What’s one thing that every parent, student, spouse, caregiver, entrepreneur, and salaried or part-time employee (so pretty much everyone who has to juggle working for a living with multiple responsibilities) is always striving to achieve?
Balance. Or more specifically, work-life balance.
It’s a term that often gets thrown around in lifestyle and career magazines and in the blogosphere, and one that I always have trouble defining. A few years ago, entrepreneur and former Facebook market development director (and Mark Zuckerberg sibling) Randi Zuckerberg famously said (well, tweeted) that in order to be successful in life and business, you can only pick three things to focus on out of the following five important categories: friendship, work, time with family, fitness and health, and sleep.
I have to disagree with Ms. Zuckerberg. I believe you can make time and focus on the first three (friendship, work and time with family) by giving the last two (fitness/health and sleep – I’d also add mental health to that list) your attention every day. It’s something I’ve done for the past five years, and it has allowed me to run multiple races and qualify for the Boston Marathon, become physically and emotionally stronger and more flexible, start and grow a personal training business on the side, advance in my communications and writing career, maintain longtime friendships and make new ones, and foster and grow healthy and happy relationships.
So how do I do it? How do I balance everything while finding the time and energy to work out, eat healthy and set aside time for passion projects and self-care every day?This is something the folks at Activia From Danone asked me to share as part of their #LiveInSync campaign. They believe that when your body and mind are perfectly aligned, you are at your best, in your ultimate, most powerful state. I totally agree with this sentiment, and was happy to share how being “InSync” with my inner self helps me achieve my daily goals. Hopefully sharing what I focus on each day will inspire you to tap into your own self-awareness to understand what you need to do to be at your best, too.
How I balance my body and mind on a daily basis to be my best self
As I mentioned earlier, making fitness, health, mental health and sleep a priority allows me focus on the other important aspects of my life, such as family, friends and work. If I don’t focus on my mind and body first, I won’t have the capacity to focus on anything else. It’s only when you feel totally in-sync with your core that you can harness your greatest potential.
Below is a list of what I do on a daily basis to help me be the best version of myself all week long.
Sleep – I aim to get at least seven hours a night, which is more than enough for me to function and feel good. I have my FitBit set up to tell me when it’s time to wind down for bed, which is really helpful. If I end up staying up late, I’ll sleep in and leave exercising for after work.
Fitness – It’s taken me about seven years to make fitness a daily habit, but it’s something I know I need to do every day in order to feel good and be my best self. I usually have a fitness goal I’m training for, such as to run a faster marathon or finally nailing a tricky yoga pose, and have a weekly and monthly training program set up accordingly. Having a goal helps me brush off any excuse I might come up with NOT to do it, plus takes away the guesswork about what I’m going to do that day. Sometimes it’s running, sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes it’s weight-lifting; sometimes it’s just housework and walking the dogs. All physical activity counts!Nutrition – Nutrition is right up there with fitness and sleep when it comes to taking care of my body. As longtime readers will know, I’ve had struggles with digestive and food-related issues my entire life, so the right nutrition is key to helping me be my best self. If I eat foods that don’t agree with me (like ice cream and cheese) or don’t eat enough carbs to fuel my training, everything else is completely thrown off. It’s taken me a while and a lot of experimenting (I’ve gone from paleo to vegan to gluten-free to what I am now… which is essentially a vegetarian who eats eggs, seafood and yogurt for protein, omegas and gut health) to discover what my body needs to keep it in harmony. To achieve this, I make my lunch every night as soon as I get home from work so it’s easy to grab in the morning, and cook simple but tasty veggie-based meals for dinner each night. I also eat pretty much the same thing every day to make it easy to prepare. Oh, and I also eat half a bar of dark chocolate a day, because #YOLO. Career – After a good night’s sleep, an hour-long workout and a bellyful of good, nutritious food, I’m ready to use my brain to take on the many challenges both my 9-to-5 job and side business throw at me. Obviously eight hours of my day are spent at work, then, three nights a week (when my boyfriend is either playing hockey or working in the yard), I schedule at least an hour for freelance writing and blogging, plus an hour or two on the weekend for my personal training business. I’m also lucky to get every second Friday off so I can focus on my side business if I need to. Of course I’d love more time to blog, write and coach, but I also know I need to balance everything else and I have learned to be satisfied with the time I have available right now for passion projects.
Reflection – Because self-care for me is fitness, sleep and eating well, I like to focus on reflecting back on my day and feeling gratitude as a form of mental health care. I have a journal I write in at the end of each day to recap my workouts, how I was feeling and three things I was grateful for that day. You’d be surprised how helpful this is in helping you get a good night’s sleep if you do this at the end of each day.
Let’s consider all the time I spend on fitness, health, mental health and sleep and how it breaks down in a 24-hour and weekly period:
- Sleep – 7 hours per day, 7 days a week
- Fitness – 1 hour per day, 7 days a week
- Nutrition – 35 minutes per day for prep, 1.5 hours spent eating per day, 7 days a week
- Career – 7.5 hours at my day job 4-5 days a week, plus 3-4 hours a week on my passion projects
- Reflection – 5 minutes a day, 7 days a week
If I tally this all up, that’s about 59 out of 119 waking hours per week I spend focusing on my well-being. If I spend about 24 hours a week commuting, doing chores, showering and getting ready, scrolling through social media and grocery shopping, that leaves roughly 35 hours a week (or 5 hours a day) I can dedicate completely to the other important aspects of my life, such as time spent with family and friends.
[Tweet: It’s only when you feel totally in-sync with your core that you can harness your greatest potential. Here’s how you can #LiveInSync and be #BodyMindAligned]
Being InSync is that special state when body and mind are aligned, we are in touch with our core, and we are driven from within to achieve our full potential. The positivity that radiates from being InSync will benefit all aspects of a person’s life – at work, in personal relationships and in all-important relationship with oneself. Activia is an expertly designed yogurt with exclusive B.L. Regularis, carefully selected ingredients and a refined texture. Activia, #LiveInSync.
How do you live in sync?
Do you believe you only have to “pick three” to successful in life and business?
What three to five things do you focus on the most?
What area or aspect of your life would you like to focus on more?
This post was brought to you by Activia From Danone via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed here are those of the influencers and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Activia from Danone.