Balance is probably the most important element in a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing. Most women I know try to be superwomen and forget about themselves in the process. Imagine, if you will, a house of cards. Putting too many cards on any one side of the house and the house topples to the ground. Making sure the cards you place are on equal sides, the house grows tall and strong. You are your own house of cards. Making sure it is balanced on all sides makes you powerful and ready to take on the world.
I am a big believer in self-care. Without it, no matter how hectic your schedule as a mom, a wife, or an employee, you will tend to lose focus of your own identity-of who you are and of your goals. Without self-care, you will eventually let situations control you instead of you controlling the situation.
I find it necessary to ask myself in every potentially stressful situation "Who am I going to be in this situation?" I can either be reactive, angry, impatient and fearful- in which case the situation will very much control me- or I can be peaceful, calm and loving no matter what . Believe it or not, you HAVE a choice in who you are going to "be" in any situation. Conversely, if you think "What am I going to do in this situation?" gives you far less control because you are looking at what action you will take which will tend to let the stressful situation overwhelm you making you stressed out. Thinking about your actions, about what you will "do" in a situation instead of who you will "be" takes away the power to decide your life. Deciding who you want to "be" no matter what life throws at you gives you the power to choose the life you want rather than having the life that is chosen for you.
I realize you must be thinking by now I have lost the plot because I must not have children or work for a living. Guess what! I do and I own a business (and I am about to have triplets on top of it!). On top of that I am married to a wonderful husband who sometimes gets on my very last nerve. I have to choose who I want to be in lots of different situations every single day. Choosing to remain calm and loving rather than reacting to whatever hell is breaking loose in my house or in my business allows me to accomplish far more than if I react and make a situation much bigger than it needs to be.
Music and dancing helps me unwind. I have music on all the time in my home and when I am really about to make a reactive choice, turning it up and dancing around (my yorkie boy especially loves when I dance with him) like a crazy person is a great way to reset my balance. There are lots of ways to stop and think to change your mindset about a situation. It's easier than you think to keep balance in your life. It only takes a moment to reconnect with who you really are and want to be and greater energies and higher powers, allowing you to renew your sense of your place in the world.
Below are 8 awesome tips for making sure you stay balanced, powerful and strong::
1. Breathe! There is something to be said for cleansing breaths. They restore oxygen to the body lost by adrenaline/cortisol reactions and since, in stressful situations we tend to breathe very shallowly, taking 5 deep breaths really reset your ability to think clearly. (This suggestion is a great reminder from one of my favorite bloggers at Reduce Footprints!)
3. Get back to nature. Spend time outside. Go to the beach, get to a park, or putter around the garden. (Or plant one and grow your own organic fruits and vegetables, nourishing your body at the same time!) Take your shoes off and walk in the grass and really connect to the earth. Being as it is so cold outside now that may not be such a good idea but a 20 minute walk in the snow can work wonders too!
4. Spend time with your pets. Pets have an enormous benefit on our health and wellness, lowering blood pressure, boosting mood with their unconditional love, and playing with them can boost your seratonin and dopamine levels helping you stay calm, relaxed, and happy at the same time.
5. Sleep. Making sure you are getting enough sleep at night will keep you more alert during the day which will help you handle stressful situations much easier. If you didn't get enough sleep last night, taking a nap can help clear your head and make you more productive and calm at the same time.
6. Exercise. This is one of the best ways to release endorphins, those lovely " feel good" chemicals in the body. Endorphins alleviate stress. Remember that scene in Legally Blonde where Elle Woods solved the case by saying " Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." Truer words........
7. Spend time in meditation and prayer. Focus on your breath, imagine you are in a calm place, find a mantra and let yourself go. Better yet, connect to God. We talked about this before in 5 Ways to Get Happy Fast but it is still true. Even if you aren't in a stressful situation, taking time to tell God and remember reasons to be grateful will create a sense of wellbeing and attract even more reasons to be grateful to you.
8. Be a list maker. One way to create a less stressful more balanced environment is to be clear on what you have to accomplish for the day. Make sure you prioritize what you must get done, what you should get done but maybe it could wait, and what you would like to get done but it wouldn't kill you if you didn't get it done for awhile. Making a list of those items and the priority they carry allows you to see what you really do accomplish in a day. Be realistic about what you realistically can get done. By the same token, look at what you really do in a day and whether all of those activities are really necessary and which ones are just "busy work." Does your kid really need to be in t-ball AND soccer? Must you really iron your sheets? It's the end of a busy day and you haven't put a post up on the blog. Will your readers cease to exist or hate you instantly if you don't post one day?
I am not suggesting that you forgo taking care of your family or being a good employee. You can even combine some of these activities with taking care of your family. Take the kids with you to the park and run around with them. When your little ones are down for a nap, pop a load of laundry in the wash and lay down on the sofa. Either take a nap or use that time to spend in prayer. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, take your lunch break and really enjoy your lunch! A little self nourishment goes a long way to living a balanced, healthy, happy life.