Two weeks ago I started a short series on managing stress. The first key discussed is to learn people skills and the second key is to learn to manage your emotions. You can read these posts here. The key we’ll explore this week is to purposely create life balance.

Key #3: Create Life Balance
Life balance can seem like a panacea. I suspect every generation has felt this way. The inventions and devices that have helped us save time and offer convenience have not reduced our level of activity. Instead of using the time we save to develop ourselves, our relationships or pursue creative hobbies, we choose to fill it with more activity.

The directions on our time saving devices don’t include, “With the time you save, spend it reading a good book, pursue a fun hobby or spend time with family and friends.” It used to be that we would spend an hour or more to prepare a dinner meal. Now, with the microwave oven, we can make the same sort of meal in 15 minutes. What do we do with the extra 45 minutes?

Instead of sitting and talking with one another we race off to a meeting, work that we’ve brought home from the office, schoolwork or sit in front of the television. So the first way to having life balance is to not fill all of your time with more activity. Plan to actually sit and collect your thoughts, connect with others, feed your soul.

The second way to have life balance is to be fully present. Here is a great illustration of this principle that I first heard from Dr. Michael Lillibridge, co-author of the Peoplemap. Picture each part of your life as represented by a can of paint. White could represent your spiritual life, green represents family life, blue represents work life, etc. If you were painting a room using these colors, what would happen if you immersed your paint brush into each can without first cleaning the brush? Instead of vibrant distinct colors everything would bleed together into a gray shade. To avoid this, you have to clean your brush.

In the same way you want to create some way to “clean your brush” as you go from work to home and every other area of life. Learn to adopt the philosophy, “I want to be where I am when I am there.” So when you are at work be fully immersed in your work. When you leave, find a way to “clean your brush” before arriving home. That way, when you are at home you can be fully present.

Some ways to do this include exercise, listening to music, reading or meditating. Whatever you decide, it is important that you find what works for you and make it part of your regimen.

I hope you have enjoyed the 3 Keys To Avoiding Stress that I’ve shared over these past three weeks. Remember, if you would like a copy of 10 ways to prevent stress please  email me and I’ll send it right out to you. This comes with an offer of a complimentary 25 minute coaching call to help you learn the skills needed to manage difficult relationships, grow in emotional intelligence and gain life balance. If you would like a copy of the Peoplemap visit here to help with your relationships. Whatever you do, don’t wait. Take one of these three keys and begin to reduce your stress today.