Guide to A Balanced Life and Its Misconception

By Nadia Hastarini


“A balanced life”, we hear this a lot.


For the past years, we have been exposed to the term “balanced life”, may it be from social media, one-on-one life coaching, workshops, talks, or seminars, to name a few.

When we have a steady job, good education for the kids, fancy restaurants to dine in, and nice holidays, most of us would think that life has been good so far. Maybe it is the overall picture most of us have in our mind, that living a happy life is that when we have achieved our goals, and this has been the concept we grew up with.

During my search on this topic, I found that Thomas Merton said happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. Again, “balance”.

I did further research and apparently the concept of “life balance” was already found in mid 1800 by Paul Krassner, an American journalist. Krassner introduced the concept of “separation” between work and play.

So, does this mean there should be a place where we withdraw ourselves from the day to day routine? We pull out ourselves from our day to day duties, our day to day fun, to do our own things at our own space, give some quality time for our own being.

Because after all, we need to remember that we are all a human being and not a human doing. We do things that can recharge us in order to not get overwhelmed with the repetitive daily routines. They can be sports, cooking, reading, gardening, watching movies, travelling, or meditation.


How do we find our balance?

Each person has different ways of doing things. We often focus on one more than the other without realising it.

For example, one may pay more attention to life goals and targets, but paying less attention to what’s inside the heart, mind, and spirit – or the other way around, where he or she misses out the experience of living.

To reach the stage of “balanced” we all need to go through a process, that is to reflect, observe, and sometimes involve several attempts, until we find elements that really suit ourselves.

Fill up the days with things that are good for ourselves, challenging ourselves intellectually, and make time to rest when needed; give more if we can, rather than take.

You are what you eat. So pick healthy meal, do some green detox once in a while, exercise regularly (a few times a week), get sweat, and perhaps some weekend treats would be nice.

Good things will bring you to another level of being, and when you feel better, you can be more focus, get more things done at your work place and you’ll be able to pay more attention to your loved ones. Feeling good inside will lead everything else to fall into place, both in the work aspect and personal life.

Meditation, for example, gives you some space to just be nothing, feel nothing. Choose a meditative exercise such as yoga, swimming, walking, or some meditative activity like gardening, painting or cooking. Read books that will simulate the brain and entertain your mind.

Go for a massage once a week when you feel you need it. Have cat nap for 5 to 10 mins at work. Simple things can be impactful. Most importantly, when you have found things that suit you, please be very mindful not to overdo it.

Everything too much would not do any good (cliche but true!). Stay engaged with yourself! Keep listening to your desire, and do it.