Chart Your Wheel of Life
Staying away from extremes and incorporating essentials is a good start to achieving better balance and improved well-being in life. So, what are the essentials? While the list may vary somewhat among individuals, the following outline is a great starting point and foundation for all. I encourage you to take a few moments and compare your life to what the “wheel of life” reflects. If you’re lacking or weak in some areas, consider taking the time to strengthen that area in your life. I often see people for therapy in San Diego who struggle with these issues and I witness the changes that can come about when people make adjustments to bring about more balance and harmony.
Below are eight categories that need development and maintenance in order for someone to be balanced and optimize well-being. Before reading, it’s best to take a piece of paper and pencil and draw a circle. Since there are 8 categories, draw 8 spokes from the center of the circle to the perimeter of the circle and label each spoke with one of the categories below. Each spoke will then represent on category and your circle will then look like a pie with 8 pieces. Along each spoke/category, evenly number it from 1 to 10 – 1 starting near the center of the circle and 10 ending at the perimeter of the circle. Then, as you read about each category, you can rate yourself. If you are very, very strong in an area, you may rate yourself a 9 or 10 along that particular spoke/category. If you’re very weak in an area, you may be a 2, etc. Then when you have put a mark on each spoke corresponding to the number, connect the marks on each spoke and see how balanced and developed you are in relation to these categories. You’ll get a visual picture based on the shape that takes place after you connect the dots.
Eight Categories lending to a Balanced Life
Physical Environment – Do you like where you come home to every day? Do you have peace where you live and enjoy who you live with? Are you grounded by your surroundings or prefer to be away from them? An enjoyable physical environment is important to your well-being and this includes the inside of your home, who occupies it and what neighborhood surrounds it. If you have a physical environment that works against your balance, this can take time to change, but keep your sights on what you need.
Fun & Recreation – When you’re not working or fulfilling your obligations, what do you do to laugh, have fun and get your head out of the day to day? Many of us get in a rut and are so used to rushing and working that we don’t know what to do with our free time. If you are one of those, it’s time to reflect on some long held desires you’ve neglected or revisit the activities you used to enjoy.
Spirituality – Not everyone is religious, but most are spiritual. Find the path that feeds you spiritually, or the activities and community that helps you to spiritually grow and feel connected to something bigger than yourself.
Personal Growth/Learning – We’re never too old to learn. Look at the world as your classroom! What new things do you want to explore? What will feed you as an individual and give you the feelings of awe, interest and passion reserved for those who get out of their ruts and heads? If you have not felt engaged with life and feel stagnate, you may need to enhance this category.
Relationships – Community is very important to our well-being and may include family, friends and romantic relationships. How do you define your community? Your family? Your friends? Is your community fulfilling your relationship needs? “No man is an island” and make sure you’re not trying to live as one.
Health – Although not every health concern can be remedied quickly or independently, much of our good health can be influenced by our habits – both physical and mental. How well do you eat? How well do you take care of your body? Do you exercise and move your body regularly? Sleep well? Do you drink too much or smoke? Take an inventory and see how well you are performing in this category and consider making some lifestyle changes to bring about greater balance.
Money – If money is scarce, stress is usually high effecting the body and mind. While it’s often difficult to increase our income overnight, an honest account of how you spend your money can often help. Consider prioritizing your spending and find out if you can cut some things out that are not needed in order to have more left at the end of the month. While money is not in itself an issue in therapy, the effects of not having enough quickly can become an issue in counseling.
Work/Career – Do you enjoy your work? Whether a stay at home mom or an executive, finding pleasure and meaning in your job is crucial. You may not be able to change your work quickly, but you can try to change things about your work or your attitude towards it. If an attitude change and/or is not sufficient, I would consider some long term planning to find a job that gives you more pleasure for your future.
So, now that you charted your categories on your circle chart, how balanced does your life look? A big, broad circle reflects that the crucial categories in your life are developed. If your wheel looks jagged, uneven and looks nothing like a circle, then you’re probably way out of balance and some attention is most likely due. If you are living balanced, congratulations and keep it up! If you don’t, I do hope you consider some changes in your life. You’ll be happier you did so!
For more information or if you have any questions about therapy or are considering seeing a San Diego therapist, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to speak with you and address your questions.