“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
We all want more balance in our lives, yet balance seems to be this elusive thing that remains just out of reach! As we endeavor to achieve a greater sense of balance, life invariably gets in the way, pulling us away for a period of time!
However, it is possible to minimize those instances of imbalance in our daily lives by making a habit of some simple yet powerful practices that will help to restore your health and happiness.
As a wellness coach, I endeavor to put these life balancing habits into practice, yet I don’t always get it right. While I can’t achieve total balance, I figure that berating myself about it creates even greater imbalance, so I chose to be kind to myself instead, a mindset fundamental to leading a more balanced, joyful life! Take a look at these seven habits for everyday balance.
For most of us, our daily lives don’t typically support or encourage taking time for self-care. We are busy giving, giving, giving but not doing anything to replenish ourselves. However, being intentional to take time out for giving back to ourselves can actually expand and energize our capacity to doing for others. Here are a few energizing self-care habits to add to your day:
Pay attention to your self-talk, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones
Take a refreshing afternoon nap a several times a week, or every day if you can swing it
Develop a daily journaling habit, recording the things in your day that you are grateful for
Become a morning person, getting up early to have some alone time for prayer, meditation, reading, or whatever it is that revives your soul
Eating healthy isn’t just about what you eat, but also about how you eat and why. Remove the word “diet” from your vocabulary and all of it’s disempowering energy. Rather look at nourishing your body as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Understand that food choices are simply that choices, and as you learn to listen to your body, you can learn which foods to eliminate and which ones nourish and heal. Here are some ways to nourish your body:
Add more vegetables to your diet, making sure to eat the rainbow of colors and organic or local if possible
Eat real food, avoid food that is processed or chock-full of additives
Make a habit of cooking from scratch at least 2 or 3 times a week, making enough for next day leftovers or lunches
Practice mindful eating, taking time to savor your meal, and without distractions from your cellphone or television
The human body was designed to move, yet modern society fosters a sedentary lifestyle, incorporating large spans of time spent sitting! Instead, we need to cultivate habits of moving more and sitting less to have more balance in life. It’s not necessary to work out like a beast, but to incorporate some kind of movement into your everyday. And not just once a day, but in small increments throughout your day. Try some of these fun ways to get your body moving more:
Enroll in a dance class, or yoga, pilates or tai chi
At work, set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to take a short stretching break every hour
Go outdoors at lunchtime for a 20 minute walk as well as some much needed vitamin D
Take your kids to the park to play and join them on the monkey bars instead of watching them from sidelines
Breathing is fundamental to life, but there is much more to it than you might think! Conscious, focused breathing can activate the body’s relaxation response, changing our physical and emotional responses to stress. In fact, creating breathing habits allows us to tape into peaceful mindfulness that can help to keep you calm and manage stress effectively.
Start your day with a mindful breathing exercises. See here for a simple breathing exercise
Your breathing can be an indicator of your stress levels. Take a moment to check in with your breath to see if you’re holding it or breathing rapidly
Make a habit of a daily yoga practice
Stretching is a natural and automatic action. Both humans and animals often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity. Indeed, incorporating stretching into your regular day or after a workout can help improve flexibility and range of motion, improve posture, reduce risk of injury, calm the mind and reduce stress. Try some of these to stretch more:
After workouts, engage in a 5 to 10 minute post-workout stretching session
Attend regular yoga classes, or develop a home practice using yoga videos on YouTube. My favorite is Yoga with Adriene
Add movement to you stretches by practicing dynamic stretching, such as walking lunges or high kicks
Warm up your muscles and work out any pain with a few minutes of foam rolling
Water is kind of a big deal! In fact, it makes up approximately 60% of our body, and it also influences 100% of bodily processes, including digestion, circulation, elimination and temperature regulation. That is why we feel better when we’re drinking enough of it! Make a habit of making water your drink of choice, promoting balance within your internal system:
Start your day with a tall glass of fresh, filtered water, adding a squeeze of lemon juice if desired
Buy yourself a good quality water bottle that you never leave home without
Eat your water in the form of juicy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini and watermelon, and benefit too from the many nutrients
Infuse your water with flavor by adding a few fresh strawberries, grapes, kiwi or lime to your glass or bottle
Instead of relying on an intense detox, daily detox practices can help counteract the less healthy items we put in our body, as well as the environmental factors over which we have little control. You can begin incorporating these simple yet effective detox measures into your everyday life:
Add raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar to your diet, helping to detoxify your liver and alkalize you body
Sweating is a great way for expelling toxins. Use an infrared sauna, take a Bikram yoga class or any activity that helps to increase body temperature and perspiration
Dry brush your body before you shower. This activates the lymphatic system, stimulates circulation and enhances toxin elimination through the skin, the body’s largest organ.