The blog is back.
Tell a friend.
Okay, that’s enough…
All right, once again taking a step further back from the detail last week, I’m adding in a couple of categories and starting to illustrate that this is intended to be used daily and weekly.
Mind, Body, Soul
Because feeling our best is about balance, I have found that it’s important to do something for my mind, body, and soul each day. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or cost anything, but I’ve found this to be the BEST way to stay balanced and address things from a foundational perspective.
Now again, we may have days that are more heavily weighted toward draining or energizing so this isn’t about *perfect* balance, but if we can try to do *one* small thing for these 3 parts of ourselves every day, we can guarantee we will never have a day where we’ve completely neglected ourselves. Because I know that’s never our intention; it’s so easy to just… happen if we aren’t making that small, but concerted effort each day.
Let’s do a little summary for each, and then some examples of what works for me to help illustrate how you may be able to find your preferences in each of these 3 areas:
Soul / Emotional
When we feel like crap and we want to make change, we often immediately default to things related to our physical body without giving much thought to the root of why we aren’t already doing it, our barriers and their potential solutions, or what we are truly looking to get out of feeling better. These things don’t just… happen. The best way to make any balanced, lasting change is to start internally and work our way outward. We cannot properly honor our physical bodies if we haven’t done/aren’t also doing the emotional work. This is when it’s so easy to enter a toxic mindset of chasing physical goals disguised as “health” at all costs.
We have to understand why we may hold resentment over certain things related to physical activity, the origins our of triggers because coping often impacts our physical health – for better or worse, and how to talk to ourselves with kindness, compassion, and in a way that elevates us to new levels of self-love and understanding.
Most of us will have initial foundational work to do if this is all new to us, but once that’s done, the work doesn’t ever end. Why? Because… our emotions never end. The goal is to get better at addressing them, better handling our triggers, and better at using productive methods to cope.
My favorite ways to prioritize this facet of my wellbeing:
- Time in nature (preferably with a camera in hand)
- Listen to uplifting music/frequencies
- Address triggers / resolve issues
- Comfort shows & foods
- Journaling and positive self-talk/affirmations
Body / Physical
Most of us would say that exercising and eating more nutritiously pose the greatest challenges in making lasting change, which is why it’s so important to start by focusing on emotional needs and wellbeing. We must know where our true motivation lies, ways to deal with the inevitable discomfort of change, and what we truly enjoy in order to be consistent in treat our physical body with respect. Not to obsess with the way we look, but because it is necessary if we want to feel our best in the short and long-term. It’s sort of like hating a system, but knowing you need to find a way to work it to make it work for you, you know?
Last, prioritizing our body’s needs also means rest and recovery; it means sleep. When I say we need to do something for our body every single day, I’m not saying to go do an intense workout every day. There will be days where the thing you do for your body is lay on the couch and binge a series or give yourself that extra 30 minutes of sleep when you can sneak it in.
Some examples of the things I do for my body:
- Eating nutritious foods
- Prioritizing *enjoyable* structured exercise
- Guilt-free rest and recovery
Mind / Intellectual
It can be easy to fall into routines, even intellectually. But we *need* mental stimulation. We need to ask questions and get answers; explore things; learn and grow. Sure, these are great for diversifying our perspectives, but learning literally slows cognitive decline. And the brain is where it all starts, so we’ve got to care for that, too!
Some examples that work for me:
- Watching documentaries
- Researching for work
- Researching for fun – I hate an unanswered question
- Seek diverse perspectives and sound information
Stemming off the physical aspect of health, we need to address movement as its own category because of its sheer importance in our lives.
Studies routinely show physical fitness to be a key indicator in both long-term health and quality of life. This is not the same as weight! Physical fitness is about muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, balance, stability, mobility, and coordination. So, the tough reality is that we *do* need to incorporate intentional physical activity into our lives, but the *good news* is that it doesn’t have to look like what we’re being sold.
The only hard and fast rule is that we need 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense activity each week; that’s it! I did an entire post about how to define moderate activity and identify things we routinely do – and things we enjoy – that “count” toward what we need.
With that in mind, I wanted to create a way to incrementally track the amount of physical activity we do each week. Since there are plenty of things we already routinely do that check off some boxes, why not make it easy to recognize? And why not create an area that isn’t just about “workouts,” right? If I go wash my car, you better believe that’s at least moderate activity. Why shouldn’t I count that and allow myself to feel good about it?! Well, I should, and so should you.
Now look, if we have specific fitness goals, we’ll have to do specific physical activity to achieve those goals – and safely, please! If I want to be able to run a half marathon, I can’t run around with my kids for 150 minutes per week in preparation; I must prepare with specificity. So, if I want to improve mobility, I need to do things for that; same goes for cardiorespiratory health, etc. Because it can feel overwhelming, this is where it may be helpful to rope in a personal trainer to at least help you get started with an appropriate plan of action that is safe and works for you.
Finding Balance with the Bigger Picture
Let’s talk a little about the full worksheet itself now that the pieces have been dissected. The idea here is to have a larger view of how our days/week are balanced, and allow us to make adjustments on the fly. We have an area to list our current stressors so that we can see, at a glance, how much self-care and stress-care we may need to counter those stressors. We also have areas now to ensure we’re doing at least one small thing for our mind, body, and soul each day, which should prevent us from ending up in a cycle of putting ourselves last and give us small bursts of energy throughout the day.
The beauty of this is that there should be a decent amount of overlap, which is why the bigger picture is so beneficial, but how you list things is totally up to you. I think I’m going to do a post later this week or early next week showing a couple examples of how this could be filled out. But like anything, I want you to make it your own as much as possible.
Next week… the final version of the weekly sheet!
I’m also going to talk more about when too much of a good thing turns bad… it may be in the blog next week or by itself sometime between now and then.