Maintaining balance all year round

We’re back to work for another year – and for many of us it can be hard to lack motivation – especially when the sunny weather is still hanging around. The first weeks back at work it can be common for many to lack motivation. Red Seal’s naturopath Julie Fergusson gives her advice on getting your work-life balance spot on in 2017. 

Words Julie Fergusson

The first few weeks (or months) starting back at work for the year can be tough. Holidays are finished; and now you don’t have the freedom to do what you want when you please. It’s a transition time going back to work after a break and can take longer if you aren’t happy in your job. In fact after a holiday it is the often the time when most people start to look for a new job as they feel dissatisfied with life. Small changes in our lives can often help create the balance many of us are looking for, so it doesn’t have be as drastic as changing jobs.   

The reality is there is no such thing as work-life balance – it is all about life and living all year round. The balance act is an internal one that starts with you in physical, mental and emotional ways and the need is to balance your internal self.   

Below are some tips to help you get back on track…

For nutritional advice on balancing snacks and treats, click here.  

For the body:

To get the body back in balance and from feeling sluggish re-hydrate and get back into a routine of eating whole foods. Salads, herbs, veggies and fresh fruit are plentiful at this time of year so it is a great time to enjoy them. They contain vital phytonutrients and minerals that help keep us healthy. 

Lack of nutrients will decrease your ability to cope with stress. If your diet is lacking, consider making some changes and add some vital nutrients in a multi vitamin or supplements.

You have heard it before – limit the refined carbohydrates and dump the junk food. These foods have an impact on your blood sugar levels and cause them to rise and drop, creating energy imbalance.

Re-evaluate your exercise routine or try something new. Whatever you decide to do, it is still important to exercise at least three times per week, as this helps you feel energized and lowers stress levels. 

Consider adding some FUN things to do with friends or the kids while the sun is still shining like kayaking, tennis, cycling or volley ball on the beach. Get in some social time in and keeping that body moving at the same time.

For more advice on exercise, click here

If you need motivation to exercise – dogs are great motivator. Those big brown eyes pleading for their daily walk or outside playing. If you don’t own a dog maybe see if your neighbours or friends have a dog that needs a walk.

For the mind:

Being tired is one of the quickest ways to lose your balance. Getting enough sleep is vital.  Fatigue affects your mind, energy and focus. Ensure you go to bed early enough so you get up feeling refreshed. If you are still tired and feel you need more sleep then most, consider getting your iron levels or thyroid function checked.

Your attitude will follow your dominant thought patterns. Changing your thinking can have the biggest impact around you, so take a look around and list the things that you can be grateful for and the things you can change.

For our tips on getting a better sleep, click here

Surround yourself with experts this year. Value and know your natural talents but understand your limitations.  Everyone is different and the wisest thing that you can do is get people around you “in your team” who are talented in areas that you aren’t. For example if your natural ability is as sales or artistic, you may not be a good accountant. So get someone to help you with the skills they are good at.

Is it time to up-skill? Need to challenge your mind with a new interest or study? Exercising the mind is as important as the body. Every new term many local schools have night classes on a range of topics from languages, yoga,  art or computer skills. Doing something different can create excitement while uncovering a new talent or job skill.

For the soul:

Plan the next holiday. Check your calendar and schedule a weekend away or a break away to still enjoy the summer. Often if we don’t book it, then we don’t take it!

The cheapest holiday is a mind and soul break. Method: meditation. The price isn’t high, it just requires a little time but the benefits to your inner self are priceless. Download a short meditation from the internet or play music; close your eyes, focus on your breath, relax and listen. 

For the bank balance: 

The combination of Christmas and holiday can often leave a big hole in the pocket and this can lead to the added stress of finding money to pay bills, credit card bills and being able to finance children back to school with books, uniforms and activities. If this has been out of balance, be realistic. If you feel finances are out of control, get some budgeting advice and get a money expert on your team. There is no shame is asking for help. Throughout New Zealand there is a free budgeting family service that is there waiting to help and this may help release some of anxiety around money.

Balance is something we create within us, it is not found outside of who we are. Most of us have stressors in our lives that we need to work on. The start of a new year is a great time to make the changes to keep us on track and it may not be changing jobs. Tweaking your life with one or two little changes may help create more internal calm and equilibrium. When life has balance then we have a sense of well-being and better overall health.  

For more from Julie Ferguson and Red Seal, visit redseal.co.nz/category/blog/

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