Finding Balance Finding Joy!
Do you every feel like you’re spread thin and still not doing enough? I know it’s not just me going non-stop, always ‘busy’, with every minute of the day filled with meetings, work commitments, cooking, organising, drop offs, pick ups and all the rest. And when I do sit down to watch tv, I fall asleep, yet I’m lucky if I get to bed by 1am, definitely something to be worked on there. It really is overwhelming sometimes, trying to keep on top of everything, maintaining a career, running a household, raising and nurturing your children, working on your relationships, supporting elderly parents, while being present for everybody else, nevermind yourself. And it’s not just the physical tasks, it’s the mental arithmetic keeping the whole show on the road. But why is it so hard? What are we doing wrong? What can we do to decrease the load and increase the joy?
I do know the answer, don’t we all? We need to step back, simplify, prioritise self-care and let go of the need to be perfect! These days we are bombarded by a definition of ‘perfection’ that just isn’t real. I don’t just mean a physical image of perfection, but also the need to be the perfect mother, wife, businesswoman, having it all, being everything to everyone! In today’s world, it’s easy to feel like we’re not doing enough or we are not enough. We need to ditch this all or nothing mentality and gift ourselves the space to realize perfection isn’t a healthy or realistic goal. Making small changes, including better options and removing those energy sucking practices from our day, all serve to give a healthy balance at any stage in life – young or old, pre or postnatal, peri to post menopausal, we all need to FIND BALANCE and also cut ourselves some slack when we need it.
So what are some practical tips to help shed the load and give ourselves some grace and space to come up for air and stay there comfortably? Here are a few few ideas.
Sleep: Lack of quality sleep has negative impact on your overall health, your hormonal balance, your mood, your cardiovascular health and your waistline. Create a sleep ritual, herbal tea, lavender pillow, favourite pjs, a book, a bath, find your mellow maker. Listen to your body’s signals for sleep too and go to bed when you first feel tired (ahem note to self). Put your phone away before you go to bed (guilty!). The blue light from your device affects one of the hormones involved in sleep (melatonin) and your circadian rhythm and this affects your sleep quality, so if you’re getting plenty of sleep and still waking up exhausted, this might be a contributor. If you’re a late to bedder, like me, no amount of going to bed at 10am helps, I’d be awake all night, so I’m starting with something smaller and achievable for me, pulling back bedtime back by 15 minutes, little steps that I’ll continue to build on it. Find what works for you, but whatever way you do it, get your sleep, and move from exhausted to energised.
Breathe: Did you know we take over 20,000 breaths a day. Have you ever thought about how you breathe? Did you know our breath is connected to our core and pelvic floor? Or that our posture can have an impact on our breath and also our neck and back pain? Our breath can affect much more than our respiratory system, think blood pressure, circulation, nervous system, digestion, energy, stress, concentration and more. It’s definitely in our interest to harness our breath and in turn help improve our health.
Here’s a quick pathway to relaxation and calm. Ideally find somewhere in nature (for some nature bathing) or where you won’t be disturbed, but honestly this can be done anywhere. Start with a minute and build up as you like.
Get comfy and…..
Breathe in for a count of 4……
Hold for a count of 4…..
Breathe out for a count of 4…..
Move: Of course, I’m going to talk about movement, and yes, there is some work required, some commitment and consistency, and remember we are all about finding balance. Even if you only have 20 minutes available to you (and everyone does), doing pilates for those 20 minutes consistently, each day, each week, will lead to results. So if you are short on time you can still get an effective workout, building and maintaining strength. Do it now, in your kitchen or office, upright, using your own body weight, and a couple of tins of beans – just move! You will feel better in body and mind, and have more energy to deal with the daily grind. And listen to your body, if your workout is leaving you feeling depleted for days then maybe it’s not the right one for you in this life stage.
Nourish: Drink more water. Eat the rainbow. Eat good protein. Eat local. Eat BEETS! Think about what you can give your body rather than what you deny it. Nourish your cells, your gut, your brain, your soul.
Walk away/Unfollow: Walk away from what drags you down, those energy suckers, whether they be people or situations. Extending into the world of social media tip, if it annoys you UNFOLLOW! You may be doing that to me now, that’s ok, I’m not for everyone. Also take a second to think about reality versus social media reality. Find the good things that impact your life positively, find what lifts you up, inspires you, challenges you positively, fills your cup, makes you laugh, find the joy!
Self-care: Find what fills your cup. Book it in and do it. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, time consuming or expensive. Walk in nature, meet your friend, run, swim, savour your cup of tea (that first cup in the morning!), read, write, colour, listen to music or a favourite podcast, do pilates! Doing the grocery shopping on your own is not self-care! Prioritising your own needs and following through is massively impactful, and will ripple down through all areas of your daily life and benefit your entire family.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and you may need to tweak to your own needs and life stage. But think about it, give it a go, move towards that stronger, more energetic you, make some little changes, exercise to feel good, nourish and feed your body and soul, protect your own energy, choose the good stuff that fills your cup, learn to thrive. And when you’re ready go ahead and MOVE WELL, FEEL WELL with me and the rest of the PilatesNow.ie tribe, we’d love to welcome you on board.
Our classes are progressive and challenging and will perfectly complement your current fitness routine. Progressive courses are available from absolute beginner and rehab patient to elite athletes and experienced movers. Designed and led by an experienced Physical Therapist, you can be assured you are in safe hands. We have a mixture of longer courses and shorter classes for people on the go. Our workout calendar is great motivational tool, if you’re undecided on a workout we suggest one for you, or you can choose from over 80 workouts available in our library. There really is something for everybody.
So go ahead and join us, doing so just may change your life for the better.
See you on the mat!