Balance, Happiness & the Fountain of Youth
All we hear from health experts is that we need to reduce stress, exercise more, eat better and enjoy what we do – but that’s easier said than done when we also need to work hard, save up, deal with the stresses of day to day corporate life, let alone find time for ourselves!
So how exactly are we supposed to balance all the stressful aspects of our life while still finding time for personal pursuits, meditation and relaxation? Surely there’s not enough time for everything…but the key is in the balance!
Love what you do!
It can be so easy to get sucked into the trap of more hours means better career outcomes; which simultaneously makes it so easy to forget about the leisure time that your body needs to counteract the stresses of working life. Expending too much of your energy purely on the work aspect of your life can leave you feeling down and out of energy, as well as ensuring you burn out too early on your track to the top of the corporate world.
Traditionally, modern life was designed to be 8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure and 8 hours of sleep, but all too often it seems that those 8 hours each of sleep and leisure are being crammed into a single unit, and 12+ hours being spent on work instead!
How can we balance our leisure and work more effectively? Work-life balance is all about consciously taking time out every day to stop, rest and enjoy the things you want to do – the things you enjoy doing. 1 hour lunch break? Get outside and enjoy the sunshine – or the rain, it’s still better than an air-conditioned box! Get out for a run, or meet up with some colleagues or friends and talk about non-work related things. Continually working, or even thinking and stressing about work, will increase stress, and impact on all other aspects of your life. Plan your working day to allow for some leisure time, and leave work behind for the day once you’ve finished. Otherwise, there will be no time for rest…
Getting those 8 hours a night can be tough enough as it is, let alone after a long day at work and knowing you’ve got to be up again in only a handful of hours. Make the most of your sleeping hours, by going to bed tired and waking up refreshed. Power down before heading to bed, by shutting down electronic screens, reading a book and dimming the lights for at least half an hour before bed. This will help your body to slowly shut down, and leave you feeling tired and ready for a good sleep come lights out. Set alarms for the morning that wake you up slowly, rather than jerking you awake. Getting regular, good-quality sleep will help to reduce long term stress, and better prepare you for the day ahead.
There are several other great ways to help improve your sleep, which you can check out here!
Eating a healthy and balanced diet will complement the other aspects of your life, and bolster your overall health. Good quality food will promote energy production, and leave you feeling better adept to tackle the challenges of the day! Preparing food the night (or the weekend) before a working day (or week) can ensure you have high quality food to enjoy throughout the working week. Utilise ‘snacks’ effectively, if you need to have an extra coffee or shot of sugar then make sure it’s a small dose and appropriately timed. Sugar in the early afternoon coincides perfectly with the post-lunch energy slump, meaning you’ll feel tired, flat and bloated all at the same time. A high quality afternoon snack should be taken well after lunch, around 3, and bolster your energy for the remainder of the working day.
Having a mid-morning coffee, instead of a pre-work coffee, can improve your focus coming up towards lunch time, and allow your body to produce its own energy throughout the course of the early morning. Utilise nutrition to maximise your energy levels, your work productivity and help you to feel great during the day!
Exercise is a fantastic tool for keeping the body regulated, refreshed and stress free. All too often, however, we rely on extremely heavy workouts at the wrong times to get our daily energy expenditure up. Exercise doesn’t have to be extreme to work in our favour! Heavy exercise sessions after 6pm can seriously disrupt your body’s sleeping patterns, and cause you to feel tired the next day. From a physiological point of view, heavy exercise sessions are best undertaken early in the morning, when the body’s testosterone is peaking and the elevated stress a workout induces will keep you awake for the day, not for the night.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find activities that you enjoy doing, and set aside time for these activities during the week. Physical activity is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, and is far more beneficial to your overall health and well-being if you do enjoy it. Walking with friends, swimming, social sports or surfing are all great ways to exercise, socialise and enjoy yourself after a long day.
Love what you do!
Most importantly, you have to love and enjoy what you spend your 24 hours a day doing. Even if a job is stressful, if you enjoy it then it’s going to be better than finding a boring, non-enjoyable job that induces less stress. Exercise is meant to be fun as well, and if you never eat anything ‘bad’ for you you’re unlikely to feel happy and enjoy life! The key is moderation – moderate and balance your life so you have time for the things you enjoy, as well as the things you have to get done. Exercise because you want to, eat well because it helps you feel good, work hard because you enjoy what you do and sleep tight because you’ve got to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
Longevity only comes from balance, and it’s important not to pinhole yourself before it’s too late to change. Need help making a change to your health and fitness routines? Get in contact today to get started on your health and fitness journey!
Written by Johann Ruys
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