Life Balance for Young Adults: A Game of Too Much or Not Enough
5 Relatable tips for finding balance in college and young adulthood as life gets busier.
Know that there is no perfect end
I feel like I oscillate between being overwhelmed with things on my plate or feeling bored and unfulfilled. Please tell me you can relate! As I get older and am exposed to people from different walks of life I noticed that this problem of finding balance spans all walks of life. There are rich CEOs that struggle with this, broke college students, moms, single twentysomethings, and everyone in between. So, take find some relief in that you're not alone.
But this is one of the hard, necessary pills you'll have to swallow in terms of seeking life balance. No one is coming to save you from this burden. Money won't help and neither will age or time. This is a lone pursuit but a worthy one! You will likely never feel like the balance of things in life is perfect, doing anything to perfection is simply an unattainable standard. But over time you can get to a place where those swings in your life load are manageable.
Take care of yourself
Anyone else feel like they had all the energy in the world, could eat whatever they wanted and could run on only a few hours of sleep with no physical repercussions in high school? As you get older, you start paying attention to your body more (or maybe your body just starts screaming for help louder than before), and rightly so! Once the foolhardiness of your years as a child wears off, you'll see that it's your small habits that are the most crucial. Namely, you have to get in the habit of taking care of yourself.
Get your 8 hours of sleep in, stay hydrated, eat healthy, stay fit and all of those other things your parents probably nagged you about. Those small habits will compound whether for better or worse. Although it can be tempting to skip out on these things for the pursuit of pressing goals -- pulling an all-nighter to study, eating fast food for convenience, etc. -- I promise those temptations are instant gratifications that can harm you in the long run. Whatever it is you want to achieve, you'll be better at it if you're healthy and of sound mind. Remember that the best things in life are achieved with intention and hard work. When it comes to your well-being, you're worth the effort.
Brave the unknown
So many people stay in perpetual burnout because they are too afraid to leave what's safe even if it's causing them mental anguish (🙋🏿♀️). But remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but acting despite it. Leave that job that is stressing you out, there is one out there that will make you feel fulfilled. End your toxic relationship, there are plenty more people out there who will show you respect and love you like they're meant to. Ghost those shitty friends, your true people will lift you up and celebrate you.
You deserve so much better than to be mentally weighed down by negativity. You just have to be brave enough to leap into the unknown to find what's meant for you.
Plan but don't worry
This one's more of a practical tip. Plan your hours, days, weeks, and months if you can. Anticipate things that will go well and potential bumps in the road, but don't stress. Don't let future worries torment you in the present moment. Think about it this way -- if you worry prematurely and while you're actually dealing with the problem, you will be suffering twice; first in imagination, then in real life. Why subject yourself to anxiety and stress unless necessary? In terms of worrying, adopt an "I'll cross that bridge when I get there" attitude.
Be intentional about what balance is to you
This is a little exercise I got from Emma Gannon's book, The Multi-Hyphen Life: Work Less, Create More and Design a Life That Works for You. Her book is all about creating a flexible life that works for you, instead of blindly following society's typical definition of "success."
In the book, she suggests you write down all the things that make you feel balanced in life -- maybe alone time, social outings, being praised for hard work, being adequately challenged, a date night once in a while, etc. Be sure to really have a think about what truly makes you feel good, and try not to worry about those traditional indicators of success or balance if they don't actually apply to you. You can also write down things that really drain you and knock you off of life equilibrium.
From the good list, make a pie chart of your ideal life composition. For me, a good fifth of my chart would be being social with friends, then maybe 25% would be feeling fulfilled in my work, and I'd assign smaller (but equally important) shares to travel, romance, being in nature, etc. Keep your pie chart somewhere where you can see it -- in your planner, on your phone case, on a sticky note on your desk -- that way each week you'll be reminded to do more of what makes you feel good.
Thanks for reading, I hope this was helpful! If you like this post, I recommend you check out the ones below! Catch me on insta if you ever want to chat or just see more of my day-to-day life @ariels_view :)