Finding a balance: 9 tips to help you begin living the life you desire

1. De-stress. How do you react to the pressures in your life? It is impossible and even undesirable to eliminate all stress from our lives. Stress, when properly managed, can actually enrich and motivate us, but when it is not properly dealt with, it can be very detrimental. What are your stressors? Begin to take notice of times that you are feeling overwhelmed. Can you eliminate these stress-producers from your life? If they can't be eliminated, it is possible to change your reaction to them.

2. Simplify. You don't need to be busy every minute of the day. Stay home with your family. Don't make a commitment unless it is important to you. Get in the habit of saying no to things you don't want to, or don't have time to do (and don't feel guilty about it.) Consider hiring household help if that's an option for you. Don't be a slave to the phone -- that's what answering machines are for. Remember your priorities.

3. Play. When we allow our leisure time to decrease, we may see that our relationships begin to suffer. Take time out to play. Read with your child, get down on the floor and cuddle with your baby, build with Legos, play tag, watch a favorite movie, or share a cup of tea and some good conversation with your teen. Really be there for that moment. Show your family with one-on-one time how important they are to you.

4. Share the load. Partners and children -- even toddlers -- can help out. Sit down, and decide as a family where the household cleaning priorities lie, and assign jobs. Do you really care if your blinds haven't been dusted in a month? Does anyone else in your family notice, or care? Giving your children age-appropriate duties helps them to develop self-reliance. Sharing the load will result in more time for everyone. Order adds to a calm, peaceful environment within your home.

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