Balance. It’s a beautiful thing. No matter what age you are, or the quality traits that make you YOU, every one of us share one thing in common: we all seek balance.
There is arguably nothing more stressful to a human being than feeling out of balance. Whether it’s a dietary, hormone or other imbalance, the mind and body will fight against it with stress, which often leads to disease, injury or mental breakdown.
So, if we constantly seek balance, then why aren’t more of us living a perfectly balanced life? Having self-awareness of your imbalance is key. But in this modern age, it’s easy to become disconnected to your self-awareness. Information overload, devices that distract us persistently and an overall sense of busyness all lead to a general lack of self-awareness.
Even when we start to pick up on the imbalance, we try to solve it with quick fixes that will work temporarily. And the imbalance persists, continuing to cause stress without us fully recognising it.
Here are 6 holistic ways you can become more mindful of your imbalances and therefore, discover the balanced life you seek.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF EVERYDAY
There are so many distractions and excuses to stay busy. Believe me, we get how busy you are because we are, too! But that means you simply have to make time each day. Put it in your calendar, set a reminder, and prioritise YOU.
Put your mobile phone in the other room, ask your partner or a supportive friend to watch the kids for 15 minutes and find a quiet place. Make sure your favourite devices are nowhere near you. Close your eyes and relax your body. Breathe deeply.
Too quiet for you? Try bringing your journal with you and write down the thoughts that pop up. Free write, and don’t worry about what comes out. You can always throw it away. What you write doesn’t define you.
The best part is the feeling you’ll get after you took time for yourself. You can give yourself mental high-fives as you walk away from your alone time, knowing that you took care of yourself. And then you can give your family, work or your other commitments the attention they deserve, too.
GET A BIT MORE ACTIVE EVERYDAY
The desk or couch calls your name; it calls us, too! We promise you, once you add a bit more movement into your routine, you’ll notice a subtle (or obvious!) change in your mood. Start walking on your breaks, add 2 weekly exercise classes to your routine, and take the stairs instead of the lift. These small changes can add up to big results.
The shift here is not only physical, but also mental. When you do sit at your desk or the couch after you’ve added these small changes to your routine, you’ll notice you don’t feel as bad for doing so. You won’t guilt trip yourself when you lounge on your couch after a long day because well, you actually do deserve it.
HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO
Yes, that’s right. Stop counting every calorie or feeling down because you’re comparing yourself to a thinner person than you. Every person you see is fighting their own battle you can’t see; it’s either with their relationship to food, or something else. You never know what a person thinks about when they look in the mirror.
And just like a tub of ice cream won’t make you gain weight, one pack of carrots won’t give you 6-pack abs. It’s about eating with a holistic approach. So, write down your favourite foods and drinks in the world. Whether it’s ice cream, champagne, berries, burgers, milkshakes, fries, vegetables (OK, weird but potentially true), butter, write it all down.
Then balance it. Instinctually, your body already knows what it needs. And it will tell you when it’s not feeling well. So, if you know your body feels better when you eat the rainbow along with high-protein meals but, your mind loves a good bowl of ice cream, then: eat the healthy meals, and give yourself an ice cream treat every other day.
Enjoy champagne? Share a bottle with your best mates on Fridays and, don’t forget about that Reformer Pilates class you love to take on Saturday’s.
Test it out, feel how your mind and body feel. Do you feel content after a week? Then you’re on the right track.
Don’t forget; there will always be a thinner person than you, and there will always be a fatter person than you. The only enemy is the comparison game. Be yourself; own who you are, because you are pretty fantastic and deserve to know that.
SLEEP LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW
Sleep plays an incredibly vital part to a balanced life. With our distractible devices and overabundance of entertainment options, sleep can sometimes feel like the last thing we want to do. But it’s also important. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults ranging from 18 to 65+ should get at least 7 hours and even suggest up to 9 hours through 64 years of age.
Try turning off devices an hour before sleep. Play calming music and turn the lights down (which helps your brain release melatonin). Do some gentle stretches or read a book.
Most importantly, be proud of yourself when you do get the right amount of hours of sleep! When you wake up in the morning and you’ve had a restful sleep, you’ll feel better for having gone to bed earlier. You’ve made the effort to be more balanced, and that’s what counts.
Yes, really. Studies show that your facial expressions can affect your mood. Smiling tends to make you feel happier, while frowning tends to make you feel sadder.
Nervous you’ll look like a grinning fool? Us, too! Try it at home by yourself, perhaps while you’re showering. Or even better, surround yourself with people who make you smile! Find a friend who is funny, go to comedy shows, or try out a new group exercise class that makes you feel like a beginner and completely silly. You’ll be smiling (more often) in no time!
The point is to not take yourself so seriously. Smile to yourself, knowing that you may look silly but smiling will lead to happier, more content feelings.
CULTIVATE LOVING RELATIONSHIPS
In modern day, it’s become easier to develop relationships via your mobile device than in person. Find ways to cultivate meaningful relationships in person.
Turn off your phones when you’re out to dinner with friends. OK, not really! But put your phone away and turn off sound and vibration notifications, so you can focus on the conversations happening in front of you.
Book in classes and trainings that excite you. Join the gym and book in your first group Cycle-Spirit class, where we encourage a soulful and sweaty experience amongst likeminded individuals. Book a wine-painting night, or a cooking class to learn how to make your favourite pasta. You’ll meet the right people and discover your passions to create more fulfilling relationships, leading to a more balanced life.
All in all?
When you start to use these 6 ways to become more self-aware, you’ll start to notice a shift in the right direction. You’ll become more aware of the moments of high’s and low’s, so you can understand what you need as an individual to get back to balance.
You’ll be on your way to a more balanced life in no time. Ready to experience even more balance in your life? Right now, Virgin Active is offering an incredible deal. Sign up for 12 months, and receive a gift valued at $75 to either Gelato Messina, Dan Murphy’s or LuluLemon. Learn more here.
Finally, please know that some imbalances may not be curable through holistic solutions. For these, we recommend you seek help from a medical or mental professional.