Be Healthy / Be Happy March Issue

Mindfulness: Finding Balance

We all seem to try our best with balancing our lives. We go days without woking out and then, because of guilt and a growing waist line, we hit the gym 6 days in a row straining our heart, muscles, tendons, etc. We drink alcohol and make bad food choices over the weekend while telling ourselves "I deserve it" and "Ill eat very well during the week". We work long hours while consuming a quick lunch that barely allows us to taste our food and are tempted with cakes, cookies, and other "treat yourself" snacks. Most of us have treated ourselves in such a manner. As you can see, what we think is balance isn't balance at all. Its more like waves of extremes that do not benefit us in the short or long term. Finding Balance is about keeping yourself in the middle of extremes. Compare it to being on a tight rope. Its very difficult for beginners to keep their balance. You can choose to get off the rope and stare at what could've been or you can rush through it and fall to your death. Finding Balance in the middle is simply facing the tight rope head on, keeping your focus, and moving at a decent pace while being aware of each breath. We invite everyone to look at their lives and see what needs balance. One soon realizes that balancing mind, body, and nutrition can eliminate bad habits, increase awareness, and leads to a happier, healthier and more mindful you. You're the only one who can decide what balance means for your life. Maintaining this balance is an ongoing challenge and will constantly evolve as your needs change throughout life.

Here are some ideas to help get you started with achieving balance in your life:

1. Think about what you need and want out of life. Set priorities and create a realistic action plan to reach your goals.

2. Improve your time management skills. Don't waste time on unimportant tasks. Spend your energy on activities that add meaning and value to your life.

3. Get rid of stress the natural way. Exercise, yoga, and meditation are excellent stress relievers that are easily incorporated into your daily routine.

4. Live in the present moment. Ask yourself what you need to feel happy today. Focus on staying in the present.

5. Don't worry about problems, solve them instead! There are opportunities hidden in even the most challenging situations.

6. Allow yourself time to relax. Read a book, meditate, catch up with an old friend - whatever eases the burden of daily life, integrate these activities into your daily routine.

Fitness

Considering that this newsletters focus is on balance, we thought it fitting to speak of balance in the literal sense. Balance though fitness is proven to be very beneficial for bikers, runners, and swimmers. Leila Harper, a Holistic Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach in Pasadena, California, discusses the physical benefits of a balanced posture and provides 7 exercises to improve balance that can be found below by clicking on the icon below.

Nutrition

Balancing Nutrition is not as easy as it sounds and most of us know this to be true. We hear so much about what to eat, what not to eat, food trends, healthy, fat, carbs, no soda, no snacks, "eat all you want and still lose weight", etc. It goes on and on and on! Its not surprising that we say "screw it" and eat what we want when we want. Its understandable. Mostly, this decision of essentially giving up is because of failed promises from quick fix food trends, minimal results, and the love of foods that taste "magically delicious", as a leprechaun from a cereal box might say, but hold no nutritional value. Whats the answer? Its simple. It REALLY IS SIMPLE. Eat well with discipline, knowledge, and self-control. Thats it. There are no secret fads, no gimmicks, no lies. It is about you. Do you have enough control to say no to cakes at work and large pizzas? (That was not meant to sound good). Think about what you are doing to your body. Think about the consequences. What does your future health mean to you? What does your internal and external health mean to you? This isn't meant to sound accusatory or to bestow guilt but simply to open ones eyes. Once you realize where you stand on the subject, then you can work from that perspective. Always remember that the choice is yours. Balancing nutrition IS easy. The difficult parts are the barriers we put up in our minds that keep us from eating well.

A Personal Story of Balance from one of our ED Nurses.

"I recently switched to the ED, and although I've been a RN for 5 years, I have never experienced the amount of stress as I have these past 6 months. It truly is functioning in chaos. I will be honest, the first couple months on my own I struggled. I was lost between crazy work shifts where the only chance you get to take a break is filled with stuffing your face with food for fear of not being able to eat again during your 12 hours, to sleeping literally 16 hours on my days off. I lost the balance that my life once had; where I was a functioning nurse, wife and dog mom who enjoyed outside activities and cooking delicious food.

I decided if I was going to make it in the ED, I needed to find my balance again. Also my husband politely told me I wasn't as pleasant to be around as of recent :) (can't lie- I was a hot mess)

One of the things I did, which I think is something all of us could try to do, is take 5 minutes (or longer if you're able) in the meditation room each shift. During my breaks now, I eat, then RUN into the meditation room for as long as I am able. I turn the lights down, use the foot massager and let my mind go. Sometimes I play my headspace app, which is a guided meditation, other times I play music rap and let it out. Either way, those few minutes where I am away from all the beeping, call lights, people asking questions, or any distraction for that matter, brings me back into balance. I find that I am a better nurse, co-worker, and am happier with myself.

If you find yourself unsure of going to the meditation room, just DO IT. All you can do is try, and trust me, some time away from the chaos that is our job, is well worth your time.

Some other practices I put into my life to regain my balance were: increasing my yoga to 5-6 days per week, buying a ninja nutra bullet and drinking a 40 oz green smoothie the size of my arm each morning, allowing myself to sleep without restrictions (ie no alarm if possible& locking my dog out of the room), getting outside everyday regardless of weather, and increasing my TREAT YOURSELF days (confused? google parks and rec).

Basically, whatever you're into, try doing it even just a little bit more. Giving yourself more you time or time where your focus is on something you WANT to focus on, will put your life back into balance. Besides, YOU deserve it."

Quote

"Balance is not something you find, its something you create." - Jana Kindsford

Credits:

Created with images by kathryn_rotondo - "clover card" • Christopher A. Dominic - "Balance" • Pexels - "balance beach ocean" • Airsoftpal.com - "Health & Fitness" • US Army Africa - "MEDCAP - Natural Fire 10 - Palabek Kal Health Clinic - US Army Africa - AFRICOM - 091018-F-8314S-108" • AntheaAtlas - "Balance"

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