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Strategies for a Healthier You

What are some tips for having a work-life balance?

Health and wellness are subjective terms. What one person considers “healthy” can vary wildly from another person’s viewpoint.

As we dive into a health-related goal, it is important to identify our own unique definition of what it means. For the purposes of this article, the term “healthy” will be referred to as a state of wellness within the mind, body, and spirit.

Assessing for Gaps

Everyday life tosses us about; schedules, obligations, and a zillion responsibilities can make us a slave to tasks. This scurrying about and attending to tasks can leave us depleted and throw our life balance all out of whack.

When we don’t have a healthy life balance, we end up having gaps in the placement of our energy. That is when elements of the mind, body, and spirit can cause us distress.

Some of the gaps may be glaringly obvious. If you are spending so much time at work that you’re not seeing family or friends, for example, that indicates a gap in your emotional wellness that you’ve likely noticed and others may be pointing it out, too.

There may be less obvious situations in which your life balance is off-kilter. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the day to day stuff that the more subtle indicators of a life out of balance are lost. Check these symptoms to see if any of them resonate with you lately:

  • Tired all the time
  • Feeling disenchanted with life
  • Boredom
  • Unintended weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Increased use of alcohol or other substances
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Negativity
  • Reduced immune function
  • Irritability and mood changes

Time and Energy Inventory

When you’ve identified the symptoms that point to imbalance, develop an inventory that shows your time and energy expenditures. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. How many hours per week do I spend at work?
  2. How many of those work hours are satisfying or rewarding on some level?
  3. How much time have I spent with friends this month?
  4. When is the last time I visited family?
  5. How much of my energy is tied up in things that bring me joy?
  6. What or who do I miss in my life?
  7. How often have I had time alone this month?
  8. How often do I eat nutritional meals that nourish my body?
  9. Am I doing anything to avoid my feelings? If so, how often?
  10. How often am I exercising?

Sometimes people become entrenched in the idea that they should be devoting their time and energy to primarily one area of life.

Maybe it’s not even a conscious decision as much as a habit. This can lead to feelings of guilt about expanding the use of one’s time and may create a disconnect between attending to self-care and a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit.

How to Create a Plan for Healthier Life?

Consider your time and energy budget and imagine ways to infuse the missing components of your health into that budget. If you have a deficit in the “body” component of your health, consider ways to build it into each day in a sustainable way.

Some methods for this may include packing an additional healthy snack to start ingesting key nutrients that your body needs. Being mindful of the varying ways you can boost your health mojo will get easier the more you focus on it.

Can you start a lunchtime walking group at work? This will not only improve your physical health but will boost your mental health through spending time with enjoyable co-workers and getting the endorphin hit of a good walk mid-day.

Are you having enough sex? How about restful sleep? Body health is multifaceted, so take time to evaluate the varying aspects of your physical wellness to see what needs you may have.

Spiritual Health

If your spiritual health feels like it’s faltering and you feel disconnected from life and your purpose, consider setting aside time and energy out of your budget for reawakening that part of yourself.

Try attending a religious service, making time for meditation, prayer, or spiritual readings. Listen to inspirational TED talks, create art or sing songs that hold meaning for you.

Creative outlets are important links to spiritual and emotional health. Spend time laughing, talking with friends, and allowing yourself to observe nature. All of these things feed our spiritual selves and are vital for a life in balance.

As you strive to improve the health of your mind, body, and spirit, challenge yourself to try something new. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that learning a new skill or trying something different can be rewarding.

Part of being stuck and out of balance can stem from too much "sameness." Take a risk! Sign yourself up for a pottery class, go dancing or learn about a spiritual practice you’ve been curious about. Devoting time to these parts of yourself will give your life greater balance and joy.

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