‘You just have to find the right balance’.
In the past, this sentence would make me throw-up a little inside.
I couldn’t stand people who acted like they had figured it all out and that would throw around comments like that. That wasn’t even the worst part, they would go on explaining how their balanced day-in-the-life-of looks like. ‘In the mornings, I do my stretching and morning meditation. Then I do some yoga and eat a healthy breakfast. I will bring my healthy meals with me and make sure I’m prepared at all times. Taking time to myself is essential. Working out is a huge part of my day-to-day life’.
I now know why this made me so uncomfortable. I was jealous.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not like I was sitting on the couch eating chips all day. I’ve always been an active person: playing field hockey, tennis, running, dancing. So that wasn’t my challenge. It was about the unhealthy habits that creeped into my life when I wasn’t paying attention. Alcohol consumption. Not eating the right foods for my body. Not taking enough rest. Not listening to my intuition.
In spring 2016, just a year after passing my University degree, I was fed up feeling ‘blah’. I didn’t want to settle for just feeling ‘OK’ anymore. I wanted more clarity, more structure, less anxiety. I wanted to feel alive again.
Great. There was just one little problem:
Where to start?
Before I answer that question, I have to make a confession. I turned into ‘one of them’. One of those people who loves to talk about meditation, food, exercise, listening to your intuition, manifesting your dream life, living a balanced life (the list goes on).
It took me several years to figure out my ‘new normal’. What works for me, what makes me happy. To be honest, it wasn’t one thing. There isn’t a checklist of all the things you need to do in order to create your new normal. Plus, different things work for different people. But I understand this is a rather unsatisfying answer. So I’ll share some of the things that worked for me.
It’s basically a work-out for your brain. There’s not a right or wrong way to meditate. You can meditate during your commute to work, on your couch, in bed, in your office, anywhere. Sit (or lay down), turn off your devices and put in some earplugs if you’re not in a quiet space. Try to listen to your thoughts. If you get distracted, try again. And again. And yet again. Try to listen to your thoughts without judging them. Need any guidance? Youtube ‘guided meditation’ or install a meditation app. Even 5 minutes a day will make a huge difference.
2) Working out
Again, there’s no right or wrong way. I would recommend doing something you love. It’s not fun to work out just for the sake of working out (if you ask me). Go for a walk, dance in your living room, try a new class, go to the pool, ask your friend to go for a run. Whatever gets your blood pumping and your dopamine up puts you in a better mood.
3) Healthy food
You are what you eat. Food is literally what gets your going. So doesn’t it make sense we eat food that’s nutritious, filling and good for our bodies? I eat mostly plant-based which means: grains (rice, beans, pasta), produce (fruits and vegetables). Start experimenting what feels good to you.
4) Follow your intuition
Our intuition is much more powerful than we might think. If you start listening to it, it will provide you all kinds of answers. I’ve noticed that meditation (and yoga) play a big role in this part of my life. If I quiet the noise, my intuition is on point.
Although this might seem ridiculously easy, it’s about keeping up your new habits. It’s about creating new routines in your life that will contribute to the most awesome version of yourself. So get out there, start experimenting and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Love + Peace + Dolphins,