Do you ever just feel out of whack? Like you've got that rainbow spinning wheel of death just holding up your life? (That's an Apple reference for those of you who are on PCs) Sometimes we get so busy and bogged down that we need to actively strive to achieve balance in our lives. Recognizing that we don't feel our best is the first step. And since we get one life with this body, it's important to always feel our best. Whether that is minimizing your life, switching things up, or making healthy changes, below I've come up with my five tips on how to balance your life when things feel too hairy or they just don't feel right:
COUNTER YOUR INTEREST
Whatever it is that lights a fire under you, be that writing, singing, investments, real estate, skateboarding, you name it - counter it with something that couldn't be more different. For example, I maintain a blog about spirituality. It is creative and stimulates the right side of my brain. It is fluid and open to interpretation. But I also maintain a financial column - a regular piece of writing about money, logic, and the economy. It stimulates my left brain and keeps me grounded. There doesn't seem to be a huge relation between these two writing topics, and there isn't. But that's the point. Albert Einstein is known for his accomplishments in science and physics but he was also a fantastic violinist. And Da Vinci explored nearly every topic he could, from painting to music to engineering to math to botany and more. (He's obviously my personal favourite.) Are you a public speaker? Look into enrolling in a meditation class. Are you a banker? Check out some pottery or painting classes. Whatever you're interested in or whatever you spend a lot of time doing, try to think of the opposite thing and spend some time exploring that.
UNPLUG FOR 24 HOURS
One day per week, make the effort to unplug. That means, literally unplug all your technology. Don't turn on your TV, tuck your laptop away and don't even think to reach for your phone. In fact don't even look at the clock. Disconnect from the outside digital world and read a book, invite a friend over for coffee, try a new recipe and try to live mindfully for one day. It's great to do this whenever your weekend falls as it can be hard to avoid distractions with a busy work schedule. Spend time connecting with yourself or someone you love. Get outside if the weather permits it and feel the earth beneath your feet. It's pretty amazing that this big blue orb hovering in the middle of space doesn't rip us to shreds and that it provides a beautiful oasis for us to conduct our lives on. We can forget that sometimes when we get caught up in our lives. This age has us so connected and moving fast that we need to make the active effort to slow down, relax and unplug.
FIND THE WORKOUT THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Whether you're a runner or a salsa dancer, a crossfit junkie or yogi, find the physical activity that you don't mind doing. In fact, find one that you ENJOY doing - one you look forward to. If you're like me, you might think physical activity is actually the worst. I don't look forward to it. Ever. I look forward to sleeping and eating. I haven't wanted to go for a walk - ever. I always wanted to ride in the cart while shopping with my mom as a kid. So finding an activity that doesn't feel "like work" will actually have you coming back to it. Working out lowers stress and helps release those happy endorphins into our bodies. Try to think of working out as a way that you worship your body, and shift your mindset about it if you're a whiner like me. Being a lethargic lump who has a permanent imprint on her couch is the furthest thing from being balanced.
BE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT GOES INTO YOUR BODY
For every processed meal/food you put in your body, try to put in two healthy, non-processed meals/foods into your body after. I know life is busy. I understand that sometimes you wake up late, can't pack a lunch for work, and end up hitting the drive through to scarf a cheeseburger down instead of fainting from hunger. It happens! But every time we put that fake food into our bodies, it's important to try to put in something really healthy afterward so we don't totally destroy our intestines and all end up with colon and stomach cancer down the road. An astounding number of people have demolished their intestines from poor nutrition, and consequently we're not actually absorbing any of the nutrients to help our bodies thrive. My naturopath told me that I could eat kale until I'm blue in the face, but if my intestines aren't working right, I just won't get any of the benefits from it. In a perfect world, we would eat clean, healthy, whole foods all the time - but when we can't, take stock, and make the active choice to eat something nutritious - twice - after.
Sleep is so important. It's pretty ridiculous how many of us don't get enough sleep per night. And a lack of sleep or extreme sleep debt can cause our bodies to grow improperly, making us susceptible to some deadly diseases. Sleeping is your body's time to recharge. Just like a battery. If the batteries are dead, that remote control is never going to work, no matter how many times you bang it on the coffee table. Our bodies operate the same way. Experts recommend seven or eight hours per night, but you might be someone who only needs six - or if you're like me you need nine or 10 hours to feel rejuvenated. You know what number is needed for you to feel your best, but if you're not sure, aim for for eight hours. Plan your WHOLE DAY around getting the right amount of sleep. And catching up on the weekend? It's not a thing guys. Your body is already depleted by then, and running on depletion is not the way to feel your best. And coffee doesn't counter it. When we're overtired, nothing works right. Doing this improperly is one of the easiest ways to feel out of balance and out of whack.
There may be times or periods in your life where you feel really out of balance. I'm not here to preach that you should meditate more, find spirituality, or become a yoga guru. While those things are all great, sometimes taking practical steps that work for our individual lives is the key. What tools, methods or strategies do you use to feel more balanced?