One word that seems to encompass the young professional’s experience and journey through adulthood is pressure. Between comparing ourselves and our lives with the highlight reels of our peers, to answering work emails and text messages prior to stepping out of bed in the morning—the struggle for balance is endless.
As the last generation to experience a world without the full integration of smartphones and the internet, the current pace of our society can sometimes feel overwhelming. Although Americans report being more anxious than they have been in the past, our culture continues to glamorize being stressed, busy and overworked.
In a world which shows no signs of slowing down, here are a few tips for keeping up and staying sane.
Quit Trying to Be Like Everyone Else
Many of us have the impression that rigidity, structure and consistency are the only ways to achieve balance and success. Yet there are people who thrive in flexible and inconsistent environments.
Denying your true nature in an effort to become who you think you’re supposed to be will not do you (or anyone else) any favors. In fact, it will probably cause you to burnout even faster. Embrace your perceived ‘weaknesses’ and start trying to work with them, rather than against them.
Go with Your Gut
So much of our health and wellness is linked to the gut and that includes our mental health. Understandably, the internet is crawling with information about what we should (and should not) be eating for optimal digestive wellness.
Amidst a constant stream of content telling us what to eat, think, and feel—it can be really difficult to listen to and honor our individual needs. Sure, half the internet says celery juice, avocados, and kale are the key ingredients to health and wellness. But are they really?
Listen to your body and decide for yourself. What works for everyone else might not work for you.
Quit Playing the Comparison Game
If you’re constantly comparing yourself and your achievements to others, you’re wasting valuable energy that could otherwise be spent channeling your own talents. We aren’t all the same, and that’s okay. We’re not supposed to be.
Holding yourself to someone else’s standards won’t get you any closer to achieving balance or success. And it definitely won’t do much for your health. What it will do is make you feel pretty awful and put you on a path to achieving someone else’s dreams.
Re-Examine Your Ideas About ‘Self-care’
Think about the ways in which you practice self-care. Is it just another thing to cross off your to-do list, or is it something you truly look forward to?
‘Self-care’ is a billion dollar industry which, when not pursued with intention, can start to feel like work. If yoga or meditation feels more like a chore than a way to nurture yourself, maybe it’s not for you.
That isn’t to say that you should just give up when things are hard. It simply means that what recharges your battery, might not recharge someone else’s. If yoga isn’t your thing, try stretching in the morning or moving your body in a way that feels natural and easy.
Self-care shouldn’t be a source of stress in your life. It’s supposed to feel good.
Balance is in the Eye of the Beholder
Let go of pressure and expectations, and begin to look inward to develop your own ideas about what it means to be balanced, healthy, and successful. And remember that the only approval you ever need in this life is your own.