There will always be times when life gets hectic, and we begin to feel unbalanced in one way or another. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing at wellness or self-care. It just means you’re a human. The imbalance can manifest in different ways, of course. Some of us may feel overwhelmed; others may get burned out. In my own case, times of imbalance have stirred dormant anxieties and frustrations.
The hard part, however, isn’t necessarily recognizing that an imbalance has crept into our lives (usually, the mental health signs are there). The real challenge comes in specifying what we need to adjust to feel better and function at a higher level. Indeed, it can be hard to figure out which areas of our lives need the most attention and which possibly need less, which is where the clever life balance wheel comes in (it’s especially great for visual folks).
By creating your own life balance wheel, sometimes referred to as the “wheel of life,” you can get a bird’s-eye-view of the current phase of your life. To create a balance wheel, begin by listing the most important areas of your life. This could include your roles in life, as well. Some sample areas are career, husband/wife, intellectual stimulation, rest & relaxation, father/mother, creativity, healthy eating, and meditation & spirituality, and exercise & wellness. If you visualize things better, be more specific about these areas. For example, maybe “intellectual stimulation” could refer to reading books related to your field; or perhaps “spirituality” refers to your morning meditation. The important thing is to create a wheel that actually reflects your life—not a generic idea of “wellness.”
Next, draw a circle (or use this guide), and write your choices around the circle. Assess each area by assigning a number to it. A score of 1-3 means that this area is suffering/needs attention/needs a change. A score of 4-6 means that you’re surviving in this area, but it could still use some improvement. A score of 7-10 reflects that you’re thriving in this area.
The point of the scoring isn’t to beat yourself up or feel worse about the areas that need attention. Rather, it’s an opportunity to be honest—and non judgmental—about where you need to set intentions or boundaries—or where you need to ask for help, which leads us to the final step.
After reflecting on your balance wheel, set a few manageable intentions to help you achieve the kind of balance your desire. The key word here is “few.” While it may be tempting to decide to tackle a dozen goals, you’ll have better luck devoting quality attention to your intentions if they are few in number. Be mindful of your inner dialogue with yourself, and remember to remain observant rather than judgmental. Finally, write your intentions down in a place where you will regularly see them, and revisit them often! Consider scheduling a weekly or monthly check-in with yourself to adjust your intentions and actions as needed—like a little date with your life plan!
Have you tried creating a balance wheel for yourself?
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