Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit M.I.A. on the blog for a while…took a break on Sunday and then on Monday got sick out of nowhere! I can’t tell you the last time I was sick…I guess I didn’t realize how bad it was because I was training in the morning (while feeling lightheaded and “off”) and then came home and tried to workout. I was resting in between EVERY move and had to sit down in between each round. Finally I gave up and just sat on the couch. That’s when it started to kick in. I didn’t think I’d have to cancel my evening clients but did, which was good since by that time I couldn’t keep anything down. I ended up cancelling today too, which I hate to do, but am glad I did as my energy is SUPER low and I’ve only had a few crackers and a few slurps of a smoothie all day.
All that to say, I really had to listen to my body as it revolted against me and change up my plans for the last few days. It’s my worst thing to just sit all day, but I’m feeling better now and will continue to take it easy and listen to how I’m feeling rather than jumping right back into life full blast. It’s all about balance!
Balance…at this time of the year? Who has time to achieve that? But this little sick episode has got me thinking on the term, especially after the writing prompt from FitFluential, a company for whom I’m an ambassador. From their website, FitFluential is a growing family of fitness fanatics spreading a positive healthy message year-round. But it’s not just a company; it’s a community – a group of people passionate about fitness and living well who use different social media platforms to share their journey and help inspire others. What I love is that we can all become a “fitfluencer” to someone else – YOU can influence someone toward living a better life in balance! I hope you’ll find these thoughts helpful as I muse about balance and how it might help you during this busy season.
The four “core values,” as it were, of the FitFluential mantra are:
Eat Move Sleep Enjoy
When you think about it, balancing life really comes down to those four categories, the specifics of which will look different for every individual. What you eat plays a big part in how you feel; whether you’re moving or not affects what you eat and how you sleep; the amount of sleep you get plays a big factor in your daily functioning; and the ways in which you choose to enjoy your days have their own implications. Let me break it down a little more for you, while adding one more to the above four:
It’s tough to find balance amidst the busy days we’re all facing, and yet taking the time to reflect on what your priorities are so that you can try to find balance is so worthwhile. Jot them down a piece of paper and see if you’re getting everything in; what changes need to be made? Disappointed in your workouts thus far in December? That’s okay – make a change and start today! Unhappy with how you’ve been eating? It’s never too late to grab an apple versus a cookie, to change your mindset toward food, to take a step in a healthy direction.
We all know this time of year means extra treats like cookies, party platters, and cheery alcoholic beverages, but rather than throw your hands up in defeat and dive into those treats, why not strive for more balance in your nutrition? I remind myself that it’s okay to indulge and enjoy some extra sugar while out at a holiday party, but I also want to treat my body well, so making sure I’m getting enough nutrients – the good stuff! – during the day becomes my focus. It helps me to be extra mindful the day of an event when I know I’ll eat a little more and make sure I’m starting the day with some greens, squeezing in protein when I can, and not enjoying the cookies too early!
Red wine and green smoothies – Christmas coordinated balance!
Another tip that helps me to not focus on the food is to focus on the people. I’m going to someone’s house or hosting an event myself with the purpose of connecting with others, not eating the treats. If I’m engaged in conversation with people and listening to them, I’m thinking less about the dessert table and more about those in front of me.
Most of our workout routines are going to change somewhat during this busy time of year. But, as I always say, remember how great you’ll feel after a workout, especially when it can help you make healthier food choices during the day and impact your self-esteem at all those events! Although some of us will cut back drastically on the amount we’re moving, I think we’d all agree that completely stopping takes away our hard work of the last few months and instils some bad habits. Instead, why not make it a commitment to balance your days out with some movement? If you’re not hitting up the gym and choosing to be with family instead, get your family to move! A day playing hockey, ice skating, or surfing (wherever you’re living!) is a great way to spend time together while still moving. Why not bundle up and go for a walk with one another and then come home to sit on the couch by the fire rather than stay inside all day?
If you plan to stick to your workouts, I’d encourage you to get them done in the mornings so you’re not fighting something I battle a lot: FOMO. Not familiar with the term? FOMO = “fear of missing out.” You don’t want to have to turn down a family outing because you’re getting your workout in! Remember your priorities and what’s the most important. If being with family and friends is, then it’s worth it to wake up early and MOVE. Better yet, why not cut down some of your time spent in the gym with high intensity strength training so you can focus on more time at home? Here’s a great workout you could do at home and a great go-to resource for the above mentioned workout style.
Remember, something is always better than nothing! You’ll feel better if you get some movement in, regardless if it’s up to your usual training standards.
Not getting enough sleep seems pretty normal to us around the holidays; we expect there will be late nights and days jam-packed with things to do that keep us running all day. But not getting enough sleep can turn us from this:
A big part of maintaining balance during this time is to try to get an adequate amount of sleep and stick with some type of sleep routine. It’s hard to do, but plan your activities during the day around how much sleep you anticipate you’ll be getting. If you know you’ll be up late one night, don’t plan a tough workout and full day of Christmas shopping the next day, but try to think ahead to how you can help your body recover best.
Enjoying the treats (in moderation!), spending time with loved ones, getting outside, finding time to run, being present with the people around me…these are all aspects of me enjoying my days more fully. Take time to think about what’s necessary for you to enjoy this season and find ways to balance your priorities to make it happen.
What does “enjoying the season” look like to you? This is a personal one that is going to vary from individual to individual, but I encourage you to think about what you need to do (or not do!) to best enjoy this time of year for you. I know for me a big part of enjoying this time is linked to my movement – I always feel better the rest of the day if I move in the morning, and I’m more fully able to enjoy my evenings out with people if I’ve moved. Therefore, movement becomes a priority. Taking time to reflect and be still is also a big key to my enjoyment; just like movement, I know my day goes 100% better if I’ve spent time reading the Bible and adoring God through prayer. For me to best enjoy my days, staying consistent with this habit is something I must do.
Prioritize. Eat (real foods! treats in moderation!). Move (more! when you can!). Sleep (get into a routine!). Enjoy (what helps you live out your days the happiest?). There are many great tips out there for how to achieve balance but remember it’s going to look different to you. Got any tips to add? Leave them in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you! Find what works with you and stick with it to live out your happiest, healthiest holiday season yet!
Live well & be well friends (and in balance!),