By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW
Published: March 2014
Each of us face unique struggles and circumstances and have our own ways of coping with tension. Some women express their stress by becoming reserved, changing their attitude, or exhibiting changes in mood and behaviours. Others keep their problems bottled up and experience personal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.
Taking control of your lifestyle is key to living a happy healthy life. The following list provides some possible indicators that a change in lifestyle is needed. If you are experiencing these types of issues in your life, the final section of this article will guide you towards overcoming the chaos and finding balance.
1.You are easily angered
2.You have a long list of unaccomplished goals
3.You are constantly making decisions that you regret
4.You regularly make up excuses
5.You are continuously blaming others for your problems
6.You are unable to keep promises to yourself
7.You have difficulties being honest with others
8.You lack energy to complete daily tasks
9.You are dependent on drugs and stimulants
10.You feel unhappy most days of the week
11.You rarely have anything to look forward to
12.You feel that you lack control over your life
13.You live a secretive life
14.You constantly think negatively about yourself
15.You are unable to let go of the past
16.You are unable to take leadership
17.You are unable to accept constructive criticism
18.You are unable to keep friends or close relationships
19.You constantly speak negatively about yourself
20.You are constantly critical of others
The above mentioned problems are examples of some of the ways you can identify that a change in lifestyle is needed. If you are experiencing general unhappiness, lack of motivation, and a sense of hopelessness, it is important to recognize that this is not how you are meant to live your life. You have the inner strengths to rise to your full potential and reach your goals by finding balance and prioritizing your needs.
Finding balance in your lifestyle will help to ensure that all of your essential needs are being met. A balanced lifestyle allows you to tend to your emotional, physical health, financial, mental health, and spiritual needs simultaneously.
Emotional wellness can be achieved by engaging in activities such as: talking with people you can trust about the problems you are facing, speaking with a counsellor if needed, journaling your thoughts, taking time alone to think, and allowing yourself time and space to express your emotions. It’s ok to cry!
Optimal physical health requires you to: monitor your health status by seeing a doctor regularly, caring for medical conditions, and engaging in preventative approaches to health care such as eating healthy foods, exercising, and avoiding toxic or addictive substances.
Financial wellness can be described as the ability to financially support yourself and family (if applicable) comfortably. Ensuring financial wellness involves maintaining employment in a career that suits your interests or seeking employment counselling to help with unemployment. When experiencing financial problems, tending to these issues involves: seeking financial or credit counselling in times of difficulties, budgeting money in advance, accessing resources such as financial aid during times of crises, and establishing long term goals for financial stability.
Mental health also requires care and attention. It is important to recognize when stress, anxiety, or sadness has gotten to uncontrollable levels. Caring for your mental health involves: developing healthy coping mechanisms, seeking professional help in times of crises, and addressing unhealthy coping strategies such as self-harm.
Spiritual care allows you to nurture your spiritual beliefs and seek guidance from a higher power. If you follow a religion, make time for religious studies. If yoga meditation helps you to relax, then use this tool to care for your spirit. Speaking with a spiritual leader is also a great way to learn about the benefits of spirituality.
A balanced lifestyle refers to a lifestyle which allows you to balance all of your many needs. Identifying different areas of your life can help you to narrow in on which area(s) are causing you to feel unfulfilled. Each aspect of your lifestyle is important, from adequate rest to financial stability. It is not always easy to create the perfect life circumstances, but identifying areas that are lacking attention is the first step towards change.
Prioritize your Needs
If there is an area in your life that has left you feeling overwhelmed or out of control, address this issue and confront the imbalance. By tending to your problem you are focusing on the solution as opposed to the negativity the problem has brought to your life. Take action towards improvement. Seek information, resources, guidance, and advice about overcoming the issue in your life which has you feeling out of balance.
You are in control, it is time to step up and direct your life!
Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies for women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey.
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