The word “balance” is often thrown around, but do you ever think about what it actually means? I think it’s time we ease away from the mindset of balance equating to the “perfect life” that is advertised on social media. Rather, we should adopt the mindset that balance concerns enjoying living in the present while simultaneously taking initiative toward your future. To me, the key to balance is finding your groove and practicing behaviors that make you feel at your best mentally, physically, and emotionally. Everyone has their own unique perspective on what balance means to them. My approach to a balanced lifestyle is that it encompasses 5 key pillars: nutrition, movement, social connectedness, sleep, and self-care/mindfulness.
Achieving balance in your life really comes down to one thing: your intrinsic motivation. What makes you get up in the morning? What do you look forward to? What do you hope to succeed at? These are all questions that explain why we do what we do and remind us of why we keep going. It’s essential to have that inner drive/inner body wisdom to do things with passion and determination and achieve whatever you set your heart and mind to.
Nutrition + Movement
There’s a lot more to a healthy diet than just eating fruits and vegetables. Nutrition encompasses all food groups, and yes that includes dessert. Intuitive eating comes into play here, which allows you to practice trusting your body and heal or build a positive relationship with food, mind, and body. Being active doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day. It also doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day. Movement can consist of going on walks or runs, doing yoga or pilates, cycling, etcetera. It’s important to listen to your body and do what feels best for you mentally and physically.
There are so many reasons why social interaction and meaningful relationships are important for our overall health. Social connectedness truly allows people to learn from others and branch out from their perspective. Furthermore, meaningful relationships with family, friends, and the community provide us with happiness, security, and support as well as a sense of purpose and belonging.
Self-Care/Mindfulness + Sleep
Self-care isn’t just essential for positive mental and emotional health, but it’s what nourishes your soul. Little acts of kindness, appreciation, and gratitude are what makes life worth smiling about. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes and take time for yourself. It’s important to be okay alone; it’s a necessary step in order to grow and become more comfortable in your own skin. Getting enough sleep should be the foundation of your self-care routine. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! Adequate sleep will have positive effects on your brain health, mood, and immune function.
Somer resources that allow me to practice balance in my life include podcasts (for mindset, meditation, manifestation, etcetera), productivity apps/softwares (I use Notion), books, journals (I typically use bullet journals but also like Papier journals), and having a support system. I work most efficiently when I plan things out, preferably in advance, so I utilize a productivity app daily. I have created a course schedule with assignments, exams, etc. for all classes I’m currently taking, a study schedule, a meal schedule, and a workout schedule (sounds scary, I know), which has helped me tremendously with having control over my life. Journals allow me to jot down how I’m feeling, what I’m grateful for, and affirmations to set intentions for the day. The app “I AM” is a great resource that delivers positive affirmations straight to your phone (and even Apple Watch!). Listening to podcasts and reading both help to clear the mind and shift to a positive mindset.