WHAT DOES A BALANCED LIFE LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
How to make the most of your time and do the things you love
Most people say that finding ‘balance’ includes finding more time for exercise and sleep. Indeed, it is a very individual thing to find that delicate equilibrium that allows you to feel fulfilled in all areas of your life. Do you have a goal in mind for yourself? Perhaps you have signed up for a new fitness class or want to run a 10k. Perhaps your goal is to get to bed 1 hour earlier every night or spend 15 extra minutes with your kids before their bedtime. No matter what your goal, you have to schedule time for this new endeavor and make it a priority if you would like to achieve success.
As a holistic practitioner, I believe that true whole-body balance also exists:
Are you married? How many kids do you have? What hours do you work?
These are all variables in your life that influence the way you can achieve balance, and the more variables you have, the more efficient you have to be with your time. Take some time to think about these variables and determine how large of a role they play in your life:
1. Roles: Write down or make a mental list of all the words that can be used to describe you. What are all the different roles you have to play in your life? Some words might include: mother, daughter, teacher, friend, athlete, employee, manager, chef, etc.
2. Prioritize: Take all the words you wrote down in the “roles” section and put them in order from most to least important. Of course, some roles are more involved than others so you must take into account the things you have to do as well as the things you want to do for yourself.
3. Manage your time: Take things one day at a time and set small goals for your self on a daily or weekly basis. If you feel that your friendships are an area that needs improvement, your goal for the week could be calling a friend and chatting for 5 minutes on your lunch break, or inviting a friend to go for a walk on the weekend. Most of us will have many roles that will all be fighting for top priority, so don’t push yourself to accomplish things beyond your goals for the week. Adding too much to your plate will make your day hectic, causing you to work less efficiently and burnout sooner.
4. Plan ahead. Set things up today to make tomorrow easier. Prepare your lunch, get your gym bag ready, throw your walking shoes in your car for your lunch break, etc. It may seem like a chore the night before, but it is worth going to sleep 5 minutes later if it means you leave on time the next morning and make it to work feeling grounded and prepared. Planning is often the most important variable when it comes to the success of any diet, exercise or healthy living plan. If you plan ahead, you are less likely to reach for things that are not conducive to your diet. If you bring snacks to eat before your workout, you won’t need to stop at home before you go to the gym to get something to eat. You will be much more successful in sticking to your routine if you are able to identify and eliminate all the excuses you give yourself for avoiding a task.
5. Be patient with yourself: If your life up until this point hasn’t been any indication, every day will throw different challenges at you, and some days will be near impossible to stay on schedule. This is why it is important to be realistic with your goals for the day and build some flexibility into your plan. Don’t feel discouraged if things don’t go according to plan or when you can’t finish all your tasks for the day. Just sit back, take a deep breath and reorganize your schedule for tomorrow. Be patient with yourself!
Dr. DeSouza shares new research and discoveries along her journey.