You really can't do it all, said certified nutritional consultant Robin De-Ivy Allen during a session at the AVMA conference in Seattle about life balance. Her evidence: Most of us start the day with a to-do list that we don't finish. Still, you can make time for the things that matter most to you. She recommends these seven steps to achieve a balance that will keep you happy and healthy:
1. Figure out what matters most in your life. If you give yourself one focus to start the day with, you can prioritize, she says. For example, perhaps your most critical need is peace of mind. Decide what you're going to do to achieve that daily goal, and then make that one of the first things you do every day.
2. Give up what's unnecessary. We all waste time on things we don't really care about. Look at your day, week, or month, and decide what you don't really need to do. Then apply that time toward something that really makes a difference to you.
3. Protect your private time. You need time to recharge. Otherwise, your batteries will wear down and you won't have the energy you need to achieve your goals. Whether for you this means an hour to read on the weekend or time by yourself in the bathroom, carve out personal time and protect it. The people who care about you will wait, and you'll have more to give them when you've made that investment in yourself.
4. Lose the guilt. Allen says one of the key reasons that we feel guilty is that we worry about people judging our actions and choices. And they will judge, she says. But don't let that worry you. You need to decide what's really important to you and be true to that.
5. Ask for help and accept it. You don't have to do it all yourself. In fact, it's better if you don't.
6. Schedule time with your significant other. Fun and relaxed time together helps you stay in touch and reminds you why you love each other.
7. Schedule time with others you care about. Your friends and family offer emotional support and a sense of connectedness that's important to your sense of well-being.