The Importance of Finding Balance
Extreme Makeover... Extreme Home Makeover... Extreme Couponers... Extreme Cheapskates... Extreme Sports... Our culture loves EXTREME. Being normal, average and middle of the road doesn't excite people. It's like we need something exciting, shocking, and never been done before. But is our unhealthy fascination with quick fixes, extreme weight loss, and restrictive living helpful or harmful?
Through my observations of my own life and the culture surrounding me, I've come to realize just how imperative it is to find balance in all areas of our lives. Being in the health & wellness industry, I've also come to recognize just how important this balance is in regards to healthy living.
Whether you're struggling to get started or struggling to keep going, I hope these 3 benefits of living a balanced life will encourage you and help you to continue making improvements in your health in an enjoyable and sustainable way.
3 Benefits of Living a Balanced Life
1. Less Stress
As a sufferer of something I have recently coined "The 3 P's" (Pride, Perfectionism, Performance), I know the pressures of trying to get healthy the right way, quickly, with no setbacks. But that pressure we put on ourselves to eat the perfect diet, exercise five days a week, and completely eliminate our exposure to chemicals--all while not going broke--is stressing us out!
A little stress in life is expected and sometimes even beneficial, but a chronically stressed body is not a healthy body! Being constantly stressed out about being healthy affects both your emotional and physical health.
One of the areas that causes the most stress in people's lives is finances. This one also impacts me big time. I've always had a lot of faith that God will provide for me and my family... that is, until we started the GAPS diet. Suddenly, our bills (for both groceries and supplements) skyrocketed and my kids were always hungry. We stuck with 90% organic food and took all the supplements for as long as we could, but we came to a point where something had to give. I was simultaneously stressed out about going into debt and slowly killing my kids with chemical-laden foods. It wasn't healthy for me! So we had to make some changes and learn how to eat good, clean food that fit into our one income budget (I'll be sharing more about that in the future!)
I was completely controlled by the "all-or-nothing" mentality. By finding balance in my life I can now live a healthy lifestyle that is actually enjoyable.
2. More Life
One of the first things you'll notice when you reduce the level of stress in your life is that you actually start living! Instead of constantly thinking about, calculating, and analyzing every decision you make, you can just live life!
And isn't the ultimate goal of being healthy so that you can live your life?? What's the point in doing any of this if you can't enjoy it!?
If you can let go of the perfect ideals in your head, you make room for experiences and relationships that you may have missed out on.
Sometimes we need to relax on our diet to go have dinner with a friend. Or we need to skip the gym in the morning to spend time snuggling on a Saturday morning. Or we need to choose local, organically grown produce instead of certified organic so that we can save up money to take the kids to Disneyland.
As much as I would like to be hardcore and heal my entire family's health issues in one year, I would be sacrificing so many other things that make our life worth living. I am choosing the slow and steady lifestyle change.
3. Lasting Results
Being able to live a full life with less stress means a significantly improved quality of life. And when you feel like your life is fulfilling, joyful, and manageable, you don't feel like you're missing out, so it's much easier to maintain a healthy living lifestyle. That means lasting results!
Working hard for something only to fall off the wagon and roll downhill back to the start is defeating. I've been there. It sucks.
I'm not alone in that experience either. That's why we have a term called yoyo dieting. How many times have you or someone you know gone on a strict diet or exercise plan, lost a bunch of weight, went back to their old habits, and gained it all back? It happens all the time!
I can't say this enough: eating healthy is a change in lifestyle, not a temporary diet.
But even if you're not working towards a weight loss goal, having lasting results is so important. Once you've experienced things like increased energy, improved mental performance, healing of anxiety and depression, decreased symptoms of PMS and menopause, it's not something you want to go back to, right?
When you learn to balance the wants and needs of your life, there is no reason to go back to your old way of doing things. You've changed your life in an enjoyable and sustainable way!
What's the one area you find the hardest to "balance" in your own life?