5 tips for a happy and balanced life

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a busy period at work or a lot of events in your private life. Perhaps some hardly lose their balance, but for me it can be a challenge to not fall one way or the other. I guess I have a sensitive soul that needs to be nourished with care and somewhat of a routine.

Over time I’ve noticed that when I follow a certain set of ‘rules’ I feel much better and I can keep my balance. Although literally keeping my balance is still difficult, since I’m quite clumsy. By the way these rules or guidelines are personal, so you might need to adjust them to your own needs. Want to know how I do it? Here they come:

1. Enough ‘me-time’: some might not need this as much, but I need some time alone to think, recharge, analyze and breath. Every morning I wake up extra early so I can start my day relaxed and even practice some meditation and yoga.

2. A healthy diet: I feel more energized when I nourish my body with the right ingredients. I need a lot of vegetables and fruits, but I happen to like them a lot too. When I’m busier and skip investing time in a good meal my immune system drops and I feel more tired and less like myself.

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3. Focus on what’s important: what I mean by this is that you should focus on the positive things happening. Every day something goes wrong, but every day something goes right too. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but at the same time focus on the positive details every day can bring you. For example the other day my train was delayed which sucked, but now I had time to get a coffee and that is something I enjoyed.

4. Be active: Nobody gets energy from sitting on the couch an entire day. You’ll probably feel more tired and lazy. Don’t get me wrong a lazy day once in a while can be wonderful. However in general our bodies need to move. When we move and are active you actually produce endorphins which make you feel happy. So, move that body!

5. Connect with nature: this might sound cheesy, but breathing in the fresh air when you’re in the mountains, at a lake, in a forest or wherever will help you stay grounded and therefore in balance. Walking in the forest is one of my favorite things to do. It’s easy to forget about nature living in such a digital world. That’s why I strongly advise to forget about your phone and enjoy the view, the fresh air and the sound of the wind. Trust me, you’ll feel recharged and more relaxed afterwards.

I have one more bonus tip for a happy and balanced life. Get enough sleep. Without a proper night of sleep you won’t be able to process your day the same, so make sure you get the hours of rest that you need.

So those are some of my tips for a happy balanced life. Of course there are many more ways, but these things work for me and I hope it can help you too. Just give it a shot and try it for a while. I’d love to hear if it made a positive change to your life. If you have other tips let me know. Remember listen to what your mind, body and soul need and you’ll find the balance you’re looking for.

 

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Being a day ‘offline’

At first I wondered how I had to organize my day. Even though I don’t organize my days a lot. I wanted to try being without a phone for a while, but every time ‘something’ stopped me from doing it. How would I communicate? What if plans would change? How will I be informed? Can we even do this without our phone? Despite all these questions I still wanted to put it to the test.

I must admit I made one phone call on my phone-less Sunday. I went to the dog park around 8:15 am and informed my mom about my plan. Just so she wouldn’t panic if she tried to reach me. So I figured that this was a valid enough reason for the call to not really count on my day offline.

A happy coincidence is that something on my phone had to be fixed. I turned it off and gave it to my boyfriend, so he could bring it to his work to fix it. This way I couldn’t even be tempted to turn it back one. I was literally offline and if someone needed me they had to find another way to reach me.

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The immediate benefit that I encountered was that I had so much time. Normally you check your phone every now and then. While you do this you just ‘quickly’ go through Facebook, Instagram and watch of course just one video on YouTube. Suddenly half and hour or longer has past and you’re still cyberstalking some celebrity. Since I didn’t do any of that I had all my chores done before noon! My meal prepping was done, laundry was done, dishes were done and the bed was made. It was wonderful!

The chores part obviously wasn’t that wonderful, but the feeling of having a ‘free’ day the rest of my day was great. I drove with the doggies to my grandmother and after that to my moms house. Once in a while I noticed I wanted to grab my purse to get my phone. However seconds after I realized that I couldn’t do that, since I didn’t bring it. And why did I need it? Once I wanted to check the weather forecast, once to look at a picture and once to see if I had messages. None of these times I really needed my phone.

When I left my moms I got into the car and for a moment it seemed it wouldn’t start. That was the only time that I thought that I should’ve brought my phone. Maybe in future cases I can bring it turned completely off, just in case there is a real emergency. Other than that I really didn’t need my phone. Honestly it felt really good to not check social media all day long or check any messages. In some way it felt freeing to be offline.

