Whether you have children or not, balance is a word that comes up a lot. We’ve all been there; a huge week of work or study, social occasions, relationships to maintain, a house to keep clean, mouths to feed, pets to walk, many things to be done. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness and feel frazzled. I’ve been there, I’m sure I’m not alone.
I came across this blog post at just the right time. It was exactly the words I needed to read to get me through a huge week. This topic is close to my heart and I just had to share it with you!
Rachel Stokes is incredibly passionate about health and wellbeing, particularly preventative health care. Her beautiful blog and Facebook page provides invaluable knowledge about the nutrients our bodies need for vitality. Nutrition is only one aspect of health. Wellness requires balance in the areas of relationships, career, physical activity, spirituality and having clarity around your life’s purpose.
As a busy, working and studying mother with four children (four!!), I couldn’t think of a better person to help us all out with the pursuit of balance. If anyone can provide insight, valuable practices and simple strategies for us all to create more balance in our lives it is definitely Rachel.
Ten Tips to Help Create Balance in Your Life
Juggling a family, career and a social life is a balancing act. There is nothing I love more than being a mum. I also love having a rewarding career and having a social life. However, life can be challenging, it is easy to stop taking care of yourself. You have other people you are responsible for and there are always demands for our attention. In order to be the best mum, friend and wife you can be you have to be healthy, happy, well rested and in balance. I know this is so much easier said than done. I am not here to preach. For years my life had no balance. It took more than a slap in the face with a cold fish to snap me out of it too. That’s a story for another day. Here are 10 self -care tips you can implement straight away:
- Take one day at a time. I read a Buddha saying just today that said: “Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
- Spend time with your family and friends. For me this means scheduling activities so that I can maintain healthy relationships. My husband and I have just started scheduling fortnightly date nights. We are literally passing ships and needed to do something to bring the relationship back into balance. We could probably upgrade it to weekly. Fortnightly is a start. I schedule to catch up with my friends regularly, sometimes it is to go for a coffee, other times it’s a swim or a walk or a family BBQ. Consider other areas of your life that you may want to commit some time to. For example, spiritual growth, personal growth, career development and plan them into your weekly schedule.
- Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet and eat healthy foods. I know this sounds ridiculously simple but it’s also ridiculously easy to eat bad foods. They just seem so convenient. You will function better if you eliminate highly processed foods and refined sugars out of your diet. Foods have an amazing ability to support digestion, heal the gut, strengthen immunity, fight infection, reduce inflammation, enhance mood, boost IQ, build muscle and much more. There are a gazillion resources on eating well. Don’t get too overwhelmed with it all. Keep it simple: Increase fresh foods and drink more water to crowd out the junk.
- Hire a health or life coach for additional support or find a friend to be your accountability partner. Discuss your goals, your dreams, the vision you have for your future. Let the coach help you to break it down into achievable and doable chunks.
- Take breaks. Take short breaks, long breaks, weekend breaks. You must take time to renew and rejuvenate. Today I felt like I was getting nowhere, I was so frustrated with myself. I work mostly from home so I took 5 minutes to go outside feed the chickens and have a jump on the trampoline. The short break allowed me to refocus and start again. When I worked at the hospital, instead of having breaks in the lunch room I would take a stroll outside or sit and have lunch outside in the fresh air.
- Breathe frequently. Dr Andrew Weil has a great breathing exercise he calls the 4-7-8 breath. You can do anywhere anytime. Learn how to do it here. Dr Weil recommends practicing twice a day. It’s a tool you will have in your back pocket so to speak. Use it to help you fall asleep, overcome food cravings or whenever you are aware of tension building. I was attending one of Dr Weil’s lectures and he stopped right in the middle of class and taught us this. At first I thought it was so weird but now I love this technique and use it daily.
- Move your body. Exercise energises your body and clears your mind. If you’re not fit, start with a ten minute gentle walk and increase it by two minutes each day. Within twenty days you will be walking half an hour a day.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Full stop.
- Spend time with supportive people.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Being thankful helps us to focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have. Every time you have a positive thought it literally changes your brain and the hormones that are released in your body. Dr Caroline Leaf is an expert on how thoughts affect our emotions and our bodies and teaches how to break the cycle of toxic thinking. As you think, your thoughts are activated, which in turn activates your attitude. Your attitude is all of your thoughts put together and reflects your state of mind. This attitude is reflected in the chemical secretions that are released. Positive thoughts and gratitude cause the secretion of the correct amounts of chemicals and negative attitudes distort the chemical secretions. This distortion of chemicals, over time, can result in ill health. Gratitude and thankfulness lay the foundation for health and peace. Start by writing down just one thing a day that you are thankful for and each day add to your list. Also start to pay attention to where your mind goes most of the time. Each time your mind strays toward a negative thought replace it with a positive thought. When you practice gratitude your world begins to look brighter.
Which of these tips will you try this week? Which one interests you the most? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.