The phrase “balanced lifestyle” has taken different meanings over the years. More often than not, it’s thought to refer to juggling professional and personal lives. In the era of working from home, the line between the two has been as blurry as ever. But it’s not just about working a fixed number of hours every week or taking a self-care day. It should also be about a balance between indulgence and progress. People should not lose sight of the goal which is to put one’s well-being first. And it’s only possible if there’s an equal share between rest, work, and enjoyment
To help you lead a healthier lifestyle, here’s what you should do and what you should avoid:
1. Don’t Go Overboard
“Work hard, play hard” has become a popular phrase throughout the years. People have interpreted it as a way of life. You can get wasted as much as you want as long as you work for it. But it’s not exactly the healthiest habit to have. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy drinking is linked with liver disease, certain cancers and infectious diseases. If you’re a woman and you find yourself drinking more than seven drinks a week, it might be a sign for help. It’s best to consult a doctor and explore options such as an alcohol detox.
To curb your consumption, get your friends to help you. Tell them to cut you off when you’ve had your limit. If it’s becoming more difficult for you, you can also ask them to avoid drinking in front of you. Cravings can be hard to ignore but a friend’s help can go a long way.
2. Do Create Routines
When making a lifestyle change, the hardest part is always the beginning. You find yourself reverting to your old ways like eating unhealthy take-outs or avoiding physical exercise. But everything becomes easier once you’re used to them.
Before you get too ambitious, remember to always start small and subtle. If you go for a big change right from the get-go, you might not like it and go back to your old habits. For example, you don’t have enough time after work to make your own food, you can still get a meal to go. But instead of going for a chicken sandwich, get a chicken burrito bowl instead. It contains more nutritious ingredients but with less sodium and cholesterol.
3. Don’t Go Through It Alone
Arguably the most challenging part about forming new habits is make them stick. It’s all too common for people to start new diets or gym memberships. But after a few weeks, it’s all easily forgotten.
If you get a craving for something bad for you, it’s so easy to give in. If you have a lazy day that throws off your schedule, it can trigger you to start going back to your old ways.
On the bright side, there’s a way to make these new changes easier on you. You can convince your friends to make similar changes to their lifestyles. With a friend, you don’t have to feel as shy or as self-conscious when you’re going through your first Pilates or cycling class. Plus, it’s not just a way to strengthen your friendship. Studies have proven that friends who exercise together are more committed. Workout buddies are more likely to finish programs, and they exercise harder. You might feel exhausted but at least you’ll have each other. There’s a reason why misery loves company.
4. Do Celebrate Your Progress
Celebrations are typically reserved for milestones like double digit weight losses or years of sobriety. But adopting this kind of mentality can be daunting. Instead of focusing on improvements, you might be too hard on yourself and disregard your achievements. But who says you can only celebrate big events? Small wins count, too. In fact, even the Harvard Business Review agrees. The goal should always be to make progress, no matter how the size.
Set up achievable objectives. They can guide you towards your main goal and give you motivation to continue. Write them down and cross out each one you achieve. Tangible notes serve as great reminders.
There’s no shame to making lifestyle changes for your well-being. Your age, weight, or problem doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re making the effort to improve yourself and even encouraging others to do the same.