10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

Hello my lovelies! Firstly, I must begin with an apology for my prolonged absence the past few weeks; anyone who visits often will have noticed my inactivity on here and I’d hate you to think I’m neglecting you all.

The truth is, no matter much I view the world through my own rose-tinted lens and actively seek out pleasure each day, sometimes circumstances can be beyond our control and life can get a little stressful. The dichotomy of my serious political day job and my evening fashion, writing and blogging pursuits are not, I’ll admit, a common combination, but I love the balance of the two and generally merrily juggle each side-by-side. But right now, my day job (to which I am nothing but loyal) is taking a little* more of my time and energy than normal, so other pursuits, by necessity, had to receive less attention.

But because life is rarely constant (and really, wouldn’t it be boring if it were), I’ve been reminding myself of a few important lessons  (and learning some others) about finding balance. So when life throws you a curveball or things get hectic, here are 10 ways to find a sense of calm and happiness amidst the stress:

1. Get organised. When things get hectic, it can be all too easy to try and avoid dealing with the situation (a fast route to chaos!). Instead, take stock and neutralise the situation as best as you can by getting organised. Break things into smaller, manageable chunks and set daily ‘to do’ lists you can work towards each day. As humans, we are naturally spurred on by success, so it is immensely satisfying to tick things off like a series of mini-accomplishments.  Re-assess each day until things calm down, and take control of any situation before it escalates.

2. Set limits. Recently, I found myself working 60 hour weeks as the norm in my day job which, after travel, sleep and basic daily tasks, left just one hour to do everything else I enjoy each day (which explains why things got a little quite around here…). Needless to say, I was tired, stressed, mentally exhausted and frankly un-productive, and realised that running myself down was helping no one. Because everyone can only be stretched so much, I’m now making it a rule to set limits to what I can reasonably achieve in a day be as strict with those boundaries.

3. Switch off and take time to recharge. When I leave the office each day, I put some happy tunes on my ipod and use the journey home to literally switch from ‘work’ to ‘home’ mode. I’m trying to find moments, no matter how brief, to recharge with some peace and quiet; a good book, a yoga session or wind-in-my-hair bike ride, a favourite movie or a non-essential activity that makes me smile (because no one needs afternoon tea with girlfriends, but oh how fun it is!) If you’re not getting enough ‘happy’ time in your schedule, then literally block out some time (and stick to it!) in your diary each day or week to do something just for you the same way you would any other important appointment.

4. Make peace with the word ‘no’; embrace ‘yes’. When you’re already over-stretched, it’s entirely acceptable to put yourself first and say ‘no’ to absolutely any invitation you’re not enthused about or eliminate things which add little value or pleasure to your life. One of the great joys of being a grown-up is that we’re allowed to say ‘no’ if we want to, and not feel guilty because of it. Conversely, life sometimes throws up wonderful opportunities at the most unexpected moments, so recognise the surprise chances when they come along and say ‘yes’ to a few new things outside of your normal routine. They might just lead you to something wonderful!

5. Be kind to yourself. When stress kicks in, your body goes into ‘emergency’ mode and releases a high dose of cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) which, over longer periods, can have detrimental effects on your cognitive processes, weight and metabolism, immune system, skin and just about every other important bodily function. Be sure to counteract the effects by being as good to yourself as you can; eat properly (that means vitality-boosting, nutrient-rich meals rather than reaching for the sugary ‘stress snacks’), get enough rest (because no one can function properly when they’re tired and run-down), make time for your grooming rituals (because when you look good, you’ll feel good), get some exercise (happy endorphins and stress-release), and generally treat yourself with kindness.

6. Nurture an optimistic outlook. Sometimes when things get really hectic, optimism doesn’t flow as freely. But here’s the thing: while optimism seems to come more naturally to some than others, positivity is still a choice. Actively choose to view things more optimistically, and it will be easier to recognise difficult situations as an opportunity to grow and learn a new life lesson, rather than the disaster a pessimist may perceive them to be.

7. Treat yourself to a few small pleasures. Sometimes, a bit of pampering does wonders for a stressed disposition. When things threaten to get too much, I book myself straight in for a massage (my ultimate stress relief), buy myself some cheering flowers, and indulge in a small treat I’ve been longing for. It needn’t be expensive, but it’s important to show yourself kind gestures when you need a little spirit-lifting.

8. Surround yourself with those who uplift you. Who we are is so often a reflection of the company we keep, so make sure that company truly makes you smile and encourages you to be the best version of you (here’s a secret: that person we all know who secretly wants you to fail to make themselves feel better? It’s totally okay to let them go, guilt-free). If you’re having a particularly stressful week, make time to nurture your relationships and see someone you love or send a thoughtful note to a treasured friend.

9. Send out some love. Tell someone you adore just how much you appreciate them, send a surprise letter to a friend, help someone in need, pay a stranger a compliment or practise random acts of kindness. Doing something nice for others releases seretonin (the hormone responsible for feelings of bliss) in the brain, so you’ll feel happier while making someone else’s day too.

10. Feel gratitude. When feeling overwhelmed, focus on all the wonderful things you have already achieved and already have and those positives will in turn appreciate in value. Be grateful for the wonderful things – big or small – that already fill your life and you’ll find a deeper sense of happiness even when things around you are stressful.

How do you find serenity and balance when things get stressful?

Love, Miss B xx

* translation: a lot!

