Wellness is a word that hasn’t been around for a really long time. I remember hearing it some in my early days of fitness in the late ’70s, and now it is one of those words that is pretty common. When I googled a definition for it, this came up — a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
The word complete caught my eye. For a person to be really “well,” it sounds like a person needs to be healthy in all three of those conditions — physical, mental, and social well-being, not just one or two of them. There needs to be a balance among them for a person to really feel good about where their life is and how they feel.
How do you reach this perfect balance? It is good to be in control of your emotions, to slow down, and to be mindful. Let’s delve a little further into this subject about life balance and get on the right road.
One of the best things you can do is to get in the habit of looking at and setting your schedule for the week and beyond. Whether it is just you or for your whole family, there are numerous ways you can do that these days — on your cell phone, your computer at work, a calendar on the wall, or the good ole day-planner which I read in a recent publication are making a comeback. Use what works best for you. However you keep your schedule, it is good to be able to see what lies ahead and plan accordingly.
If your schedule looks too overwhelming, study it to see what is really necessary for you or your family. Drop activities that zap your time or energy. Participate in events that interest you. Pick and choose activities that your children enjoy and don't over schedule them. Don’t forget to plan an occasional vacation. It doesn’t have to be a trip of a lifetime, but even an overnight in a town 2 hours away or pitching a tent in the backyard.
Plan some downtime. Maybe it’s social time with other families, lunch with old friends, or just “me time”— whatever it is, make it fun and an activity that helps with finding that balance.
I think I wrote in a past article that “no one will ever regret that they didn’t stay in the office longer.” It is so important to love your job and not let it overtake your life. I go to work each morning with a smile on my face loving what I am doing. Life can be too short, so look for something you have a passion for and is rewarding.
If you are able to delegate some responsibility at work, do it. Get savvy with technology that can save you time with certain tasks. Avoid the office gossip time and try to leave work “at work.”
And exercise. You knew I was going to get to this. Even though your schedule might be jam-packed, finding time to hit the gym or get out for a walk or run will give you more energy to face everything else that is going on with your life. Put it on your schedule and pick the time that is best for you so that working out will become a habit.
Researchers from Saint Leo University, Saint Louis University, Illinois State University, and the University of Houston-Victoria found that people who exercised reported lower levels of stress and were more confident in handling conflicts. Keeping work stress at a minimum is huge in achieving work/family balance.
Save time by rethinking your errands. Plan to bunch them all together to save time and gas. Go to the supermarket website and order your groceries online and have them delivered. If you don’t enjoy yard work or shoveling snow and your budget permits, hire someone to do those tasks. Anything you can do to give you more time for the things you love and are important to you can help you get closer to that balanced feeling.
Remember that relaxation is important to help recharge you. If work or running your kids, or planning a dinner party have you in a tizzy, take some time to meditate, find a spiritual moment, or close your eyes for a quick nap. It can be just the pick-me-up you need.
"The calm and balanced mind is the strong and great mind; the hurried and agitated mind is the weak one," says Wallace D. Wattles, a well-known author. Strive for a strong and great mind by getting your life in order. Slow down, choose your priorities, exercise in moderation, and simply enjoy life and those around you — the perfect balance.
Julie Kirk is a fitness instructor at Great River Health Fitness. Her column appears in Currents the second Friday of each month.