Do you ever feel as though one area of your life, be it your health, work, studies, family or friends, is being neglected? Or that all your attention seems to be focused on a specific area, leaving you no time for anything else?
There are so many different responsibilities in life, that sometimes staying on top of everything can sometimes seem like an impossible task. By building a strong foundation from which your life can work from, you can restore a sense of balance. This will not only help support your health, relationships and productivity, it will also help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life!
Finding sustainable balance in your life doesn’t start with trying to alter or adjust all the aspects of your external world, such as your job, your family or your social life. In order to create harmony in these external areas, you need to focus your attentions on you.
Creating balance in your internal world in relation to your health and wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, will build a solid basis from which all other areas of your life can balance upon.
Balancing Your Body
Your physical body is literally the foundation of all other aspects of your life. When your body is run down, or not functioning at its optimal level, then chances are your mind and emotions will follow suit. When you are feeling down physically (and mentally) all other areas of your life become harder to cope with and this is when you can start to feel out of balance. This is why when working to create balance in your life, it is important to start at the foundations and work your way up.
Exercise - If you don’t use it, you will lose it! A healthy and strong body needs exercise to maintain good health. Even if it seems like there is no time in your day or week for exercise, it is so important that you keep your body active. Exercising your body will keep you limber, fit and healthy. So try to prioritise fitness into your weekly schedule and mix up your focus to include:
- Cardio - Such as jogging/running, cycling, swimming or HIIT classes.
- Resistance training - Such as weights, pilates, or TRX training.
- Flexibility - Such as yoga or stretching.
Remember that incidental exercise also counts! So incorporate some enjoyable activities that get you up and moving, such as dancing, walking and sports. Whenever possible opt to take the active route, such as using the stairs instead of the lift or going for a walk during your lunch break. Every step counts!
Nutrition - Have you ever noticed how after a week, or even just a day, of eating highly processed and unhealthy foods full of sugars and saturated fats, that your body and mind start to feel sluggish and out of whack?
Nutrition plays such an important role, not only on your physical health but on your mental health as well. By eating the right types of foods you can ensure you get all the nutrients needed to build and repair the cells in your body. These nutrients are also important in nourishing and supporting your endocrine system, which is responsible for the production of both hormones and neurotransmitters. So all those ‘happy hormones’ you may have heard about, including dopamine, serotonin and even endorphins, all require a healthy, balanced diet to ensure you are getting your ideal daily dose.
A balanced diet doesn't mean that you can never enjoy the less healthy foods that you may love. It is more about enjoying them in moderation and ensuring that the majority of your diet consists of fresh, unprocessed foods and a variety of complex carbohydrates, complete proteins and good fats.
Sleep - Sleep is often overlooked as being an integral consideration when working towards creating balance in your body. Sure, we all need sleep so we feel awake and alert, however sleep actually has many significant roles to play in maintaining the healthy functions of your body. For example, it is during sleep that the majority of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released and that cell production and repair takes place. It is also during sleep that the brain is able to reboot, supporting our memory and stimulating cognitive functions.
By making sure that you get 7-9 hours sleep each evening you are helping support both your body and mind so that they can function at their optimal level. Remember that if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, a quick nap during the day also has all the same health benefits, and will help you bring up your daily sleep quota!
Balancing Your Mind
Relaxation - Taking some time out to do things that you enjoy and find relaxing, such as reading a book, taking a leisurely stroll, meditating, or playing an instrument, all work on keeping your mind both calm and relaxed. The more calm and relaxed your mind is, the better equipped you will be in dealing with stressful situations, which means you will maintain a more balanced outlook on life.
Stimulation - Your brain is just like a muscle, it needs to be used to help keep it strong and active. So try to incorporate activities into your day that stimulate and challenge you. This could be anything from art, learning an instrument or language, playing a game of chess, or even incorporating some new exercises into your workout routine. A healthy and active brain means a healthier and more balanced mind that is better equipped to deal with any challenges that life may present you with.
Relationships - Having a variety of people you enjoy interacting with is important for mental stimulation and balance. We are all multifaceted beings, who have many different parts that make up who we are. We have different interests, beliefs and backgrounds, all of which help form our identity. By having different friends that complement these different aspects of who you are, you can make sure that all the different parts of yourself get to be expressed and nurtured.
Balancing The External World
When all the areas of your internal world are balanced and working harmoniously, then you will notice that many of the other areas of your life start to adjust and realign as well. This is because the strength and stability you create in your body and mind make you better equipped to manage and balance your responsibilities, commitments, desires and leisure time, in a way that is harmonious and healthy.