Living a balanced life is definitely easier said than done. There are so many day-to-day challenges that throw us off balance, emotionally and physically. Hectic workdays, crazy school schedules, too much fast food, and not enough time for exercise discourage and foster low-energy and depression. Leaning on friends and loved ones for support can help, as well as creating a written plan suited to your own health needs. Here are a few key areas to focus your journey towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you.
1. Hydration- The fact that humans need water to survive is universally known. But here's the thing: humans can get enough water to survive without drinking enough water. At least eight glasses of water a day is recommended for humans to stay fully hydrated and feelin' good. The best way to test this theory? Try it out, and then marvel at the difference.
2. Exercise- If you've been thrown off your regular exercise schedule for quite some time, it can be scary to get back into the swing of things. It can be even scarier if you've never had a regular schedule at all. But, if you don't start now, when will you? That's right…never. This doesn't mean you have to begin at full force. Instead, take your time, ease into a work out routine and then keep building and intensifying as your endurance grows. Try cardio or strength classes at your local gym or YMCA. And, if you can't get out of the house, blast some music and have a dance party in your kitchen, solo or with the kids.
3. Diet- If you're already dreading the food deprivation and artificial sweeteners, think again. Your diet should be kind to your body. It should be just enough. It should vary. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains are the way to go. Even better: try to eat organically, free range. Read your ingredients, and run from high fructose corn syrup or any other ingredient that is longer than six syllables. Simply put: Eat to live, not the other way around.
4. Sleep- Sleep is when we recharge our batteries. It affects virtually every function in our bodies. Our body's regular systems are thrown off balance if we don't get enough rest. Research published in The Washington Post shows that not getting a sufficient amount of sleep (7-10 hrs.) could increase the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
5. Leisure- Your free time is your you time. It's your time to decompress, read a book, listen to music, or express yourself in your own creative way. Don't think of it as wasting time or being selfish. When you have down time, you'll be much more willing and emotionally available to serve others and give of your newly refreshed spirit. And speaking of spirit, it's nice to give away part of your you time to God by having a daily devotion and prayer to recharge your soul.
6. Connection- Legendary Barbara Streisand once sang, "Be a person who needs people." She was on to something there. People need people. We crave connection with human beings. So, in order to have a balanced, happy life, make sure you have quality, chill time with those people who make your life worthwhile. Even better, let your friends be your accountability partners in maintaining your new healthy lifestyle. Share your goals with them and let them encourage you and remind you of your motivations while you do the same for them. You could even use SignUpGenius to plan healthy dinner support groups where you share your progress with your accountability partner and other friends who have similar goals.
The most important thing is re-affirming your goals with a positive mindset. Don't beat yourself up over apparent failures. Live one day at a time and start each day with a clean slate. It takes time to establish new habits, and as you give yourself a chance each day to work towards them, you'll find in time that you've reached your goal of becoming healthier!