46 thoughts on “10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

  1. Oh how good is that that I found your blog! I thought I was probably the only one related to politics and interested in fashion. I’m studying political science and I adore fashion and it seems I’m almost the only one in my university and you are a good example that it’s possible to have both of these things :)

    • Thank you so much! Politics and fashion certainly aren’t the usual pairing, but I do love them both! Don’t worry about what anyone else says; you can like whatever you want :)

      B xx

  2. What a great post! So uplifting (lovely to see you back btw). Whenever things get too much for me, I take some me time – a long bubble bath, a new book, spring-cleaning cupboards, buying myself a bunch of flowers or a yummy chocolate bar and remembering that it’s important to nurture me as well as everything around me and NOT feeling guilty for it.

    • Thank you so much! And I just love all of these things (you’re right, spring cleaning can be so therapeutic!); sometimes we just need a little reminder to put ourselves first once in a while.

      B xx

  3. I’m glad you’re back & how timely this post is for me. I’ve been somewhat stressed recently by things some of which are under my control & some of which aren’t. Thanks for reminding me that it’s important to relax and just enjoy like. x

  4. Glad to see you’re back! I’ve always been so impressed by all your do and how you seem to manage your work/life balance. This is all very good advice, so thank you. Now all I have to do is try taking it! Stress rarely does anything but make me feel worse. It may give me a jump start at the beginning, but I guess stress is sort of like sugar — you start out energetic, spurred on by the stress and the need to get it all (!) done (!) right (!) now (!), and then you crash under the pressure of it all.

    I look forward to seeing posts from you again. :-)

    • Thank you so much! And you are absolutely right about stress; in short burst it can be motivating, but for any prolonged period it is nothing short of exhausting.

      B xx

  5. Oh B I love this! Here I am feeling all overwhelmed this morning staring down a massive to-do list & I just found a sigh of relief here. Perhaps not because of any new insights, but reminders of those that are so easy to forget. And most of all because of that blessed, “I’m not the only one! I’m not alone! I’m not a failure!” remembrance called empathy.

    Cannot wait to sit upon your bed & hear all about it while helping you pack in just a few short weeks! Eep! Cue me adding more pre-England tasks to my to-do list …

    with grace & gumption, Hilary

    • You’re so right; sometimes all we need is a reminder that we’re not the only one feeling overwhelmed!

      Good luck with your own ‘to do’ list and can’t wait to see you!

      B xx

    • Thank you lovely Grace! You’re a complete inspiration to me as one of the women who make balancing a career and blog look utterly seamless, so this means a lot coming from you.

      B xx

  6. What a great blogpost! Very inspiring one as well, I guess we can all use a little more ‘me-time’ once and a while because when everything starts to feel like a task, life just isn’t fun anymore. I really love a lot of the tips you posted as I’ve been reading a lot about balancing life-work lately and most of those are also ones I’ve read about elsewhere. I guess it’s just an universal truth that balance is everything.

    • Thank you! And it’s true; these are all things we know to be true, but sometimes we can all to with a little reminder to slow things down a bit.

      B xx

  7. Welcome back! I can understand this, I probably do too much of number 7 and not enough of number 1! It’s nice to see your posts pop up when they do because at least this shows you’re human and we appreciate them more. I’m still amazed by the care you take when you do your instagram photos, I literally like all of them!

    • Thank you so much Kristabel, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this! You’re just as amazing fitting in your day job and blog, so good luck finding your own balance!

      B xx

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  11. Amazing advice- and just what I needed right now. I think the idea of scheduling in time for yourself every week is a really good idea. I also love the idea of transitioning your work to home time with music. I recently started working from home and am having a hard time finding the balance and distinction between the two! I end up working all the time…and I think I need to make more of a break in the evenings.

    • Thank you so much Becca! It’s all things we know, but are all too easy to forget and sometimes we (me included) need a little reminder to make time for ourselves. I think with working from home it’s important to somehow symbolise a switch between work and home; whether it’s a designated workspace, a change of clothes, music or going for a walk when you finish work so that you can literally ‘come home’ at the end of the day. Good luck finding your balance!

      B xx

  12. Briony, it’s great to see you back on the blog and I hope you’re feeling much better now! At our age, we’ve dealt with stressful situations before – and of course they will happen again – yet we get caught up and forget the lessons we’ve learnt in the past. I’ve been having a really difficult time at work last week, which prompted me to get away for the weekend at my parents, and reading your post has done me a lot of good!

    I sometimes ask myself ‘if this was the last day of my life, would I be happy living it this way?’, which helps me get a clearer picture of what I need to get rid of, improve and prioritize. My usual way of dealing with things though is calling family and friends, like our favorite psychologist Sarah, to talk things through and get their perspective; as you say, this allows you to see what amazing people you have in your life!

    • Anne, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and advice; this was just what I needed to hear! Hope you’re feeling a little less stressed yourself, and settling into life in Paris.

      B xx

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  15. Just discovered your blog and I love it, especially these list type posts, they’re my fave! Will definitely be bookmarking your blog, I’m so inspired!

    Charlotte

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  17. These are wonderful reminders!!
    Especially #4….I often find that I struggle to say “no” even though I am exhausted.
    But it’s important that we put ourselves and our health first…catching up on rest, recharging and feeling good is the key to a happy life ;)
    XOXO

  18. Great advice. I think it is easy to feel overwhelmed but start on some smaller tasks first and you will feel like you get a lot more done. It is a great feeling to feel a great sense of accomplishment.

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