“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”
On a recent hike, I found myself working to keep myself balanced on rocks in a stream, to keep from falling in, getting my tennis shoes wet. It takes an effort to keep from not falling, hurting my back, or twisting my ankle. As I stood there, I thought about how I’ve wanted to share some of what I’ve been working on and learning through the past few months.
The idea of balance in all aspects of my life has been something I’ve focused on this year. When I literally thought about balance in my life, and when my friend built a cairn, the visual aid that I needed, it was time for me to share how I’ve worked to balance my life to grown and improve in several aspects. So below are a list of several things I’ve found have helped me if I balance each practice, and realize each step is an improvement.
Overall Lifestyle Changes
– Being still, and breathing, it’s simple but so very important.
– Take responsibility for my life, I have the control, I make the choices
– Becoming more consistent with my food choices
-Discovering that I want to take great care of myself, and that starts with creating healthy habits, and that starts with practicing discipline, and knowing that I want long-term success over short-term pleasures.
-Self-love and compassion towards myself is the most important lesson I’ve learned this year because, without this, everything else is harder. I have to love myself and give myself time to heal when hurt.
– I’m worthy of love, of respect, of kindness, of generosity, and of reaching my goals. I do deserve to have everything I want, but what I really want is just to be happy. What I have learned is that I have to choose happiness now, it’s a choice that I can make each day when I wake up. Not all days are easy, and not all days are happy, but I can make a choice to walk around being upset about my situation (Inaction and Complaining) or I can walk around and stand as tall as a 5’1” person can be (Haha) and be proud of who I am in this moment, and stop looking for acceptance, love, and kindness from others. I can give this to myself right now. I don’t need validation from others, or acceptance into the “cool kids club” I just need to own my awesomeness and walk around owning it all the time.
– Change the story I tell myself, to focus on creating change but breaking the connection to the old me and practicing decisions as the person I’m working to become on a daily basis.
-Reframe the situation from a fresh perspective, I was able to do this with my living situation, and now find the space I live in a calming, and peaceful place. After reducing my clutter, and redesigning my space, I’m able to have only the most important things in my space, and removed the clutter that was distracting me.
-Challenge the choices I make to focus on what the results will be, if it will serve me and my goals for the future, or if it’s just a momentary pleasure, that later will take me farther away from my goals of being fit, or getting out of debt if it’s a choice about spending money.
-Create joy, love, and kindness by being that change in my daily life for others, I can be kind, respond with love, and be grateful for everything I have, and everything I experience is always something I can learn from for future success.
-Being present and engaging with others, instead of being distracted by other things, being completely involved in one moment. If with someone, listen intently, if listening to a podcast doesn’t diverge off into tangents, if music, listen to the song as the artist may have intended.
– I’m valuable, important, strong, smart, kind, and loving, and I can create a space for others to connect and feel like they are able to be heard, to be respected, to be treated with kindness, and valued.
-With practice, repetition of making choices to put whole foods and unprocessed foods into my body, and to honor the reason why I eat, I build healthy habits that lead to me reaching my weight loss goals.
-Creating a morning routine that works for me, by scheduling time to wake up early to write thoughts in my journal along with intention setting and daily challenges for my fitness and nutrition, as well as practicing strength training with yoga and getting outside for a walk/hike for an hour, to be in nature. So many studies have demonstrated the benefits of being outdoors.
-Establishing a time for meditation in a quiet space with nothing but a pillow, and my essential oils diffuser in the background. I’ve used an app to help guide me, as my mind seems to wander all the time. But this habit, I’ve really learned to practice more and more seems to help keep me calm, and respond with restraint, or calm to others.
-Food isn’t the answer when hunger isn’t the problem, finding a way to challenge myself and stop sabotaging my progress when things get difficult, or uncomfortable
-Whole foods will allow me to be full for longer periods of time and feel satisfied instead of leaving me hungry. Processed foods are designed to encourage craving more and leave me feeling hungry and unsatisfied, in some cases when I overindulge in foods that I enjoy eating, I feel sick afterward, and it is not a feeling that I’m proud of or want to feel ever again. Whole foods not only satisfy me, they make me feel proud for having chosen something that is good for my body.
-Simplify foods, make it easy to choose a healthy food, and stop overthinking things. I have a habit of overthinking everything, but with nutrition, it’s really just easier to keep things simple, just eat whole foods, just eat when hungry, don’t eat when I’m not hungry. Simple. But simple isn’t easy and easy is earned.
-Challenging myself with running for one mile for time, and creating a baseline to improve me. Each morning run will get easier, and I’ll get faster when I practice.
-Creating workouts for strength building in addition to yoga, including some timed little-to-no-equipment workouts with pushups, squats, planks, and deadlifts with five-pound weights and/or my 15-lb kettle ball.
-Be consistent with walking, yoga, and strength training each day to slowly progress and improve my ability.
I’ve found that by balancing these core areas of my life will lead to better focus at work, and improved mood and overall happiness, and that’s what balance is all about, finding joy and sadness is a part of life, the ability to navigate the ups and downs is the balance.