After spending years "searching" for what others refer to as "balance", I realized that it means something different to everyone. At one point, balance for me was being able to eat socially and not only out of my tupperware. It was having dessert and not feeling the need to "work it off" the next day. It's taking a rest day and not feeling guilty about it. I've learned that the concept of balance is merely a middle ground; an equilibrium if you will. Something that provides you with a sense of inner peace and stability. So, here are MY tips for living a balanced lifestyle!
1. Live Guilt Free: There comes a point when your health & fitness means so much to you that you forget to really "live your life" in the mean time. We can get so consumed in macros or our workouts that we lose out on time with loved ones, food with friends, etc. We start to believe that if we have "too much fun" or deviate from our routine that we're not dedicated enough or that we'll "fall off track" when it comes to our goals. PISH POSH. You can have goals and still have a life outside of health and fitness. There was a time when it was my whole life; I lost relationships, inner peace, happiness, my hair, and my mental health. I became so disinterested in things outside of my "goals" that I lost touch with my true self. Everyone did. After many years, I've learned that I can go to the gym every day, or I could skip a few days...And life would go on. That I could go over or under on my macros sometimes...And life would go on. Have a crappy workout...LIFE GOES ON. Stop being angry at yourself and stop feeling sorry for yourself. When your "passions" become an obsession, there comes a point where it's no longer healthy. If you feel guilty for taking a rest day or guilty for eating a certain food, it's time to re-evaluate your relationship with both yourself and your body.
2. Evoke Change by Love, Not by Hate: What I mean by this, is reflecting on why your goals are your goals and why you do what you do. Maybe your goal is to lose fat. Are you losing fat because you hate yourself and your body? Or do you want to lose fat because you love yourself enough to become a healthier version of you? There's a big difference. Your body merely serves as a buffer between you (your thoughts, beliefs, values, etc.) and the outside world. You have an entire lifetime to spend together. Don't you think life would be easier if you were a bit nicer to yourself? Do your best to make peace with your body so it can affectively serve its purpose. So tell me...Are your actions based more on self-love or self-hate? The way you dress, the way you workout, etc.
3. Time Management: Certainly not a fancy title, but crucial none-the-less. If this notion of "balance" is about stability and equilibrium, then it's important to find your inner Type A personality sometimes. Part of balance for me, was learning to control my stressors; at least the ones I could control. Manage your stress by managing your time. I block time off in my planner for everything going on; what time i'd workout, what time i'd do client work, what time i'd do lesson planning, read, study, meal prep, etc. I'm also a list maker. There's something so satisfying about physically crossing things off of a "To-Do" list. And i'll be honest here; sometimes I add things I've already completed just so I can cross them off. If you can adequately manage your time, I guarantee you'll feel less stressed about your daily tasks. Make a schedule and find a routine that works for you!
4. Find Your Strengths and Use Them: Our strengths are personal characteristics that enable us to perform at our best. Maybe you know your strengths and you just don't put them into practice very often. Or maybe you're so used to focusing on your weaknesses that you've neglected your strengths. I challenge you to try using your strengths in new ways each week. Studies show that people who felt they were using their strengths had more positivity, vitality, and self esteem compared with people who did not feel like they utilized their strengths. These strengths can be at work, at home, or during leisure time. Using your strengths more often doesn't mean we're necessarily ignoring our weaknesses. Of course we should manage our weaknesses if they are holding us back but for once, try focusing on all of the great things about you, rather than what you perceive as flaws. Your strengths should energize and engage you. Maybe your strength is courage so you decide to climb Mt. Everest. Yet another person might demonstrate their courage by standing up for a co-worker they think is being mistreated. There's no one correct way to employ your strengths, but start utilizing them! Identify your strengths > how you use them > and what other ares of your life you could use them in. If your area of strength is curiosity, maybe you can try: connecting with a new group of people, trying food from a different culture, taking a different route to get to work, trying a new exercise routine, etc.