Out of ten how much pressure do you feel in your life at the moment?

Are your own beliefs about how things “should” be causing you to feel more pressure than is necessary?

There is no doubt that our thoughts are powerful and impact how we experience life. When our thoughts are making us feel like we always need to do and be more, life can feel challenging and exhausting.

If you are looking to find more calm, balance and control in your life, shifting how you think can help release some of the pressure you feel. This was the overarching message I took away from a recent YWCA event I attended in Sydney, called The Balancing Act.

As a corporate speaker in this area, I am always keen to learn more about how others achieve balance in their life and workplace. With an amazing panel of successful women, made up of Elizabeth Bradfield the Chief Operating Officer of HSBC, Dr Ginni Mansberg a GP and health advocate, Jessica Sepel a nutritionist, blogger and author and Sarah Roocroft an entrepreneur and founder of The Wonder Mindset, there were so many amazing “take ways” but these were my top three:

  1. Let Go Of Guilt

Jessica Sepel is clearly passionate about tackling the “guilt mindset,” especially around food and exercise. She acknowledges that her industry has been largely to blame for fostering this mindset, but she is on a mission to change it.

Instead of having an “all or nothing” mentality to diet, exercise and life, Jess advocates balance and “prescribed” indulgence. She says that when we can take the pressure off ourselves, we can make healthier decisions that are sustainable in the long term and which support our wellbeing and our happiness.

It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the mindset of “shoulds”…feeling like we “should” be doing more, doing better or doing things differently. The problem with the “should mindset” is that it causes us to focus on what we aren’t doing, to what is lacking in our lives, which in turn amps up the pressure and stress we feel about how we are living.

Sarah Roocroft, has her own take on leaving guilt behind, saying “I just don’t do guilt.” Sarah embraces the 80/20 rule in all areas of her life, allowing herself to stuff up 20% of the time in everything she does in her career, relationships and being a mother.

Being able to be comfortable with the idea of imperfection and even failure is powerful and freeing and is a gentle reminder that we are human and will never get anything 100% right.

What area of your life do you notice you are driven by guilt and “shoulds”? How could you offer yourself a little more self-compassion in this area and reduce how much pressure you are under?

2. Not Aiming For An “Insta-Worthy” Life

Dr Ginna Mansberg is one woman who is doing so much in her life and is happy to share her short-comings with ease and humour. At the heart of her message was the need to embrace and accept imperfection in life. She says we shouldn’t expect to be across everything in life and still produce “Insta-worthy” dinners and houses that could grace the covers of home styling magazines.

In an age when it is easy to “see” into other people’s lives through social media, it can be tempting to get stuck comparing your life to others and feeling like your efforts don’t “stack up.” It is important to remember that a lot of what we see on social media has been crafted and designed to appear faultless and is not how “real life” often plays out.

Is there an area in your life where you are striving for more than is necessary? How might you take the pressure off by lowering the bar just a little?

3. Set Your Own Boundaries

We live in such a fast paced world that it’s easy to become addicted to being “on.” Jessica Sepel said it’s crucial that we set our own boundaries for our health and productivity.

For Jessica this means setting up daily healthy routines, including not engaging with email or social media until she sits down to start her day, she switches off from social media again at around 7pm and takes ten minutes at the end of the day to de-stress by engaging in a mindfulness activity or yoga.

Elizabeth Bradfield has her own non-negotiable routines in her day, including her commitment to move her body everyday, even when she is super busy. She said that if she can’t get to the gym she will schedule in walking meetings with her team. She knows that to feel her best she needs to move each day and make it a priority.

Are there any areas in your life where a lack of boundaries is impacting your health, happiness and productivity? What daily routine could you start in order to create a new healthy boundary for yourself?

There is no doubt that we are all under some level of pressure in our lives. Some pressure is needed to fuel our focus and motivation, but when the pressure we are under builds, we need to know how to release the valve.

Listening to the wonderfully wise women on the panel, it is clear that one area we can change and control is how much pressure we are applying to ourselves on a day-to-day basis.

Moving forward I am keen to embrace the 80/20 rule and establish more healthy boundaries in my day. How about you?

What small changes can you make to create more balance in your life?