It is becoming increasingly evident that as a society, we are perhaps making lifestyle decisions based on societal pressures rather than focusing on more important reasons to eat healthy and exercise, such as creating good habits, having a positive outlook and protecting our mental and emotional health. Aesthetics can be an added bonus but your mental health and personal growth should be a higher motivation in order to succeed.
We all long to be healthy and happy, but in order to achieve a balanced lifestyle we need to focus on all aspects of our lives: work, relationships, health, fitness, emotional wellbeing, spiritual interests and creativity.
This can be a tough one, we all go in and out of phases of loving our work and disliking our work for whatever reason, whether it be the tedious admin, high pressure, micro-management, long hours, split shift hours, weekend work, colleagues, you name it, it happens to all of us.
It can be hard to make the decision to leave a place of work because of income, employment safety, family relying on you to support them etc. However if you are miserable then chances are you are not living your best life and you need to make a change, this could be in the form of taking a step down, looking for a promotion, taking your lunch breaks outside and going for a walk or even leaving your workplace for another. Step outside your comfort zone and experience life, don’t get caught up in work by living your own Groundhog Day.
Maintaining strong relationships with family, friends and romantic relationships is a great way to maintain life balance. Make time for your people, spend time with your people and make it quality time on a regular basis. Spend time with people who make you feel good, who inspire creativity and challenge you, who have a like mind. Avoid those that put you down, make you feel worthless or genuinely make you sadder. Life is too short to spend your time with negative people.
You can pretty well be covering all other bases for a healthy balanced lifestyle but if you aren’t eating to fuel your mind and body, then you will be missing probably the most important ingredient in the balance.
This is also the hardest part to maintain in the balance, we can be very social beings, which means eating out, drinking alcohol and eating snacks regularly. As much as at the time these are fun, they need to be in moderation. Try to give yourself a reward system, eat healthy and creatively 80% of the time and that will allow you the opportunity to relax on weekends or weeknight dinners or work morning teas. Will power is key here and it is something that requires much effort, however it can lead to you feeling energised for your daily routine, help keep immunity high, therefore reducing illness and sickness, give you the best results and most efficient results from your fitness routine and also help to inspire you to keep active and creative.
This is just another aspect of your life that you can turn into a chore, you don’t have to go to the gym for exercise, if you are a person that dislikes doing the same style of exercise week in week out then why not mix it up? Gym Monday, dance class or boxing session on Tuesday, walk on Wednesday, hit a yoga class on Thursday and Friday go for a run. There are so many options and not all of them have to be an expensive venture, be creative, get yourself a buddy to help keep you accountable and have fun.
Society today is constantly creating a feeling of pressure, for us to excel in all aspects of life, be an excellent employee or employer, have a successful career or business, be a great partner, parent, friend, child and student. This can definitely bog us down and make us feel overwhelmingly busy so it is important to make time for yourself, to check in with how you are feeling and what in your life could change if you are not happy. Make some “you time” every day and refuse to let yourself go insane with it all. You can’t be your best self in your work, relationships etc if you are not looking after yourself first.
We are being taught more and more ways to take a time out for our mental health. And some of these psychological and divine practices can include: meditation, talking to a psychologist or counselor, journaling, a fun form of exercise, cooking and more.
Stress can stifle creativity and definitely form barriers to happiness so try to make an effort to unwind, turn the day to day grind into spontaneous fun alternatives. Listen to music; dance in your living room; cook a new ethnic meal instead of a standard dinner; take a relaxing bath instead of a speedy shower; listen to podcasts while you train instead of music and audio books in the car to work instead of unfortunate news events on the radio.
I hope this helps to open your mind to the possibilities of living a healthy life balance full of variety and self-care.
Written by Ash Sheppeard
Personal Trainer, Smash Fit PT
Planet Fitness Belmont