At the start of a new year, some of us make resolutions for the year ahead – I never have done – do you? I am pretty much always thinking about what I am doing next, so this is an all year round thing for me, but I do set some goals, rather than resolutions, for the year ahead. One of the biggest things we do, is to make plans to be healthier, to eat better, relax more, move more. The other is to make big impacts in our working lives. And no wonder, at the end of the day a healthy life balance is the most important thing we have.
Healthy Life Balance
There are lots of things in life that require balance. Rather than a work/life balance, I think there is a need for a healthy life balance. Too often life charges in and we forget to take care of our health. To have a healthy you, there needs to be a balance of healthy planet (your environment), healthy people (a no brainer that is you!) and a healthy home (your immediate environment you live in).
But when it comes to the meaning of home, your first home is your body – that is the place you inhabit and without it being healthy, you have nothing.
Here are 10 simple tips for making sure you have a healthy life balance.
1) Move more
We hear this all the time and it seems so basic. But it is vital. I know from experience. There was a time where I stopped exercising, I stopped moving. I did a lot of sitting at the computer and not much else. Where life became so busy, so important, that I could not possibly stop and take time out to exercise. It was not on my list. And I suffered. Just taking half an hour each day to WALK is a great start. No, actually, depending on what you are doing now (especially if it is nothing), taking a 20 minute walk, a few times a week, is a great start.
2) Drink enough water
Another no brainer really, but it is not easy to do. I am a tea lover and can get through most of a day drinking cup after cup and never stopping to take a simple glass of water. When I do, I feel so much better. Try to get your 6 – 8 glasses a day and watch how much better you feel.
3) Lower the caffeine in your life
Yep, a hard one I know, but so worth it. I was a coffee addict. It started making me sick so I gave it up. After the initial shock, headaches etc I felt so much better. But then diet coke took over. And then I HAD to have a few cans a day of this. And then it started to make me sick so I gave it up. After the initial shock, headaches etc I felt so much better. And I have continued this path. I drink a lot of tea but still far less caffeine.
4) Listen to music
I am believer in the power of music. It can lift your spirits, help you to express your feelings, get you dancing, make you sing at the top of your lungs, tell a story, tell your story, make a party, help you exercise, make the mood and basically is good for your body, mind and soul.
5) Make lists
Or at least write stuff down. A lot goes on in my head, does it in yours? It is easy to get distracted by all the daily tasks of life and forget that great idea you had last night, or the 3 really important things you needed to do today, or your plans for the next week or month, or year. The internet tends to make that worse as you go from link to link, picture to picture, page to page and before you know it 4 hours have passed! I find writing things down, especially at the start of a new year like now, a new week or a new day, helps to get it all out of your head and lowers your stress. You can use a fancy planner or just write it in a notebook or diary, or use an online programme such as Trello, like I do.
6) Make time to be still
Taking time, if only for 10 minutes in each day, to sit quietly and just be still. Taking time away from screens, technology, conversations, jobs, thoughts, people. Just a moment to be totally mindful, notice what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste – have a cup of tea, look at the world, be still.
Get enough Zeds, whatever that is for you. It has become less for me as I have gotten older. Go with what works for you in your life. If you have young children this is a challenge and it stays that way for a long time people. But trying to get as much sleep as you can is very important. Try to have the same bedtime most nights, create a healthy sleeping environment – no screens or phones in bed, a comfy bed with decent bed linen, a calming routine before you hit the pillow.
8) Eat less processed foods and less or no alcohol
The final no brainers. I gave a lot of crap food up over my life and now don’t eat any pastries, chips, take away foods etc I gave up alcohol 18 years ago and never looked back. I am not telling you not to drink. I am suggesting you give up crap food. I am also saying take an honest look at your alcohol and junk food consumption and see if you can make any changes – your body will thank you for it.
9) Have someone to love and someone who loves you
We humans need other humans to survive. I remember learning in university about the impact on brain development on a group of orphaned children who were left in their cots and not touched. Their brains did not develop properly as they did not have human touch. This was a powerful message – we need each other, we need connections, we need each other, we need some love people. This may be your family and friends, it may be the lovelies you meet online, it may be your workmates, it may be the group who shares your hobby – but we all need some love and human connections.
10) Let it go
Anger never did anything good, for anyone. Learn to not sweat the small things. Throw away road rage, ditch jealousy, stop comparing yourself with your peers. Let shit go. At the end of the day none of it matters. The sun will come up tomorrow and a new day will dawn. Make it a good one.
Here’s to a wonderful year