I think my personality lends itself to being all or nothing, going hard and prone to burn out as a result so it has been a big journey over quite a few years for me to understand, appreciate and desire to live with balance!
Here are a few things I've found to be important to living a healthy, balanced life & why.
- So often we fill life so full that there are no margins, or spaces left to think, reflect, and then appropriately prepare for life. There are many moments, situations and seasons in life that with a little (or a lot!) of preparation can go a lot smoother and without as much stress if we simply made the time to think them through. In our house we call this margin.
- Margin doesn't have to be about planning, it can simply be about switching off but if the days are constantly booked right to the end or TV or other media takes over the 'down time' there will never be space to sit, think and recalibrate.
- Physically & mentally we are simply not designed to keep going without rest.
- Sleep is when our entire body slows down and focussed all of its energy on healing and restoring you so it should be a priority to get a good amount of sleep each night.
- Physical rest can also just be laying down or sitting outside in the sunshine for 30 mins to allow your body to be still.
- Mental rest is equally as important particularly now days we we find ourselves saturdayed with technology and basically accessible to people 24/7. Mental rest can just be turning off noise, having a break from screens, or getting outdoors. Sometimes reading books can help the mind slow down too. Prayer and meditation is the best form of rest for the mind.
- Staying active physically isso important for a healthy and balanced life, not just from a fitness or strength perspective but also mind space is greatly affected in positive ways when you move your body especially if it can be outside. I always feel better even after s slow and gentle walk down the street with the pram. It gets the blood flowing, freshens the mind, and creation is so healing in times of tiredness and stress.
- What we eat literally affects every part of us from our muscle strength, brain function, alertness, energy levels, ability to sleep at night, immunity strength, emotion management, stable weight management, ability to cope with stress and the ability to get better from sicknesses. It is so important to eat a balanced diet of wholefoods (things as close to their natural state as possible) and limit the amount of refined and processed foods (packet or take away things) to ensure the body is receiving all it needs to function at its best and support you through whatever you're going through.
Waiting for wisdom
- When it comes to decisions, big or small, we try in our house to 'wait for wisdom'. A principle we have adopted from the book of Proverbs in the Bible, it has proven worth the wait every time. Waiting for wisdom simply means not rushing into things without the inner peace to go ahead or the practical wisdom to see a task or scenario fulfilled in a holistic, and long term manner. We pray, wait for wisdom and if it doesn't come straight away we get on with our day or week with an 'ear out' for the wisdom we need to make the required decision.
Renewing the mind
- Romans 12:2 says "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect".
- Balanced thinking can only take place when it comes from a renewed and healthy mind and the way to achieve this isn't to 'empty' the mind as many practices suggest, but to be transformed By God.
Believing & Speaking good things
- Proverbs 18:21 says: "Death and life (living, green, flowing, sustenance, maintenance, active & lively) are in the power (hand/responsibility/made by) of the tongue (the language) and those who love (as they love another human or God) it will eat (consume, partake) of its fruit (produce, offspring, children, actions of)."
- So speaking good things, life filled things means that I get the benefit of those good things I have spoken!
Knowing your limits
- Knowing your mental and physical limits, when to say yes and no so it doesn't affect your own health, or the health of your family.
- Physical limits include knowing when to go to sleep at night, when to excersize and when to rest, when to go home, or when to revisit basic nutritional principles.
- Mental limits include knowing when to stop working, stop taking on new responsibilities, when to prioritise quiet or down time and when to deliberately seek wisdom or guidance.
Heal your emotions
- Emotions are the feelings we 'create' within ourselves as our thoughts interact with our body. Emotions are our bodies' reaction to the thoughts of our mind. They are a reflection of our thoughts in our body and there is a direct correlation between the thoughts in our mind and the emotions we experience in our body. Getting emotions in order and healthy first of all you requires getting the thought life in order. Often times things like fear, anger or sadness are a direct result of fearful, angry or sad thoughts, just as joy, or peace are direct responses to joyful and peaceful thoughts.
- Balance is a choice. I chose for many years to live in a way that was unbalanced and unhealthy. But balance isn't just an 'at large' principle it is one to be chosen in all things. Balanced nutrition, balanced exercise, balanced time commitments, balanced thought life.
It can be tempting to choose to ignore balance, for want of pleasing other people at work, at home or socially, but a balanced life is a healthy life. And if you are sick, tired or emotional, I have found the less of a help I am to those around me anyway! Best to choose balance, enjoy the fruit of it myself and be able to bless others with energy, time, wisdom and joy because of it.