What does work-life balance mean to you? Most of us have several roles and responsibilities in life, and often feel overloaded and overwhelmed. We feel pressures associated with work, home and family, friends, physical health, and community service. We may even feel guilty that we’re neglecting certain areas of our lives. If you have arthritis, it’s important to regain control of your life. This article gives you 15 ways to help you reduce pain by regaining balance! “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau Manage Your Home Life 1. Remove clutter. “A cluttered home leads to stress”, says Jennifer Nelson, writer for WebMD.com. “Think of all the time we waste looking for items that aren’t where they should be. The sheer stress of a cluttered life means we may miss deadlines, and feel anxiety when we can’t find important papers or items.” 2. Let go. A clean house is important, but having ironed dishtowels may not be. Decide which household chores are critical, and [caption id="attachment_538" align="alignright" width="300"] Decide which household chores are critical, and let go of the rest.[/caption] which you can let go of. Then see which chores your family members can help with. For the rest, let go. 3. Save money. Reducing the strain on your bank account can help relieve stress because you feel you are in control. Saving money doesn’t have to be about extreme couponing. There are many simple ways to stay within a budget, from entertaining at home to buying reusable items. Find one or two money saving tips that work for you, and put them into action so you feel more balanced. 4. Be fully present. Friendships may fade, jobs change, but through thick and thin, your family is part of your life. You can make a difference in your family life by being fully engaged when you’re with family members. Eat meals together. Plan enjoyable activities. Be with them, instead of thinking about your next chore or work project. 5. Disconnect. On the weekend, at least for one day or a few hours each night, step away from the computer, turn off the phone and give your brain a rest. Nothing bad will happen if you don’t check your Facebook page or your email for 24 hours. And you’ll have time to focus on activities and the people you’re with. Yes, you can do it! Manage Your Time “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’” – Lao-Tzu [caption id="attachment_539" align="alignright" width="300"] The first step to managing your time is setting priorities.[/caption] 6. Prioritize. If you can’t manage your time, you can’t manage anything. The first step is setting priorities. Then develop rituals and routines that make your life more efficient and productive so you can reach your goals. Maria Brilaki, Amazon.com bestselling author, offers 5 Steps to Set Your Priorities Straight. 7. Just say No. “Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton. If you were taught to be agreeable when you were growing up, saying no can be difficult. But saying yes to everything can compromise your health and wellbeing. Once you understand that saying no to low priorities means you can say yes to higher priorities, it will be easier to say no to activities you don’t want to participate in. You don’t have to offer a lengthy excuse. You can say, “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to participate, but if anything changes I will let you know.” 8. Create morning rituals that empower you. Start off each day with habits that set you up for success, from eating nourishing breakfast to writing down your goals and tasks for the day. For some people, a few minutes of meditation creates the calm you need to face the day, while for others, rising earlier to exercise gives you more energy. 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day and Change Your Life gives you more ideas to get started. Make Your Health a Priority [caption id="attachment_540" align="alignright" width="300"] Getting enough sleep can dramatically reduce your joint pain.[/caption] 9. Prioritize sleep. When you have arthritis, it’s important to give yourself time to recuperate and heal. For many people, just getting enough sleep can dramatically reduce your joint pain. Sleep is the longest time during which the body has low levels of inflammation and the opportunity to heal. During deep sleep, energy levels are restored and the immune system is strengthened. Being rested gives you the energy to tackle your day, and helps keep your life in balance. 10. Get help. No one can do everything alone, and there are times when you need help. In 20 Signs You Have What It Takes To Be Highly Successful Even If You Don’t Feel You Are, Kalen Bruce says, “Successful people understand the value of asking for help. Whether it’s your marriage, other relationships or a business venture, you know that you need other people. Nobody succeeds alone and we all need to know how to ask for help when we need it.” Bruce quotes Anne Wilson Schaef, “Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” Manage Your Work Life 11. Set priorities. In How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority: 5 Tips, Lauren Perkins, founder and CEO of Perks Consulting, says it's easy to be overwhelmed when the to-do list gets too long. She suggests these five steps to setting daily priorities: Make a list, assess the value, set attainable goals, be flexible so you can deal with changing priorities, and avoid spending too much time perfecting one project. 12. Never multitask. In 24 Hours Not Enough? 10 Tips Of Time Management To Make Every Day Count Chris Haigh says: Multitasking is a word used the world over when it comes to productivity and time management. However, in recent years, multitasking has been increasingly disregarded as a method of productivity. Studies show that moving back and forth from one task to another in a short time actually shortens attention spans and affects the quality of the work. Instead, work on one task until it’s finished. This will allow you to get much more done in your precious 24 hours. 13. Bunch tasks. In the same article, Chris Haigh says: “Scheduling similar tasks together allows for your brain to stay entrenched in the same zone for longer and encourages being in the ‘Flow’, a state of joyful productivity with an inherent sense of bliss, something that is easily desired and hard-won.” Manage Your Life [caption id="attachment_541" align="alignright" width="300"] Don’t try to balance every day, balance over time.[/caption] 14. Don’t obsess about balance. In 3 Easy Ways to Find Work-Life Balance, Geri Stengel, founder of Ventureneer.com writes, “Don’t try to balance every day. On a given day, I’m great at one, good at another, and bad at another, says Shelly Sun, CEO of Brightstar. I balance over time. One day, she may be a great CEO and not so good mom but the reverse is true other days. She travels but then takes time off from work to have time with her children. 15. Carve out time for yourself. Life isn’t only about work or taking care of family. Put yourself on your calendar. What gives you pleasure-taking a walk in nature, attending a performance of some kind, visiting a new town or being a tourist in your own town? Do you yearn to spend more time reading or listening to music? Do you dream of taking lessons in dance, painting, or piano? Learning something that’s always intrigued you will balance the chores and obligations in your life. Don’t forget to indulge in a few healthy treats such as getting a massage with botanical oils, or a pedicure or a facial. Simple ways to restore equilibrium and balance to your day include meeting a friend for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, relaxing in a hot bath with a scented candle, or watching a movie. Choose what you enjoy most. Over time, regular “me time” will create balance in your life, and improve your overall wellbeing.