Gemma McCaw: Life is a juggling act but you can achieve balance

There's no doubt our lives seem to get busier by the minute. But there is a way of looking at our commitments that might ease the load – we just need to adjust our thinking.

In a world where we are often expected to be everything to everyone, it can feel like a constant challenge to balance the demands of family, friends, our health and work.

We all have responsibilities that need our time and energy, and there’s no doubt it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.

But there is a way of looking at our commitments that might ease the load – we just need to adjust our thinking.

If we see these demands as the many hats we wear, rather than all the things we have to do, we might achieve greater balance in our lives.

Hats can come on and off, depending where we are and who we’re with. In the mornings, we might have our mum hat on, then it’s off to work with our career hat on, then during our lunch break, our friend hat might slip on.

The juggle is real, but it’s important to focus on one thing at a time to avoid feeling completely swamped.

Learn to be happy in your skin

The key to happiness isn’t looking at what you don’t have – it’s looking at what you do have. The grass isn’t greener on the other side; the grass is green where you water it. Stay true to who you are and stop trying to please others as it will only add stress to your life. This will help you be a happier you.

Whanau first

Treasure your loved ones. Our support networks are so valuable, but often the people we love are the ones we compromise when we are busy because we know they’ll understand.

Set aside times in the weekends and evenings for activities that you all can enjoy together. Put a high price on this and make sure you go through with it. Then if you have a busy week ahead and know you’ll be away more than you’d like, at least you know you’ve made your time count.

Take care of yourself

This is one of the most important things we should be doing, but it’s often last on our priority lists. Ensure you are eating well, sleeping well, exercising and finding time for something you love, and you’ll find you’re the best version of yourself for all those around you.

Reach out if you need a hand

Too often, we feel we should be able to manage everything ourselves, but life can be a lot smoother if we share the load. Don’t be afraid to delegate more tasks to your partner, if you have one, and make sure chores are divvied up equally.

If you need some help from friends and family, ask for a hand. It takes a village, after all, and there is no shame in requesting help. Equally, if you know a friend or relative is struggling, why not pop in and fold some washing or drop off a meal? Gestures like this can make a huge difference to someone’s day.

Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts

When you start to feel you have too much on your plate, try simplifying your life. Order your groceries online, cancel some of your non-urgent appointments and slow down a little until you feel more in

control again.

Find a moment to enjoy

Life is busy, but we must make some time for ourselves. And this doesn’t necessarily mean a luxury solo holiday, although we probably wouldn’t say no!

Instead, find small pockets in your day and start scheduling “mini me-breaks”. Take five minutes to sit down with a cup of tea, to meditate or to stride out for a 20-minute walk. Small moments can make a big difference.


Don’t let work dictate your life. Yes, our careers are hugely rewarding, but it’s important to remember that work is not everything.

We all have busy periods, but working late should be the exception, not the rule. Have structures in place to get your work done on time and accept friendly reminders from family that there is more to life than work.

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