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Finding Balance and Harmony in the New Year – Three Tips!

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Balance

My number one New Year’s resolution is to find harmony in my life between my responsibilities in life and my self care. This is something that I have been learning about for ten years and the truth is I am still learning how to find that perfect balance between the things I need to do and the things I want to do.

When I was younger I didn’t pay much attention to the needs of my body. At one point I had my day scheduled from 6am to 11pm at night with absolutely no down time. Yes, I got a lot accomplished but it wasn’t sustainable. At 22 I had completely burnt myself out and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There were many other factors at play such as poor diet, stress, and suppressed grief but I know that a major part in getting sick was packing my schedule so tight, that there was no room to just breathe and relax.

Now days I no longer have Chronic Fatigue but I still struggle with finding balance between work, play, relationships, household responsibilities, and nurturing my well being. In today’s world I know that I am not alone in this struggle.

I have been exploring how this year can be different and I have come up with three tips I’d like to share with you.

Tips For Finding Balance in Your Life

Tip #1 Alternate Between Structured and Unstructured Activities

I find that alternating structured activities such as work and household responsibilities with non structured or more spontaneous activities such as walking on the beach, meditating, yoga . . .helps energize me through out the day and keeps me balanced.

According to Tony Schwartz from the New York Times,

“THE pioneering sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman gave the name “basic rest activity cycle” to the 90-minute period at night during which we move through the five stages of sleep. A decade later, he reported that we experience a parallel 90-minute cycle in our waking lives.

At night, we move from light to deep sleep and back out. During the day, we oscillate every 90 minutes from higher to lower alertness. In effect, our bodies are asking us for a break every 90 minutes. But we override the signals with coffee, sugar and our stress hormones.”

I find that taking a break from structured activities to non structured activities every ninety minutes helps combat fatigue. So for example, I have been playing with the idea of working for ninety minutes and then taking a 15 minute break where I dance, read for pleasure, take a walk outside, do a quick meditation, or drink a green juice in the sun. You may only have the luxury of taking a nice stretch at your desk, or smelling an invigorating essential oil for a few seconds at work, but whatever you can do to recharge quickly can still help.

Tip#2 Schedule in “Me” Time

Just as we have a work schedule and appointment schedule it is really important to schedule in self care. Self care means to me anything that increases our sense of well being and reduces stress such as yoga, massage, meditation, dance, being out in nature,listening to music . . .(etc.) For each person it is going to be different.

You may be so busy that they only have 5 minutes to yourself. In that case I say make sure to use those 5 minutes to get into the deepest state of relaxation that you can through meditation or some other relaxation technique. If you have a corporate job and the only time you have to yourself is lunch, drink a quick smoothie for lunch and hire a masseuse for a 30 minute rub down.

Why is it so important to schedule “me time” even if you feel like you have absolutely no time to yourself? Because I can tell you from experience as a previous Chronic Fatigue sufferer that burning the candle at both ends is unsustainable and you will eventually burn out! Do all you can to find a way to nurture yourself before you are forced to stop due to stress induced illness.

Tip#3 Pay Attention to Your Bodies’ Rhythms

Pay attention to your bodies’ energy fluctuations. You can do this by observing how you feel at certain times of the day. After paying attention for a few days I noticed how alert I am in the mornings and then I noticed that from 2-4 is when I feel a little tired. My energy picks back up again and then I have focused energy until about 9 at night. I used to force myself to work through my afternoon slump but I was never happy with the work produced so now I schedule easier tasks or take a break during that time.  For you, it might be different but paying attention to your peaks and lulls can help you find the most harmonious and productive schedule for you.

So what do you think of my tips? Do you have some tips for living a balanced life? Please share in the comments section.

♥,

C

11 comments

1 Raw.la - Raw Food in The News and Around The Web { 01.17.12 at 10:01 pm }

[…] Finding Balance and Harmony in the New Year – Three Tips! […]

2 Deenababyblack { 01.18.12 at 11:41 am }

Great tips, I’m always struggling with my attention span and time management. I recently had a moment of ‘enough is enough’ and made a decision to concentrate on living fantastic experiences rather than focusing on achievement.
I’ll definitely take some time to concentrate on trying to arrange a daily flow around the natural cycles of my body, instead of struggling against it.

3 Cecilia { 01.18.12 at 5:56 pm }

Hi Deena,
Thank you for sharing. I struggle too and I am so glad to know I’m not alone.

What a wonderful realization some would call it living in the moment.

Acknowledging my bodies natural cycles has helped me so much, but I had to laugh when I noticed my body is naturally tired from 2-4p.m because that is traditionally the “siesta” time in my Spanish culture. Either the Spaniards are on to something or my body clock has some genetic programming:) Best Wishes ~ Cecilia

4 Vchesnakov { 01.18.12 at 8:48 pm }

Awesome tips, thank you for bringing the 90 minute cycle rule into awareness as well.

A very busy and successful man, Stephen Covey, from “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” – seems to be always booked up but when someone asked him what his day is like, he explains his schedule on the lines of –  he wakes up, goes for a run, then goes swimming and finishes up with reading, meditating or yoga. Takes 3 hours of “me” time. What a powerful way to start the day and be ready for its challenges.

5 Cecilia { 01.19.12 at 12:50 am }

Wow! That sounds like my kinda day. It’s amazing all that he is able to accomplish with so much “me” time. Definitely a paradigm switch. Thanks for sharing ~ Cecilia

6 health magazine { 01.21.12 at 6:26 am }

Thank you for sharing these amazing tip of great living. I follow the regular massage and yoga schedule and it really helps me keeping my balance of life. Meditation is also a great source of relaxation. Its a great way to start a day with all these activities.

7 Barbs @ Synchronicity House { 02.11.12 at 8:49 pm }

What great tips – thank you.  I too have afternoon slumps at work and the best remedy for me: A Green Smoothie – it’s a great pick-me-up and makes me happy!

8 Cecilia { 02.13.12 at 5:57 am }

Thanks for sharing Barbs, great tip!

9 Cecilia { 02.13.12 at 6:00 am }

Meditation is a wonderful tool. Thanks for sharing!

10 Martin Matej { 02.26.12 at 3:58 pm }

That is really interesting article. Thank you Cecilia!

11 Cecilia { 02.29.12 at 4:35 pm }

Thanks Martin glad you enjoyed it. Happy new year!

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