Breaking a cycle of perceived failure: The process of making changes toward a more balanced lifestyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) is a new lifestyle intervention for mental health services users, developed to support meaningful engagement in daily activities and a balanced lifestyle. This study aimed at exploring the BEL participants’ process of making lifestyle changes. Methods: This constructivist grounded theory study took place in Sweden from 2013–2017 and explored the processes of 19 BEL participants when making lifestyle changes. Data were collected through 29 interviews. Results: A process of breaking a cycle of perceived failure and making changes toward a more balanced lifestyle was constructed, consisting of five categories: Going at it gently: change is an on-going process; Support for progress, permission to fail; Prioritising and setting boundaries; Adjusting for a sustainable balance; and Caring for a valued self. Each category included a strategy for change as well as a related inner change. Strategies involved learning and trying techniques for making changes toward a more balanced lifestyle, whereas the personal changes often involved a more self-compassionate approach and allowing oneself to utilise these techniques. Conclusion: The results contribute to knowledge in the process of making lifestyle changes, specifically, how strategies for change and inner changes interact and can support personal recovery toward mental health. This knowledge could help to support clients in making personally meaningful changes toward a more balanced lifestyle as well as inform future research in the process of making change.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Occupational Therapy


  • health promotion, life skills, mental health, occupational therapy research, psychiatric disability
Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 Jul 25
Publication categoryResearch