How Balanced Is Your Life?

MOSTLY A: THE BUSY BEE

Why this is you: You thrive on having a packed schedule, but beware of burnout. There is a danger of taking on too much yourself and forgetting how to share the load. ‘Ask yourself why you keep yourself so busy,’ says work-life balance coach, Suzy Pool. ‘Is it because you’re not emotionally content and hiding from something?

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How to make it better: No matter how busy you are, you shouldn’t neglect downtime. ‘Doing something calming, such as yoga or just reading a book, can actually make you more productive,’ says Suzy. ‘It can take time to learn how to relax if you live life at high speed, but persevere because it provides clarity of thought.’ Personal-growth expert Louise Presley-Turner agrees. ‘Make an appointment with yourself in your diary,’ she says. ‘And don’t be afraid to be alone. You can’t give and give without replenishing. Also, it’s really important to make time to see friends – it’ll highlight the lighter side of life; the part without responsibilities.’

MOSTLY B: THE PERFECT BALANCER

Why this is you: If you mostly chose Bs, it’s a good sign that you’re managing to At in what’s important to you. But if there were any As and Cs in the mix, note which they were and address the areas where you can make improvements. For example, if you feel your partner doesn’t pull their weight, this needs tackling. It can be difficult to bring up, but it’s worth doing to avoid resentment in the long run and to free up more time. How to make it better: Try dedicating regular time to listening to each other properly – without judging or interrupting – to work out what each of you actually wants. Then experiment with turn-taking when it comes to kids’ activities and/or housework until you And a winning formula that works for everyone. Also, remember not to panic if life sometimes gets out of balance. ‘Life is about contrast and duality,’ says Louise. ‘If things get thrown off balance for a while, roll with it. You’re good at recognising what balance is so you’ll be able to get it back.’

MOSTLY C: THE SERIOUS STRESSER

Why this is you: Your answers show all the signposts of stress, especially at work. A recent study shows that one in four people work longer hours than they want to, and another shows that almost 14% of us feel guilty about taking any time off from work.

How to make it better: ‘Become aware of your own values by writing down the top five things that are important to you,’ says Suzy. ‘Then see how your job fits with those values. A culture of working late can be set by a boss or a team, but things can change. Log extra hours, take note of when overwork affects customers or your well-being. Then assertively present your case to your manager. Be factual rather than emotional. As for annual leave, remember you’re entitled to it and your happiness plays a huge part in how you function at work,’ says Suzy. ‘Time off allows you to refresh with things that nourish you, you don’t even have to go anywhere – and daily meditation is a great tool,’ adds Louise. ‘Just five minutes at the beginning and end of each day will change your life.’

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