Here at Dashing Dish, one of the most common questions we get asked is, “How in the world do I create peaceful balance in my life?” As a busy woman, wife, mom, grandma, person, how are we to get everything done and enjoy a more balanced, healthy life?
The truth is, balance can feel a bit elusive for all of us at times. Ironically, many times we work so hard at creating balance, that we lose it in the process. It’s important to understand that balance is relative. A balanced lifestyle for one person could be very different for another. That’s why clearly qualifying for yourself exactly what a balanced life looks like for you is key. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
Take a few minutes to close your eyes, pray, and ask the Lord to give you a very clear vision for what a balanced, healthy lifestyle looks like for YOU. Then, write it down! I recommend writing down categories in your life such as marriage, parenting, work, friendship, ministry, health, rest, finances, your spirit, etc. Or, areas of life that are important to you like peace, joy, and patience. Then, in each category, write a list of what feels out of balance – what’s not working? What’s stealing joy, peace, health, or impact?
Next to it, start to create a list of very specific ways you can bring those back into balance. This is an exercise I do myself and let me promise you, it’s both powerful and effective. Creating what I call an “on-purpose living plan,” is one of the most powerful ways I know to help keep you focused and enjoying consistent balance. Having a plan for balance helps guide you in your decision making so you know if the ways you’re spending your time and the choices you’re making align with how you desire to live. I’m getting a bit vulnerable here, but I'm blessed to share an actual example of my most recent “on purpose living plan” from my journal (please overlook my use of "your," I know it's "you're." Thanks for grace!) My personal categories are joy, peace, radiance, setting captives free (ministry), mom life, financial stewardship, kingdom mindedness, health, and holy marriage.
I’m also going to touch on responses from a recent Dashing Dish poll where we asked you, “What areas do you struggle with the most and would appreciate tips for increasing balance?” By far, the most common answers were:
- Keeping up with chores and tasks
- Keeping a nourished spirit
- Meal planning and prepping
Like you, I must work daily to keep my life in healthy balance, but I’ll share with you my top tips for getting ahead in these three areas.
1. Keeping up with chores and tasks
Do your “one thing” every day.
For me, lists are life! I’m old school and still like a handwritten list. At the beginning of each week I write out tasks, appointments, reminders - everything I can think of - so I have a very clear idea of what must be done. When I have my non-negotiable tasks laid out, I then have an idea of what can realistically be added and accomplished. Looking over my day gives me the ability to find time and plan for chores and tasks. The most effective way I’ve found to keep daily household tasks under control is to do my “one thing.” I choose one household task to do each day. Some days, it’s as simple as making a whole house sweep to gather random things left around, tidy, and put things away to limit clutter which makes me crazy. Other days it’s more of a traditional household chore like scrubbing toilets or running the vacuum. I find that if I do one small task every day, things don’t get away from me. Then, once a month I do a complete, deep, whole house clean.
Do laundry every day.
Now, if you live alone or it’s just two of you this may not be applicable. For my family of four laundry is one thing that can get out of control in a hurry! One of the best things I’ve ever done is adopt the "one load a day" rule. At the end of the night, everybody puts all of their dirty clothes or towels into one basket. The next morning, I start a load early while I work out. I toss it in the dryer while everyone gets ready. Then, before we leave for the day I quickly fold them. At the end of the day, I put everyone’s small pile in their own baskets and they’re responsible for putting them away. One of the chores I do on behalf of my whole family is laundry. Doing it daily helps keeps the loads small, so laundry is done from wash to put away each day. That helps give me peace.
2. Keeping a nourished spirit
I’m glad this one came up, because honestly nothing else is more important. If your spirit is hungry or dry, it’s difficult to be successful at almost anything else. Life ebbs and flows. In some seasons spending time nourishing your spirit is easier than others. The key is consistency. In my opinion, consistency in this area comes from establishing a great, sustainable morning routine. I talk more about ways to help make mornings work [here] https://www.dashingdish.com/blog/top-tips-for-maki.... It’s also important to keep in mind that feeding our spirit doesn’t always mean long, focused time in the Word or prayer. That kind of fellowship with God is amazing and wonderful, however keeping a steady fill of what I call spiritual “snacks” is so helpful. We eat snacks throughout the days to sustain our physical energy, the same thing is very helpful when it comes to our spirits. Simply send up a quick prayer of thanks or call for help. Listen to worship music and praise Him. Listen to a bible teaching or podcast. Personally, even stepping outside, taking a deep breath of fresh air and praising the Lord for the beauty of creation that surrounds me helps keep me connected to the spirit.
3. Meal planning and prepping
We spend a lot of time talking about this topic here at Dashing Dish. We do that because when it comes to maintaining a long-term healthy lifestyle, learning this skill is really important. When it comes to meal prep and planning my most important tips for success are:
1.) Schedule meal planning and prep – Put them in your calendar and have a plan for it. I tend to do more extensive meal prepping on the days I have groceries delivered so everything is fresh and ready to go. Maybe for you it’s time on the weekend, or early morning. Whatever the case, schedule it!
2.) Take it step by step – Much like filling our spirits, time for meal prep and planning ebbs and flows. There are times when I’m able to spend two full hours on a full meal prep session (this is my limit, I never spend more than two hours), other days or weeks it’s as simple as tossing a couple pounds of chicken in the crockpot and chopping some veggies. My best tip is to plan one small thing daily. Just like my household "one thing," I try make at least one food item every day as part of my “one thing” daily plan. Even if you simply set aside ten minutes, you'll be amazed when you can do in ten minutes! On really busy days I try to at least accomplish one small prep item like putting together a quick batch of protein balls or cutting up fresh veggies. Small steps lead to big, long-term results. I talk at length about how I meal prep [here] https://www.dashingdish.com/blog/september-article....
Above all else, ask the Lord to guide your steps and direct your path. Remind yourself that He is a God of peace and order. If you ask Him each morning to guide you and order your day for blessings and peace, He will do it! He may reorder your day, but I promise you His plans are always best. And, they are for balance and peace in your life. If you surrender your plans to Him daily and lean on Him for direction and understanding, He will always direct your path in the way of peace. Grace to you, you’re doing your best and the Lord sees that! Enjoy a peace-filled, balanced, healthy day today!