Can I balance for 10 seconds on each leg with my eyes closed? Sure, but it has taken me years to find balance in life.
With over 30 years in the fitness industry, I’ve discovered a sense of balance in my own life. It’s ironic, considering I’ve spent all this time preaching about achieving balance to my participants. But the truth is, I lacked credibility because my own life was consumed by work. I was constantly running around, trying to be the epitome of the perfect fitness guru.
Finding enjoyment in past pleasures
So, what caused this shift for me? It all started with a simple bike ride in Finland in May 2012. I can vividly recall the sensation of the crisp air against my face and the refreshing feeling of breathing in the natural freshness. But, it made me question why I had abandoned biking. It had been years since I had last enjoyed it. I gave up biking because I felt the need to cram more activities into my day, and driving seemed more practical then.
Some of you may remember that making biking a part of my routine became my New Year’s resolution ten years ago. And the result? My schedule gradually slowed down. I rediscovered the joy of being outdoors, immersing myself in the surrounding environment. It gave me a valuable opportunity for introspection, giving me time to think and appreciate the moment for personal enjoyment.
In 2014, a thought popped into my head just four days after New Year’s. While functional training is excellent, I wanted to prove its effectiveness. So I decided to create a vegetable garden with my friend Carla. Armed with a hoe, a tool I had never used before, Carla and I dug up my backyard. The garden was more extensive than initially planned, but the work was enjoyable. Surprisingly, all the functional training I had been doing paid off—I wasn’t sore and had the energy to keep going. We planted various vegetables and plants, and they all thrived beautifully. I spent more time in my backyard than I had in the 15 years previously. The repetitive actions and the necessity to slow down (after all, you can’t rush plants to grow faster or exert more energy) had proven to be meditative and relaxing.
Balance—such a peculiar concept. It’s only gained prominence over the past five decades or so. I can’t recall my parents ever discussing the importance of work-life balance. Instead, there seemed to be an unspoken understanding that downtime was integral to life.
Physical activities like biking and gardening slow me down. I never anticipated finding excitement in standing in my backyard, carefully watering my plants, and observing their growth. It’s all about embracing the slow pace, which brings peace, relaxation, and appreciation for the present moment.
So, what’s the balance like in your life? Do you have activities that counterbalance the fast-paced aspects? What brings you a sense of slowness?
Remember, finding a work-life balance and incorporating moments of slowness and grounding into your routine is crucial for reducing stress and nurturing your overall well-being.
Journaling and meditation
These days, as my business revolves around my home space, I have discovered the importance of carving out time for myself. Amidst the daily hustle and bustle, I prioritise engaging in activities that promote self-reflection and inner calm. Journaling and meditation have become invaluable tools in my journey towards achieving a work-life balance and reducing stress.
In the quiet moments of the day, I retreat to a tranquil room of my home, armed with a journal and a pen. I pour my thoughts, hopes, and dreams onto the pages there. Journaling allows me to unload the mental clutter, gain clarity, and gain insights into my emotions and aspirations. It serves as a personal sanctuary where I can express myself freely and without judgment.
Additionally, meditation has become a non-negotiable part of my routine. I set aside dedicated time each day to sit in stillness, allowing my mind and body to find tranquillity. By focusing on my breath and observing my thoughts without attachment, I bring myself into a parasympathetic state—the rest-and-digest mode of the nervous system. In this state, stress dissipates, and a sense of calm washes over me.
These moments of journaling and meditation are not only acts of self-care but also acts of grounding. They bring me back to the present moment, fostering a deeper connection with myself and the world around me. It is during these tranquil pauses that I recharge. It replenishes my energy, enabling me to approach work and life with renewed vigour and clarity.
Find the time to slow down
I encourage you to find a quiet space to immerse yourself in these practices, even if it’s just a corner of your home. Give yourself permission to slow down, reflect, and find inner peace. In doing so, you will discover a newfound sense of balance, a respite from the outside world’s demands, and a profound connection with your well-being.
Remember, work-life balance extends beyond mere physical activities. It encompasses nurturing mental and emotional health by creating space for self-discovery and introspection and cultivating a peaceful mind.