As a Health Coach I help my clients find balance in food, fitness and fun, to live their ideal life. However, it’s unrealistic to expect this balance to be static year round. Your focus will shift throughout your year and there will be transition times in your life where you’ll reevaluate what your balance is. I find it helpful to recognize these times and to get comfortable when your balance is shifted.
Know Your Ebbs, Know Your Flows
Everyone has different annual ebbs and flows, so I’ll give you an example of a clear pattern I noticed in my mom’s year. My mom taught kindergarten, and while each year was a different class, her ebb and flow was generally the same. Her August through October balance was drastically different from her May through July balance.
August through October she was happy to get to the gym 1-2 times a week, and was typically not home until past 6pm. Orienting kids, talking to new parents and getting her classroom set up and running smoothly took up the majority of her time and focus. The gym and cooking dinner were on the back-burner for these months. By November things would begin to shift. Her class was running smoothly and she had time to resume her preferred number of gym dates and cooking on weeknights wasn’t impossible. By May her school year was starting to wrap up and during June and July she had less, and soon no time, in the classroom, and her workouts were no longer crunched into certain timeframes.
The key here, is that she expected it. During early September there would be full weeks that she wouldn’t see the gym, and while she wasn’t thrilled about it; she knew this time would pass. She didn’t throw up her hands and say, “I used to be so good, now I never workout!” (or at least I didn’t see this happen!). She didn’t think she’d be eating take-out the rest of her life, she’d be back to cooking more often in a few weeks.
Apply these ebbs and flows to your own life. If you’re an accountant, you probably won’t be training for a marathon in April. At the same time, you know that May is a month to regain your preferred balance. This is your time to focus on yourself and shift your focal point of work to self-care. Also keep in mind there are atypical transition points in your life. Moving, having a baby, getting married, starting a new job; these are all times your life balance will shift, and thats OK!
Find Balance in Imbalance
Recognizing your ebbs and flows is the first step in getting comfortable in the times you feel imbalanced and out of whack. Keep in mind that no one day or even one month defines you. A lifestyle is the sum of all those months and years together. It’s what you settle back into after your ebb, the routine you go back to after a time of transition. Think of your crazy-work-centered month as the balance to your relaxed-gym-and-home-cooking-month. I touched on this concept in my post Have Your Vacation and Be Fit, Too. I got my exercise by hiking on the Prince’s Islands in Istanbul, and ate out at restaurants every night. This was my ebb. A dream of an ebb, but an ebb nonetheless, from my normal 5 days of running, 3 days of weights, cooking each night, flow. Those wonderful two weeks of vacation focus, balanced out my marathon training fitness focus.
Trying to maintain complete balance day in and day out can make you crazy. At times it will seem too much to juggle, and at others it will come together effortlessly. Taking stock of your annual fluctuations and getting comfortable in your times of extremes will help you through those times you feel imbalanced.
Here is a cartoon I think says it all, and I completely relate to!
Discovering your ebbs and flows may not be hard, however getting comfortable and having a plan for your extremes is not always easy. If you’d like guidance in finding your balance, shoot me an email and let’s talk!