Monday, 22 June 2015

Life Balance

When I think of wellness I think of having Life Balance. When one is feeling out of sorts or that their life isn't working well, one of these things may be out of balance...

Fitness: Is it incorporated in your life? How often and are you doing the right type of exercise for your body type?

Social/Friends: How does socializing help or hurt you? Does it take energy out of you to be social, or does it energize you? What type of people or places 'nurture' you and/or 'zap' you?

Mind: What types of thoughts or feelings do you have? Why not do a thought experiment... for one day take note of all of the positive thoughts and/or emotions you have that day. What are they? How often? What do they do for you? Try to focus on the positive thoughts/feelings you have. What you focus on will grow! What negative thoughts are not helping you and that you need to get rid of now.

How busy is your mind? Do you give it a chance to be calm and rested? If not, meditation could help you to clear and focus your mind.


Food & Drink: Another experiment... take note of what you are eating and drinking? Are there a few minor adjustments you could make that would be easy enough to incorporate in your life and would help you to be more balanced and healthy? When possible, try to eat only fresh foods (meaning, foods that don't come with an ingredient list). This goes for drinks too. Take note on how you feel differently when you are able to do this... There are hidden sweeteners, chemicals, etc. in packaged foods, bottled drinks and ready-made sauces. You body doesn't know how to break these foods down and use as energy... The result is loads of toxins, extra fat, etc etc.

Career & Development: How much are you working? Do you enjoy what you are doing? Are you continuing to better yourself, to be challenged and moving forward in some way? If not, is it time for a big change or just some adjustments to make your current situation more fruitful? Or if you are happy with where you are, what practices do you need to keep in mind to maintain your position and keep the balance?

Family & Love: How is your relationship or family life going? Some questions to ask yourself... Do I get energy, security and love in this area? Is it easy and somewhat effortless? Or is this area lacking, exhausting me or something else that is not really working? What perceptions, attitudes or actions can I get rid of now to improve the situation? ...This is an important one. If we don't feel loved and secure at home, it will affect all other areas in our lives.

Stress: Sometimes stress is a bit hard to define. We have obvious things to connect to stress such as a move, divorce, death, job change, etc. But what if we are kind of ok (meaning that we don't have such big things happening right now) but are constantly rushing around, working non stop and have underlying crisis situations going on. - How to know if I really am stresses vs. just a bit busy and active and what to do. First, you can try to do a mental check each day and take the time to ask yourself some questions about all this. Take a look at this Life Balance graphic and see if anything is seriously out of balance. That can give you a clue. You can reflect on your day and make note of stressful situations and also things in your day that made you feel good or when you had fun.

Dealing with stress is extremely important. Eventually it will affect your health and well-being. Your sleep will most likely get out of whack, your hormones as well. If you are constantly in fight or flight mode, your body will not be able to digest properly, your organs cannot work as well, your nervous system will be on overload. When you are stressed your Cortisol hormone will be high, which means weight gain (and the kind of weight that is really difficult to get off). You can burn out and/or develop serious health issues.

Each person's threshold for stress is different. Only you can know if your stress level is too high or if you are ok. Throughout the day you can just close your eyes, place your hands on your belly, and breath into your hands/belly. If sitting, bring your shoulders down and have your spine straight. Have your forehead relaxed, jaw relaxed and tongue relaxed. Just breath like this for a few breaths and it will remind your body to breath diagrammatically and will trigger your nervous system to calm down. You can do this while waiting at a stop light, waiting in line anywhere, before or after meals, etc etc. It only takes a few seconds and can help a lot.

Other ways to help is to do meditations daily, listen to music you love while doing a task (such as cooking or cleaning), smile often, laugh a lot, love and touch, hug, kiss, do random acts of kindness, dance, exercise, be in nature and anything you enjoy doing. If you think you are in a serious stressful situation, take it seriously and get help to try and rectify the problem and/or work out the life balance.

Sleep: Just like stress, sleep is something to be highly considered. It also affects your hormones, fat that your body holds on to and overall health and well-being. It's extremely important to get good sleep. You can adjust how your room is laid out, the temperature, something about your bed, listen to a sleep meditation CD or app on your phone to calm you down, etc etc. Find your way, but make it a priority to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night and be sure to make up for it with naps or meditations, if you miss a night.

Indoor/Outdoor: How is your indoor and outdoor environment? Can you open window to get some fresh air in, how could it be improved? Do you live in a city or work space with a lot of toxins? Do you get enough outdoor nature time? Do you sit at a desk and computer all day? If so, can you take breaks to have a little walk or stretch a few times per day? These are things to consider when looking at your overall life balance.

Fun: And we can place relaxation into this category as well. Do you get enough time each week to do things you enjoy and that relax you? If time is an issue, for example if you have a family and you have a difficult time incorporating fun/relax time into your weekly schedule, then how many times per month do you need to feel the balance? And how could you make your day to daily tasks more fun or relaxing? Such as listening to peppy music when you cook or clean up, have a coffee with a friend who just makes you laugh, be silly and dance around with your children or pets, watch a funny movie or video clip, take a quick walk around the block being mindful of the beautiful sights, sounds, smells around you, etc etc. Where can you squeeze in fun and/or relax time into your daily life here and there? And how can you change the perception of your daily tasks from potential burdens to how you could accept and enjoy them more? Could they even be fun or relaxing? :)

Please feel free to comment and add your own suggestions or tips that work for you!