When someone says ‘I live a healthy lifestyle’, what’s the first thing that crosses your mind?
For a lot of people, hearing that is going to automatically connect it with being active, doing a sport, or eating the right food. Which is a definitely the right start, but it’s not exactly all there is to it.
Reaching that perfect state of wellness means achieving balance in life. Not just taking care of one aspect of your health, but nourishing your body, mind and soul. Maintaining a healthy balance in life is not only essential for happiness and overall well-being - it can also be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career. With life balance, you’ll also gain a far greater ability to focus your attention and energy on attaining your goals and moving forward in a meaningful way.
What a balanced life looks like is very individual. There’s no guaranteed formula you can follow to reach your optimal quality of life. What might help you reach balance, might stress someone else out. The first step to finding your balance is to start changing some of your routine.
Here’s a few universal tips that will make sure you’re on the right path.
Most people don’t even notice, the thing that makes them feel the most overwhelmed is actually the technology designed to help them. How come?
Well, before if you wanted updates on your friends, you had to call or visit them. Want news from around the world? Go buy a newspaper. Now, all you need to do is glance at your phone in the morning and your day begins with an ex-boyfriend's new engagement, a new shooting happening somewhere, another war claiming casualties, your cousin outing themselves as a bigot… And that’s just the start of your day. When you put it like that, it’s all a bit overwhelming, right? But we’re so used to being bombarded by all this information we almost have a fear of missing out on something. We want to be updated. We want to know. Except knowing all this extra information on top of your own personal worries… is just unnecessary stress. That’s why you should promise yourself to disconnect. Start by not checking your phone the first thing in the morning. And if possible, try to disconnect for the entire weekend. Don’t check your phone. Don’t post on Facebook. Don’t even turn on your TV. It’s okay if you can’t do it for the entire weekend - but for at least for a couple of hours, give your brain some rest. It deserves it.
Learn to say no.
If it’s not valuable to your life, it’s time to let it go! Trying to achieve everything at once will only make you feel more stressed out, and you might lack the time to do the things you genuinely want to. Helping others is wonderful, but only after you have already helped yourself. Just like you would in an airplane, in case of emergency put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping someone else. If you’re struggling with stress, lacking balance and don’t feel you’re being your best or happiest, it’s a signal that the first person you need to help is you. That’s why, at least sometimes, and even if you don’t really want to: say no. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
Avoid negative people.
Negative people will make you more negative as well. This can be hard to notice especially if you’re close friends with someone who tends to lean more towards pessimist and somehow always manages to find flaws in every person or situation, because you’re used to it. You adapted to this kind of behavior from this person and so you barely notice it. But whether you notice it or not, your subconscious is absorbing all of those negative feelings and comments like a sponge. People who constantly complain, whine and have a bad attitude will drain your energy and eventually make you feel the same way they feel! In turn, if you surround yourself with positive people that help you be the best you can be, you’ll absorb their can-do mentality as well, and looking on the bright side of life will come naturally.
Spend some alone time.
Naturally, we don’t mean ‘become a hermit’, but a little alone time can actually prove to be exceptionally therapeutic. Meditate, write, sketch, read, do some yoga or just sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. It might sound a bit wild (or the opposite of wild maybe?), but doing absolutely nothing and spending some time alone is also a form of self-care, and as we all know self-care is important, especially when trying to reach balance in life. Take a little out of your day to recharge, without anyone else there to drain your energy. If you get enough alone time, you will feel more comfortable in situations that usually make you feel stressed out.
Remember the goals you set out for yourself.
You probably have some things you want to accomplish in 2019, and that’s amazing! There’s a whole year ahead of you and absolutely no limit to what you can achieve. The trick is to remind yourself of your goal throughout the year, not just throughout January. Key to this is motivation, and a trick to keeping your motivation strong is setting smaller goals. For example, maybe your goal is to become an expert in cooking. Of course, you’re not going to become Gordon Ramsay overnight. Mainly because nighttime is for beauty sleep, not cooking, but also because becoming good at something is a slow process. You might feel discouraged after trying out some recipes and not getting them right. This is where the smaller goals kick in. Start with one dish you want to perfect, and then make it again. And again. And again. Eventually you’ll be able to add your own twist to the meal, and perfect the recipe. One meal at a time, and you’ll be able to reach your goal. This same principle applies no matter what goal you set out for yourself, just take it one step at a time, get motivated by the little victories and eventually, you’ll achieve everything you set your mind to.
Achieving balance is not easy. You'll probably find yourself close to giving up at some point, but persistence is key to success. When you feel like giving up remind yourself of everything you did to get here, and think of all the things you've already achieved in life. It's proof that you really can do everything you set your mind to, all you have to do is try, and not give up.