Balance is integral to your well-being, but what is the best way to produce it? Here are some tips on how you can create balance in your life.
Have you ever felt frustrated or discouraged by how much information is out there on how to be healthy and take care of yourself? How come no one seems to agree on anything and everyone has a different outcome? Maybe it’s because you and your body are unique enough to need something more personalized.
Of course, you can get a fitness or life coach to help you, but first you might want to just listen to your body and that quiet voice in your head that is there to guide you. Listening to this voice can create a beautiful balance within you because it knows you better than you know yourself. The voice has an opinion and it is the most important opinion you need to know. It takes a lot of trust and discipline at the beginning, but you’ll start to see that listening to yourself is what you’ve always wanted to do.
You might think you want complete freedom to do anything. But what about that little voice that tells you to get up when you’ve hit snooze for the fifth time? Imagine you listened to it when it told you to get up and go to the gym, or to start studying, or to have a piece of cake. Yes, we know, sometimes it tells you to eat cake. Why? Balance. Your body doesn’t want too much or too little sleep, it wants just the right amount for that day. It doesn’t want to never have cake again, but it also doesn’t want you to have cake every day.
This transition to listening to your voice takes time. In the beginning, it will be challenging to distinguish between a craving, an addiction, and the voice. The foods you eat give you energy boosts that can be very helpful, and sometimes they are exactly what your body needs. But if you think it might just be your cravings that you’re hearing, take some time to look at your dietary habits. You might need to slowly cut back on some of your defaults or do a reset, so you can start to distinguish the voice. Be reasonable about your voice’s judgment and remember to be patient with yourself!
Here are some areas to look at to begin creating balance. With each step, hit your personal balance and no one else’s—don’t compare yourself to others. They’re not you and never will be!
Each day you use and gain energy at various rates. You need to learn to understand what gives you energy and what drains you. Listen to your body when it tells you to rest or work hard, go all out or relax.
If you have a project due that you have been working on for hours and the voice is telling you your body needs a rest, don’t gravitate towards a habit but listen to the specific way your voice is telling you it needs to rest in order to balance out your energy. Maybe you always have a power nap in order to get through a project, but what your body needs this time might be some dark chocolate or protein for mental energy, or a quick run to get your blood flowing. Listening to the voice will provide you with the right way to restore energy to continue with your project. Where is your body telling you to source your energy from?
Sleep is your primary source of energy. If you are listening to the voice when it tells you to sleep and wake up, you have a head start on balance for the day. If you ignore it and stay up too late or force yourself out of bed too early, that balance will be hard to maintain. It’s important to listen to your own internal clock because everyone’s is different. Also, pay attention to what amount of sleep your body needs each day.
As soon as the voice lets you know you’re tired, it’s time to start winding down and head to bed. This could mean leaving your friend’s house earlier than usual or shutting off electronics in order to quiet your brain and get the rest your body needs. It’s the same in the morning. Some days you need to snooze that alarm five times, but sometimes oversleeping can make you tired and groggy. If you know you need to get up early, see if it helps to go to bed earlier or to create a schedule. Find what the voice needs and discover how you can listen to it for better sleep.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with food is difficult because so many people just try to stick to a strict diet plan. When you do this, you are usually not listening to your body, but rather to a list of rules that has nothing to do with you. Following a diet plan can mean depriving your body of nutrients it may desperately need and giving it food it might not need at all. What if, instead of having a diet plan, you had a lifestyle of listening to your body’s needs? This will provide you with the food choices you actually need and want, and will complement the energy your body is using.
This step can be difficult because the voice can be drowned out by habits, cravings, and addictions. Maybe you crave carbs, or sodium, or are addicted to sugar or coffee. If you think it might just be a craving, see if you can replace what you usually eat with something that would give you the same type of energy. Try replacing refined sugar with a natural sugar, like fruit, or replacing pop with 100% juice. If your body is satisfied with the replacement, you’ll start to see your craving and the voice begin to line up. It takes time to learn to distinguish the voice, so be patient and remember to treat yourself like someone you love and care about!
Do you spend your free time on things you want to do, or do you find yourself always doing the same thing out of habit or boredom? Are you listening to your voice when it tells you to spend time with friends, read a helpful book, relax and just watch TV, or work on a new hobby? Your body uses these activities to get energy and it’s important not to overlook this area of your life.
Your free time is where you have a chance to discover who you are and what inspires you. Maybe you have a bucket list you never get to because you’re binge-watching the latest TV craze, or you find yourself out with friends every night, so you never get to discover who you are without them. By letting the voice guide you in your free time, you can discover your passions while balancing the energy your body needs. You may be amazed by who you really are and what you want to do!
As you look at each of these areas of your life, take a moment before making decisions to listen for the voice. It will tell you what it needs in the form of a thought, impulse, intuition, or as a nudge from your physical body through tiredness or restlessness. Try to listen to where your body needs energy from and use one of these four areas as your stepping stone. Every time you listen to the voice it grows stronger and you grow stronger, since you’re giving your body exactly what it needs. Each time you listen, it will get easier to hear and your intuition will grow.
When you look at your day or week, try to plan ways you can give yourself time to listen to your body. Try to anticipate changes in your energy levels and have a ready fix, like packing fruit or a protein bar with you, blocking off time for a nap, or scheduling coffee with a friend you’ve been meaning you catch up with. Balance looks different from day to day because you don’t get the same amount of sleep each night, you eat different foods, and you use different amounts of mental and physical energy. So, feel free to take five minutes to plan your day or your week. Breathe, listen, and respond to each moment based on that moment’s needs.
Depriving yourself is never healthy. Indulging yourself is never healthy. Balance is healthy, and your body knows the balance you need each day. This balance looks different for everyone, so never stop listening to yourself!
Remember, the voice inside is you, telling yourself what you need to succeed each day. It is the truth, and its goal is to make you into that incredible, powerful, talented girl-boss it knows you can be. Be vulnerable, open, and courageous enough to listen to yourself.