Whether our work-life balance is askew or our culture’s on-the-go lifestyle has turned our diet into a barrage of take-out dinners and drive-thru runs, there comes a point when we need to take the first step to center ourselves both mentally and physically. While this initial decision is often difficult to make, it’s fundamental to positive change.
However, before taking action, it’s important to realize everyone struggles, and even those who are luminaries in their industry work tirelessly to achieve a balanced life. It’s this eternal truth that motivated us to begin our blogging journey through Inner Balance Pilates (IBP). Additionally, we believe that those very imperfections and challenges are what make life so interesting, and ultimately, make us stronger.
With this first article we’re also laying the foundation for a blog that will tackle a multitude of topics dealing with health, wellness, and finding balance. In addition, we’ll feature biographical elements of Founder and Head Instructor of IBP, Genevieve DeRose and her team. With all that being said, let’s start building the foundation for a more balanced life.
1. Start Right Here, Right Now
As the old axiom goes: there is no time like the present. More specifically, it may be a time of self-awareness, self-honesty, or even hitting the proverbial rock bottom.
“I suggest tackling your sticking point,” says Genevieve DeRose. “What is it that’s not allowing you to progress?” You may feel like you don’t have enough time, you’re chronically exhausted, or your ambitions seem too daunting to even begin. Whatever the reason, know you’re not alone.
For example, The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) found that more than 80% of adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Moreover, the ODPHP found that the vast majority of Americans are severely lacking in fruit, vegetable, dairy, and healthy oil intake. Additionally, nearly 90% of the population eats too much sodium and about 70% eats too many saturated fats and added sugars.
What’s more, the Center for Disease Control found that $20 billion a year could be saved in medical costs if Americans reduced their sodium intake by 1,200 mg per day.
Fortunately, there are some simple changes you can make to avoid becoming a statistic. “Ask yourself, ‘what one action could I take?’ suggests Gen. “Whether it’s a Pilates class or changing one meal in your day, it’s important to follow through with easier changes first. That action should be small; maybe it’s journaling, talking a walk, unplugging for 20 minutes, or simply setting the goal itself.”
2. Find Time to Reflect
“I think you need to regularly plan to have at least a three hours a week to be in a quiet space,” recommends Gen. “It will allow you to really think about how your feeling mentally and physically and consider what you need to change.”
If you ask Gen about how relaxation plays a part in a balanced life, she’ll jokingly ask you back, “relaxing…what’s that?” Though even she hasn’t perfected meditation nor mentally powering down, she does take time for herself when it’s necessary. “I take the time to figure out what is stressing me out and discover the small changes I can make to alleviate those problems.”
While yoga and breathing exercises are great strategies to decompress, meditation doesn’t have to be practiced in the traditional sense. “Finding one or two activities that allow you to completely ‘let go’ is essential to your mental and physical health—your balance,” asserts Gen.
Ironically this ability to “let go” actually helps people feel more in control, especially when it comes to workplace stress. Case in point, research from the American Institute of Stress (AIS) found that 46% of a person’s stress is derived from a lack of perceived control at their jobs.
3. Outline Your Goals and Record Your Progress
“I live my life by setting goals, following a plan, and ultimately executing that plan,” says Gen. “What’s a goal if you don’t physically throw it out in the universe? Do it, make it happen.”
Gen uses the Full Focus Planner to record her goals, wins, and losses as well as what actions she took that made the biggest impact. “I tend to grab life by the reigns and let it take off like a thoroughbred—great for progress—not so great for reflection. Tools like a planner allow me to do both.”
Gen notes too, that when you’re keeping track of your wins and losses, you shouldn’t be hesitant to reward yourself for progress and also accept and acknowledge new problem areas. “Ignoring your sticking points won’t help you achieve balance.”
4. Don’t Forget About Your Friend and Family
It’s easy to be so driven that we forget about the people who matter to us most and take their unconditional love for granted. “If you run your family like a business and actually create time in your schedule that is 100% devoted to them, I think it’s a good way to find balance for someone who is a workaholic.”
While it may seem ridiculous to schedule family time on your calendar, it does help many people find some much needed stability. Pew Research Center actually found that a staggering 65% of parents with college degrees said it was difficult to balance their job and family.
“Even people that work from home need to make sure there is a definite break between their work and their family life,” states Gen. “It sounds crazy but it helps people achieve a better life balance.”
There Is No “Perfect Formula” to Finding Balance
“The scale is always shifting,” says Gen. “There is a battle on both sides to find balance.” Gen contends that it all depends on the person. But there is one element to sparking a more balanced life that is tried and true: take action. No one has ever made progress by maintaining the status quo.
Whether it takes hiring a cleaning person to free up a few hours so you can hit the gym, scheduling family time on your calendar, or eliminating just one unhealthy food a day, it’s all about getting started. If you’re interested in taking the first steps to more balanced life, request an introductory session with IBP or contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get back on track.