Laura Abba is a Mindset Coach & Hypnotherapist and the founder of Mind the Parent. Here, she answers our questions on how to live a balanced life.
There have been plenty of research studies done on living a balanced life, what that means and how it differs from what was studied two decades ago. Our modern life has many aspects that can bring imbalance to our life, such as burnout, constant stress and anxiety, dependencies, workaholism, adverse family dynamics, and poor well-being habits; to name some. We tend to judge our life as balanced or not by the satisfaction we get from it. So to say that somebody has a balanced life is similar to saying that a person is satisfied with their life overall.
As a single parent, navigating the relationship area of your life can come with additional stresses, some added by society and their nuclear family, others by our own belief systems, and in other cases with the nature of relationships and how we show up for our children.
Yes! As a single parent, organisation is central. It is important to have a good vision of what a balanced life looks like for you. Are there any areas of your life you are not satisfied with to the point that affects other areas? And if so, could you work on them?
Being reflective about the life you live, stop being on autopilot for some time, and reflect. Take a moment for yourself; if you think of your life up until now, if it was a story with different chapters representing the different stages of your life; what would you name your current chapter? And it is fine if you don’t have a name for it right now, sometimes it is easier to name them after we went through them. In this current chapter, what are the main areas of your life? What area of your life is the one you might be dissatisfied with? And what are the areas of your life that are bringing you joy? Being able to identify this, is a great first step to start working on your balanced life.
If you are still struggling to know which areas of your life you are dissatisfied with and what areas bring joy. You can use the “wheel of life” tool. That exercise will give you a clear view of where your life is at the moment, and you could see which areas of your life you can work on.
If we continue with the metaphor of your life being a book, what would you like to accomplish in this chapter of your life? Being able to see the final line, or setting goals to guide you towards it is a great start. Make sure to break down each of your goals into achievable steps or tasks to get you there. Consistency can be key, so you might want to have somebody to help you keep you accountable, a friend, family member, a coach, or even your child (depending on age and suitability!!). And remember, that whilst you have this very exciting goal to achieve, trust and enjoy the process!
Depending on the area in your life you want to feel more satisfied, there will be many tools you could use. Frolo is amazing in creating connections, and finding that village as a single parent; this can be what you need to improve the relationships/connections in your life. If you want to look after your health, what would be the things that help you to get there? Same with financial security/wealth or even with self-care. All in all, there will be some effort needed on your part to work toward the area that needs attention. And whilst time is one of the greatest assets as a parent, managing it efficiently is key!
Our brains love routines! Because our minds are always looking for “danger” signals, routines give our minds something less to worry about. We do something that is known, we get known results. They reduce potential anxiety and give us a sense of purpose (completing a routine, like when we cross things off to-do lists).
When creating your routines, we want them to be something we will enjoy, otherwise, there will be resistance to following them. If there are parts of your routines you might not enjoy too much, think of attaching them to something you will. For example, you want to wake up early to work out, so you might time it so that you go for a run when the sun is rising and you get to enjoy the run with all the colours in the sky. Or maybe you are trying to cut off your caffeine intake, and you might only have your favourite coffee once a week when you have to attend that meeting you don’t look forward to going to. Simply attach an activity that you might struggle to do or would be inclined to procrastinate and add another activity that brings you joy or satisfaction to your life. That will help you to stick to your routines, and make them more enjoyable.
You know your life feels balanced when you are satisfied in most of the areas of your life and you are able to compartmentalise the dissatisfactions of your life in a way that is not affecting in a negative way overall how you feel and experience your life.
Firstly, you want to have a clear idea of what it is that you want to achieve. Having that clarity about your life, where it is, and where you want it to head is a must. Because we struggle to move towards something that we don’t know what it looks like or how it feels. With that clarity, then it will be about commitment, consistency, and willpower.
I support many individuals ready to achieve their goals through Mind the Parent. Sometimes because of a lack of clarity, sometimes they need to understand how to use their willpower and other times to move from limiting beliefs that are no longer true.