression when I was 16, albeit inwardly, and was officially diagnosed a year and a half ago. This, naturally, means that my mental and emotional well-being is what is most likely to be unbalanced at any given point in time, so it takes the most energy to keep level.
As I continue to unpack this part of me, I’m beginning to realise that there is nothing more important to me that keeping my mental and emotional well-being not just in check, but thriving. For me, that part of the equation carries the most weight. Unsurprisingly, it’s how I feel within the other four areas that influences the state of my mental and emotional well-being.
I haven’t quite figured out what this means exactly, but there are some things that I know without a doubt make me feel more balanced, like when:
I’m active on both my week nights and weekends
I don’t like feeling like I only live for the weekends but it is easy to fall into the habit of not doing much (or anything!) during the week because I’m tired from work. I find that I feel best when I have a mix of things to do throughout the week, whether that’s having a friend over for dinner, exploring the city, going on a date, going out or having a movie night in.
I’m satisfied and confident at work and am working reasonable hours
No one likes to work long hours, and no one wants to be in a job they hate. Being in the field of consulting automatically makes this tricky because what I do changes with each new project. If I like the project and the team, it’s great. But if I don’t I have to suck it up and hope that I have better luck next time. Naturally, I feel best when I actually like the role I have and when I leave the office by 6pm and actually have my evenings free.
I take care of my body
I loove food that is bad for me. I really do.
Ruffles? Check. McDonalds? Pass the nuggets. Soda? Mhmm. Ice cream? Hell yes.
I love these things, but when I eat like trash I feel like trash and why would I want to feel like trash? When I eat clean, exercise and get consistent amounts of sleep my energy levels stay up, I’m more focused at work, and I just feel good about myself in general.
I have friends I can rely on
Friendship is a tricky business. Especially when you move to a new city in an entirely different country and suddenly find yourself having to start from scratch. I will always have my friends from home that will always be in my corner, but I do need friends where I’m living that I can rely on as well!
At one point I thought I’d found a friend group that I would settle in with, but I found myself starting over again when I learned that we weren’t on the same page. This, you can imagine, threw me completely off balance. It took some time, but eventually I managed to gather a wide social circle and also found a handful of people I consider to be close friends who care about me as much as I care about them.
I feel secure in my relationships
I am an over thinker by default, so feeling secure in my relationships is crucial in order to feel balanced. Naturally, the more secure I feel, the less I worry, and the better I feel in general.
Really, living a well-balanced life means that I’m curating a life where I’m happy and healthy, surrounded by people that make me feel good, and have new experiences. I think it’s worth saying that everyone’s definition of balance is different, so everyone’s interpretation of the equation will also be different.