As Webster’s Dictionary would tell it, “balance” is “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”
This suggests two things to me right off the bat, one being that there are various – maybe even opposing "elements" – that need to be dealt with in different areas of our lives, such as work and family, exercise and recreation, etc.
The other is that "correct proportions" could easily be unique to each individual. It does not suggest a specific percentage or way, but in essence what is correct or works for the individual at that time. In short, there’s no one right answer to achieve that balance.
You would think that with as many books, articles and TV segments dedicated to BALANCE that we, as a culture and as individuals, would have figured it out by now. But maybe the reality is that balance is seldom ever struck. “Correct proportions” are always shifting, and we only experience it in fleeting moments such as going for a run, snuggling with the kids, watching football with friends, tying up loose ends at work or making a great meal. For those few minutes you get that sense of balance.
So, what do we do the rest of the time? We keep trying and working hard to develop techniques that work for us. We need ones that will keep changing as our lives change.
Mind, body, and spirit; or the external (work, exercise) and internal (reflection, contemplation) self are all important elements when it comes to balancing our lives. Here are some of my top “balance” techniques that I’ve found help me find moments of balance:
- Exercise: Schedule your days to fit your training in. On Sunday evening take a look at your week and pick your windows to get your exercise in. Treat it like every other appointment you have and don't cancel.
- Nutrition: Cover the basics. Make as many meals as you can at home so you can control your own nutrition. Take snacks like fruit, nuts or a Balance Bar® wherever you go to prevent mindless eating.
- Career: Concentrate on one thing at a time. Studies show that we can accomplish so much more and with less stress when we do one thing at a time. Today's life has us multi-tasking at a pace that is not reasonable or efficient. I always joke that our cave man brain is trying to handle all this technology. Turning off the gadgets and getting to bed even 30 minutes earlier each night can be a game changer.
- Friends/Family: Create boundaries regarding your technology. When you leave work, make sure you’re actually leaving work. If you are pushing your child on the swing, put your phone in your pocket and leave the texting or emails for later. If someone writes you a note, don't feel the pressure to respond within five seconds and miss a family mealtime opportunity. Make the boundaries for yourself and let others know what they are so you can live a happy, healthy lifestyle.
- Community: Be a solid citizen. Volunteer or help out a situation that you are passionate about. Service is an essential part of being human and connecting with others. I call it the selfish act of giving because it is so good for us too.
- Me Time:
- It’s ok to just say “No”. Learn to use and love this word. Say it with me. Feels good, right? This tiny little word will save you so much heartache and excuse making. “No” will keep you from over scheduling your life and actually keep you free for the things you want to do. Life is for living and not just for filling days with obligations.
- Schedule one thing you look forward to each day. Have coffee with a friend or indulge in a harmless guilty pleasure. Do something that breaks up your day and focuses on you being you – not you the professional, or partner or parent, just you. This not only creates a fun gap in our day, but also helps us get more connected to ourselves.
* Gabby Reece writes awesome articles as a paid spokesperson for Balance Bar®. We also send her delicious Balance Bar® products for free, so…best job ever? And speaking of deliciousness, check out the incredible new Sweet & Spicy Nut Balance bare® bar.
Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.