Find Balance for Better Health
One of the greatest times of my life was the college semester I spent studying in the south of France. As the daughter of a single mother working my way through school I never imagined I would have such an opportunity. I lived with a French family and purchased a used little pink bike with a wicker basket to cycle to school with the masses. I savored my experience by consciously taking time every day to feel gratitude and soak in the French atmosphere.
My experience gave me a greater appreciation for my country while also wishing we would adapt some of the habits of the French. The biggest being balance of work/school and leisure. It was the French tradition to close most shops, even the post office at lunchtime while everyone including working parents and children would take a few hours for lunch. No need to eat a sandwich on the go, a French no-no, in order to run errands. With most businesses closed not much could be done.
The family hosting me would sit at the table and have lunch together, sipping wine and taking a moment to relax before returning to work and school. It was a nice break in the day and precious time spent with loved ones. It seems the attitude was a greater appreciation for quality of life. Why work so hard if you can’t take time to enjoy what matters most?
It made me realize that here in America we are charged with a competitive mindset that keeps us focused on working harder and longer. It’s what makes our country great. It’s also what contributes to us being stressed out and overweight. Many of us lack balance between work and rest. We spend most of our time working, especially since computers make it so easy to bring it home. Single people are more likely to work longer hours and perhaps add more schooling to try and get ahead and lay a foundation for their future. Parents also work long hours and then rush around caring for children and family beyond that. The first thing most sacrifice is taking time to care for their own body, mind and soul. Without balancing out our lives of work and rest we wear ourselves down until the unconscious mind takes over and forces a slowdown with illness or injury.
Do you have balance in your life?
- Do you care for yourself so you’re ready to handle the stress daily life might throw on you?
- Then do you give your body a chance to recover from the weight it bore throughout the day or week?
- Slow down and take note on these lifestyle adjustments.
Slow Down and Chew Your Food:
If you were to take time and appreciate at least one meal a day you would probably make sure it was quality food, meaning fresh and healthful. You might also consume fewer calories. Studies have shown that chewing food thoroughly eases digestion and also causes people to eat less.
During my recent yoga teacher training we were invited to have a “yogi meal” once a day. The requirements were to lay down the fork after each bite and refrain from talking while chewing or engaging in any other activities like reading or watching t-v. The difference in the meal was amazing as most of us found we appreciated the taste of our food more and ate less.
Schedule in Exercise:
For those of us who live by the calendar, if you write in “take a walk” at 8:30am after dropping off your kids at school you’re more likely to do it. Or take a page from the French book and walk or ride your bike with the kids to school or to the market. In the small town of Pau, France, where I went to school walking and biking where how you got to places and not a separate category called exercise.
Hopefully by now you know at least some of the benefits of physical activity such as keeping your body strong and agile, strengthening the heart muscle and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar. It also boost energy and helps the mind to maintain focus and creativity. Click Here to Read Our Blogs on Exercise. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Get Plenty of Rest:
Especially if your days are full and stressful it’s important to allow your body to recuperate. The Sleep Foundations recommends between seven to nine hours of sleep for adults and much more for younger growing children. Sleep is the time your body repairs its self and builds muscle. It’s also the time for your mind to relax and build new pathways. Scientist find that people who lack sleep are less productive, take longer to finish tasks and have a slower response time.
By doing these things you can maintain your competitive edge in the rat race of America while also being able to enjoy our country for a longer quality lifetime.
Chewing food: http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2012/apr/chewing
Recommended sleep: https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need