What does it mean to have a balanced lifestyle?
Successful people try to maintain a balance between health, family, social, financial, business, civic and spiritual elements to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Do you have a social life or is it all work and no play? Social interaction is vital to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. A healthy social life naturally benefits us in multiple ways.
Did you know that a good social life produces a positive effect within the cells of your body? That’s right; a positive social life can contribute to a healthy immune system and may serve to protect you from debilitating illnesses and chronic pain.
Also, healthy social interactions can provide for improved mental wellness and stress relief. There’s nothing like having a support network around you to boost your spirits while simultaneously battling the perils of stress. A robust social life can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress while also improving your mood.
Perhaps you are looking to get out and meet new people or make new friends or examine ways to improve your existing friendships, but you do not know where to start.
Learning to Say ‘Yes.’ Although you may be perfecting your ability to say ‘no’ to those things that take over your life, you may also need to work on your path to ‘yes’ if you are planning to build a social life. ‘Yes’ does not have to be a dirty word. In fact, ‘yes’ can breed optimism and can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Find Time for Your Friends
You may need to be purposeful in your efforts to make time for your friends. Spending time with your existing friends may be an excellent way to meet new ones. Let them know you are available to visit or that you are ready to hang out. (Source)
You may also have to take the lead and schedule time. Sure, it’s easy to stay within the walls of your own world, but if you are interested in keeping those relationships, you will want to get out from time to time.
Being social can bring positivity. Sure, it’s okay to vent to your friends about all that is wrong in the world but look to them for positivity.
Take Control Of Your Health
So much of how you manage life balance has everything to do with how it is you maintain your health. You cannot accomplish an adequate life balance without good health. Look for ways to break bad health practices and set a few goals for how you will adopt new and improved good habits.
Living a Balanced Life and Sleep
Set a bedtime schedule to get some sleep at night. Do not take it for granted that you need to have a bedtime schedule. Rest is essential for mental clarity and stress management. Beware of those distractors such as your email, a good book or television. They can completely derail your best efforts to get a good night’s rest.
Don’t know where to start? Sleep.org recommends that you do these five things to train yourself to go to bed earlier.
Establish a Curfew
Set a target goal for your bedtime and make sure you are in bed. Turn off the lights, put away your digital devices, and ensure your body has a minimum of thirty minutes to one hour to slow down. Did you know that each time you power up a light-emitting source, your body’s circadian rhythm resets itself? Make sure your focus is all about calming your mind and body before sleep.
Sleep.org suggests that if your curfew is more than an hour earlier than you currently go to sleep each time, aim to bump your bedtime back in increments of 15 minutes. (Source)
Set Your Alarm Clock
You may be thinking that this next tip is all about how to wake up using an alarm clock. Actually, this tip suggests you might try using your alarm clock to assist you in knowing when it is time to stop the work you are doing so that you can prepare for bed.
Avoid Stimulants. Do not partake in foods or drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee or chocolate before bedtime. Alcohol and nicotine are also culprits that can disrupt your sleep.
Yoga or stretches are excellent approaches to relaxing in the evening. However, rigorous exercise could negatively affect your bedtime ritual.
Fitness is an excellent way to stay in shape and keep stress at bay, however, exercising late in the evening or within a few hours of your bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
Manage Your Stress
As you take control of your health, do not forget to deploy practices that allow you to manage your stress.
Do not sacrifice your time with the doctor. Keep your appointments and learn to say no to those people who dare to take you away from your self-care time.
Next, learn to manage your stress. You can deploy a variety of relaxation techniques to reduce common side effects like aches and pains. In as few as ten minutes a day, you can participate in relaxation rituals such as those recommended by Mayo Clinic: (Source)
Find your path to a positive attitude. Learning to put a positive spin on a difficult situation can help you navigate a stressful day. Find humor in what you can and laugh frequently. Laughter offers a natural release of endorphins which serve to elevate our mood naturally.
