The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.
It’s a funny thing – balance, isn’t it? You always think you’ve got it. I mean, it’s such a simple word to lose control of but yet, it’s so easily done without realising. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert when it comes to balance. Heck, I’ve even lost myself a few times.
When I started a healthier lifestyle, my personality and attitude completely changed for the better. Slowly, I drifted into the consciousness of somebody I never thought I would be. I became driven, I became healthier and I found a passion for fitness that I never knew existed. However, along the way I lost a bit of myself as I overdosed on fitness, my blog and work.
You see, it was quite easy for everything to blur together for me. I woke up, I worked out, I went to university, I worked hard for my degree, I came home, continued to work, focused on my blog and then I went to bed. For a while, that was my life. Everything felt like work. Work, work, work. Was I aware then what was happening? No and because of that, it took me a great while to re-gain focus on the most important thing – life.
I’ll admit (as much as I hate it) I was stuck living a life that was so utterly and completely unbalanced for almost two years. I lost friends, I lost a social life, I became too obsessed with fitness (I guess that’s all I had?) and I drowned myself in work. All of that for two years? Yeah, pretty bad I’d say.
It wasn’t until I finished University for good (June 2016) when I finally realised how deep I was. With the weight of excessive university work off my shoulders I finally found some free time to focus on just me. It was there and then I felt how unbalanced my life was.
You could say I was 50% fitness, 40% work and 10% social. When I say 50% fitness – I don’t mean that I physically worked out for half of my day. Damn, I wasn’t that bad. What I mean is, it slightly took over my life. I was avoiding eating out with the fear that i’d ruin my progress of eating healthy all week. I was working out 30 days in a row – determined not to have a rest day. I was missing nights out with my friends because I feared alcohol and the effect it had on me. I was missing out on life.
So there it was. I had finally, two years later, noticed that I had lost my balance in life.
I won’t lie and say that it was easy. To change, that is, because it’s not easy. I found it incredibly tough to make even the smallest of changes at first. Mostly, it was hard cutting back on the fitness mentality of it all. It was hard to start saying yes to evenings out again and it was hard to learn to say ‘no’ to a day of training when I knew that really, my body needed the rest. The work side of it was difficult too. It was hard to give up three blog posts a week to two. It was hard going from university to having a full-time job and it was hard to resist the urge of answering every single email as soon as it came in.
It was hard but I did it.
Now, a year on from graduation, I can finally say that my life is a lot more balanced. Sure, I feel myself slipping again at times but we need to remind ourselves that we are only human. It’s hard to juggle but we need to learn. We need to live a life full of friends, family, happiness, work, sleep, amazing food and nights out. We can be silly and we can be professional. We need to eat our greens but also stuff our face with pizza. We need a balanced life where we can enjoy everything that life entails.
So how did I do it? How did I quit an unbalanced lifestyle and re-gain focus?
Address the problem
First and foremost you need to figure out the problem. Are you working out too much? Are you avoiding social situations in fear of eating out? Are you getting enough sleep? Some believe that the answer to balancing out your problems are to do the complete opposite. However, I don’t think this approach is entirely helpful. If you’re working out too much then the answer for you would be to do less workouts – not to stop completely. A body that works too much will break down if it’s not balanced the correct way. Take small steps and work your way up from there.
Welcome the uncomfortable
A friend once told me, “The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself” and she was right. In order to change something so usual and comfortable within your life, you need to get uncomfortable. As much as the idea of getting uncomfortable scared me, it also thrilled me. I know from experience that I almost always grow from experiences, activities and emotions that made me feel uncomfortable. You learn from it, you work from it and you grow from it. For me, every single change that I had to make to gain balance again in my life was uncomfortable but did it work? Hell yeah.
To keep your balance you must keep moving
When you find yourself making these slow, yet improved changes you’ll find that you must too, change with it. You will need to adjust to the situation and make your life work with it. Let’s say you decide to change your attitude to fitness. Fitness needs to be a part of your life – not your life, right? So you start saying yes to more social events and no to working out if you don’t have the time. With this, you’ll find that you’ll probably need to change your lifestyle up a little and keep it moving. Arrange more social dates, take the time for brunch with your mum and say no to the things that don’t fully impact you anymore. Do this and keep it up!