We hear it from HR departments, during interviews, at seminars, in self-development material, and numerous other sources of positive intent. Unfortunately, many of us still have no idea where to find this so-called balance. Could it really be a fictional utopian concept or is it possible for us to find it amongst the daily grind?
IT BEGINS WITH WHY: The Big 3
Our body is a temple. In this sacred place, we think, feel, and create. In this complex machine, we have numerous parts that require proper maintenance. In this one-of-a-kind organism, we live out our daily lives. In order for us to be at our best, we need to:
1) Move Regularly
2) Consume Wisely
3) Rest Completely
Let’s think of these big 3 priorities as a triangle. EXERCISE and REST go hand-in-hand with challenging the body and then allowing it to heal, while DIET demands consistent attention for refueling. Why each of these areas are important is obvious based on our mental, physical, and spiritual reactions. Our brains run wild with endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin; our muscles are rebuilt with increased strength, stamina, and flexibility; and our spiritual state is only enhanced for ourselves and others around us. We are all built uniquely and respond differently to certain foods, exercises, and sleep patterns. But overall, we share these universal benefits, and become better leaders, friends, husbands/wives, fathers/mothers, brothers/sisters, etc. Not to mention, we inspire others to live well. All that said, what is your own why for the big 3 priorities?
IT CONTINUES WITH HOW: Verb vs. Noun
The title of this blog is “Work + Live,” with live being an action verb we must fulfill. HOW do we do that? In short, we must start by setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. If you have a long-term goal, break it down into multiple short-term, manageable goals – then focus on them one at a time. Find accountability in the form of a partner or group class. Track your progress and be patient. Finally, research for yourself! Everyone is different, so no one knows what is best for you except for you. Here is a basic blueprint to start from:
DIET: Many of us find it difficult to create consistency with exercise and rest, but we all have less of a choice when hunger hits. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to always choose our food & beverage wisely. Ensuring that we consume a balanced diet on a daily basis is no easy task — not to mention how confusing it can be to select the right foods. Here are a few quick tips (note: these are personal opinions):
- Buy and eat foods that come from creation, not science labs
- Cook as often as possible; prepare foods in advance
- Keep a food journal and record how you feel after eating certain foods
- Macros are king: maintain balanced protein + carbohydrates + fats throughout the day — customize based on personal goals
- Complex carbohydrates digest better: think brown versus white (i.e.: brown rice, wheat pasta, sweet potato, etc.)
- Mix up your lean proteins: chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, etc.
- Think healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, flax, coconuts, etc.
- Stay hydrated, release toxins, and drink plenty of water
- AVOID: refined sugar, dairy, sodium, preservatives
- If a food is easy to come by, it’s probably not that great for you; therefore, do not think about convenience, think about nutritional value!
EXERCISE: The key to any successful life-long exercise program is to start simple, continue with consistency, and evolve by keeping your body guessing. Here are a few tips:
- Proper technique and breathing are key to almost any physical activity
- Always warmup to a light sweat before your main activity and finish with deep stretching after — never the other way around
- Track your progress with a journal, fitness app, etc.
- Learn from others: don’t be afraid to ask questions wherever you are — most people consider it a compliment
- Include aerobic and anaerobic training — anaerobic builds muscle and burns fat with quicker visible results, while aerobic boosts cardiovascular health and burns fat with slower visible results
- Heavier weights with up to 8 repetitions will build more muscle mass, while lighter weight with more than 10 repetitions will build muscle endurance
- Change it up: running, swimming, and cycling all work your body differently, just like machines, free weights, and cables build muscle differently
- Build by anatomy: work different muscle groups on different days to organize and balance development
- Research, experiment, and have fun with your journey
REST: Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep, and when needed, rest your adrenals or take a nap. This is even more important when you’re physically active and regularly breaking down muscle fiber. Also remember that your mental refreshment and preparation occurs doing REM sleep cycles.
IT ESTABLISHES WITH WHEN: Choose Wisely
We get trained to work at our jobs well — whether that’s running a business or being a stay-at-home mom. We must also train ourselves to LIVE in such a way that supports everything around us. But it starts with us. We have to CHOOSE to prepare meals, make time for exercise, and get enough rest. When an airplane loses cabin pressure, oxygen masks are released from the overhead compartments. Who do we secure a mask on first? Ourselves! Why? Because if we do not get enough oxygen, then we will pass out and be useless to anyone and everything around us. So yes, I am endorsing being selfish. Take the right steps every day to ensure you CONSUME FOOD WISELY, MOVE YOUR BODY, and REST WELL. Your co-workers, friends, and family will reap the benefits. And at the end of the day — at the end of your life — you will be more fulfilled.
For more information, check out these helpful articles & great sources:
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