Follow A Healthy Diet
When we allow our lives to go off the rails, we do not always practice good eating habits. Fast food becomes a convenient go-to option for meals, and this bad habit can contribute to dangerous health conditions including but not limited to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Tips for a Healthier Diet
Identifying the path to a healthy diet may feel tricky, but it is not impossible. With just a few adjustments, you can set yourself up for success by doing the following:
- Drink Water – Water is a natural way to keep your body hydrated and replenish your energy stores whether exercising or not.
- Eat the Good Stuff – Try to stock up on those foods that best meet your nutritional requirements such as nuts, veggies, fruits, and lean meats. Choose foods that will boost your energy but not expand your waistline. Try to reduce your intake of unrefined foods.
- Reduce Your Intake of Fat – Try to consume those foods that contain unsaturated fat such as avocados, vegetable oils or fish.
- Reduce Your Salt Intake – Make a conscious effort to shop for foods that do not contain a lot of salt. This action may require you to hone in on nutrition labels. There are many ways to minimize your salt intake including purchasing reduced salt bacon, low sodium broths or soups, and limiting our intake of processed foods. Do not be afraid to be creative with your cooking style. Substitute salt with herbs.
- Enjoy lunch – Also, do not skimp on your lunch breaks. Take some time away from your desk during the work day to go outside and get a little bit of exercise.
Do Not Give Up Your Hobbies
Self-care is more than just keeping your preventative doctor’s appointments or meditating. Self-care also means partaking in other things that give you joy such as your favorite hobbies.
Reading, gardening, jogging, quilting, carpentry –whatever your joy, spare a little time for yourself to practice some of your hobbies.
Hobbies have a positive and harmonious effect on our lies. They enable us to focus on other things that generally have absolutely nothing to do with our everyday job.
Hobbies have a way of making us relatable to others. They show others that we are not one-dimensional and can be proof of how multi-talented we really are.
Hobbies have a unique way of rejuvenating our spirit. They allow us to be creative in our own way and enable us to grow as a person.
Your Turn: Activities for a balanced lifestyle
- Write down all the elements in your life that require your full commitment
- Now it’s time to evaluate imbalances within the main key areas of your life. Take the time to think about and write down imbalances you find in these life areas:
⦁ Personal and Self Care
⦁ Social life, including friends and family
⦁ Romantic life
⦁ Health and Fitness
⦁ Recreation, relaxation and fun
⦁ And career, work and professional life
- Consider what you ignore, what needs more attention and what you focus on too much. When identifying imbalances, look for clues such as complaints from your spouse or high levels of stress from a lack of self-care.
- Consider and identify the consequences that have resulted from imbalances in your life. For example, stress, poor health, fatigue, problems with family or friends, anxiety, depression or sleep loss due to overworking.
- Consider and write down the roadblocks that prevent you from reaching balance in your life. Identify how you can overcome these roadblocks.
- Consider and write down at least 5 benefits of creating more balance in your life.
- Invest in a printed planner where you must write in your activities. Track everything you do in writing for 1 week. Creating and managing your daily or weekly schedule can be useful throughout the balancing process in helping to identify imbalances in your life and helps keep you accountable in planning and maintaining a healthy balance.
- After one week, closely evaluate the last 7 days of the planner. Pinpoint those things that are priorities and those which are a waste of time, and look for imbalances in your time and energy.
- Brainstorm how you can balance out your schedule. Go back to your planner and plan a new schedule that creates more balance in your life.
- Continue to monitor your progress as you strive to maintain your new balanced and more healthy life.
Your goal should be to strive for a healthy life balance. Many things are within our span of control that we can manage to create stability, such as stress management, establishing a schedule for family time and self-care, but there are other aspects we may struggle to regulate.
A poor life balance will have a negative impact on our mental, physical, social, and emotional health if we fail to be vigilant in securing our life balance.
Consistency in the practice of life balance behaviors is the only way you will sustain a life balance with your family, friends, and workplace. Remember to continuously examine those things that figure into your life balance and make adjustments as often as necessary.
Ultimately, you will be taking actions that allow you to sustain a positive relationship and contribute to your overall well-being.
Stay balanced and take care!
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