Yearning for a life that includes time for family, yourself, recreation, professional development, community service or even just regular exercise?
Experts say the first -- and possibly most important -- step in creating a fulfilled, balanced life is to assess honestly what you need and what you want out of your whole life, not just work or home in isolation.
Here are some helpful tips that we at livewell have developed to help you get there:
1) Overscheduled? Prioritize Commitments and Learn to Say NO
So much to do, so little time? Stop trying to fit everything thrown at you into your life and learn when and how to say no.
When planning, look at your calendar view in the month spread. If you are booked all day on Saturday, leave the following Sunday unscheduled. If you are booked for an entire weekend, leave the following weekend completely open.
Schedule appointments in blocks of time or location. Allow adequate time for travel by leaving 15 to 30 minutes earlier than necessary. If you hit traffic, you will thank yourself. If you arrive early, you can actually take that time to breathe.
2) Put Specific Time Aside for YOU
Contrary to what most women believe, it is really not illegal to take time for yourself. At least once per week, you should put aside some guilt-free "me time". Put your "me time" right on your calendar. Use your time to meditate, take care of your skin, read a favorite book or anything that just feels good - alone. Remember, when you take proper care of yourself, your loved ones notice. Remember a happy, content, well-rested woman in turn makes a happy mom, wife, girlfriend, daughter.
3) Get Organized
Make lists and check tasks off as you complete them. The feeling of accomplishment is liberating and checking things off the list leaves you free to have some fun!
4) Create a Life Plan - Your Personal Bucket List
Jot down short and long-term goals as if your life were a business. Stick to your plan as closely as possible. For instance, if you want to learn a new language, or plan a dreamed-about trip. Study your calendar, your working budget and set the plan in motion!
5) Set Limits on Work Hours and Work Talk
It is said that at the end of one's life it matters not what they've accomplished but how they've touched the lives of loved ones. Make time for you family. Show your children that they are more important than your job or career.
Establish a cut-off time where work and work talk stops and life begins.
Your cell phone, your laptop and even your home phone if you have to. Recent studies show that Americans spend 8 hours a day on screens — televisions, computer monitors, cellphones and other devices. You can do it, set aside consistent times to unplug. Sit in your backyard, look up at a beautiful night sky, connect with your planet in a physical and spiritual way.
6) Eat a Balanced Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
So if you haven't already heard, exercise is really good for you. Check out our Exercise & Fitness at EVERY Age and get going!
8) Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Proper sleep is critical. Turn off TV, and keep your laptop and cellphone out of the bedroom.
9) Live Within Your Means, Cut Up the Credit Cards
Financial comfort — the great equalizer. Overextended? Cut up the credit cards, create a budget, make a financial plan and stick to it. Say no to yourself, and your kids. The light at the end of the tunnel will make you feel calmer and enable you to focus on the good stuff.
10) Smile and Count Your Blessings