So would I do it again? Definitely yes! I just have to decide how I will do it. At this moment I think it might be good to have my phone in my purse but turned off. Or perhaps I can switch it to flight mode or maybe even better just turn off internet. If you have any tips feel free to share! And my tip? If you haven’t tried it already you really should. You literally have more time on your hands, since you’re not using them to hold your phone.

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Relax and Unwind

For starters it’s good to get some mental rest and clarity. How can you do that? Do you remember those (video) games or any other machine with a reset button? When it’s overloaded, there is too much information and not working properly? So what did you do then, you hit the reset button. Magically it worked perfectly after doing that.

As people we obviously don’t have such a button. After all we’re not robots, but wouldn’t it be good if you can get rid of the excess information in your head? Start over and feeling all fresh and new. I think taking time off (from work) is like hitting the reset button. Especially when you’re going away and visit new places.

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I’ve had a few busy months at work. I work at an office with a computer all day long and at the end, right before my holidays, I ran out of fuel. I had processed too much information, worked long and intense hours and was tired. Very tired. And when I’m tired I’m also very emotional. So I really needed to hit that reset button. I could hardly bring myself to feel positive, when I’m always positive, which made me even more emotional. Luckily my trip to Turkey was already planned.

So there we went to Turkey and visit the grand city of Istanbul and a little town at the coast. It was my first time there so I had a lot of first impressions. Maybe because I received so much new information, the old (and excess) information was pushed away. I couldn’t think about anything else than what we’re doing at that moment. Living in the now and taking it all in. And of course taking a lot of pictures.

I didn’t realize it would work this way before going on vacation, but perhaps I never needed a break as much as I did now. Being away and seeing all the beauty of Turkey erased the stress and negativity I was feeling before. I was so happy to have that experience with my boyfriend. Side note it was our first vacation together. And as I wrote in the previous blog, snorkeling in the turquoise water made me feel so relaxed.

When did I know the reset button of going away had worked? When I was back home actually. During my holidays I also decided to change some things in my daily routine. For example not oblige myself to “have to do” everything in one day. I also decided not to say “yes” to all events, birthdays and activities. Simply because after work I need some more me-time to recharge.

So when we got back I knew what I was going to change. I felt so relaxed from the trip that luckily I felt positive again too. I still have to be careful not to run around in circles, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now when I wake up and start my day I’m looking forward to see what will happen. I’m re energized and it feels so good.

How to recharge yourself? Well even if you can’t go on a trip, you can enjoy some time off at home and do the same too. Relax in your backyard and read a book. Or try something new and open yourself up to a new experience. When it’s been a little too much we can hit that reset button in all different ways. My favorite though is on a tropical beach with sand between my feet. Just don’t forget to hold on to your newfound happiness when you’re back home.

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Spinning Buddies

Well I attended spinning classes in the past. It had been a while though and the last classes were not with an actual teacher, but with a video of a teacher giving instructions. I liked it, but it’s not the same as having a real person there telling you what to do. Mainly because with a video you could “cheat” with an actual instructor you can’t. Not that I would want to cheat my exercise routine, obviously.

This time around I convinced my stepfather to join the gym and join me in the spinning class. He’s 62 years old, but quite active and the spinning instructor is quite impressed with him. Of course he’s dripping in sweat after our workout and I’m not. Ok, I’ll be fair. The AC is on way too hard for me to break a sweat, but sometimes they leave it turned off and then I really notice the difference.

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But why do I love spinning? I’ve been going twice a week lately and therefore stopped running (for now). First of all I like doing it together with a buddy. It motivates you to keep going, even when you’re tired and stressed or just feeling lazy. But it’s also a great workout to relax mentally.

Because when I focus on spinning it’s the only thing I can focus on. Yes my mind wanders off, but I always get back to my focus point, spinning. My legs need to keep on moving and I literally can’t sit still. So that’s why I love it so much. It helps me to relax my mind. And this actually goes for any sport, especially cardio activities, at least in my case.

Sometimes I also glance to the side and see my stepfather giving it his all. I see his legs moving so fast he looks like one of those cartoon figures. You know that image of Road Runner going so fast his legs turn into a spinning circle? That’s what it reminds me of and I just start laughing so hard. So yes, even when I’m tired and especially when I’m stressed this is a great work out for me and it wouldn’t be the same without my buddy.