We talk about work-life balance as if it’s something you can figure out, achieve and then permanently check off your to-do list. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. For years, I had it all under control, despite a growing family and a demanding career.
Rebalancing Act: Fallen off the Wellness Wagon? Here’s How to Get Back on Board
We talk about work-life balance as if it’s something you can figure out, achieve and then permanently check off your to-do list. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. For years, I had it all under control, despite a growing family and a demanding career. I practiced what I preached: I ate healthy meals, I exercised regularly.
Then, 2.5 years ago, I moved to Washington DC from Toronto and everything went haywire. As an entrepreneur trying to build my business, I pushed myself hard to succeed and ignored the very message I was imparting to my clients. As my business got healthier, I got unhealthier, falling into the trap of mindless eating, disordered sleep, extensive travel and chaining myself to my desk for hours at a time, all while juggling a busy family and a new marriage.
Over the course of two years, I gained 15 pounds — a lot for my tiny frame — and my blood glucose skyrocketed, putting me in the pre-diabetic category of health. So I applied my training as a behavioral scientist specializing in exercise and health to my own life. I became my own client!
I developed the Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe approach to finding balance. Ultimately, you need all four of these aspects to have a truly balanced life. But the beauty is that you don’t have to do all of them at once. You make one change at a time and keep building in increments.
First, I tackled by my eating habits (3 meals a day; reducing my simple carbs and increasing my protein intake). Then I adjusted my sleep – in bed early, up early. I also aimed to I stand about four hours a day at my desk at work and incorporate micro-breaks and I’ve take up yoga, meditation and dance to manage my stress.
Over time, those changes made a huge difference. I lost 8 pounds and I’m still moving forward. But the real story is how much better and in control I feel.
As you embark on a new year, its time to put yourself first and take care of yourself. Can you add one more serving of vegetables, one more glass of water each day, or one less alcoholic drink per week? Can you commit to getting 30 more minutes of sleep a night? Can you pick one exercise activity to “fit” into your busy workday? Just choose something and give it a try. Once you’ve incorporated it into your life, add another.
What I learned from this experience is that we can’t ignore our bad health habits — they will catch up with us. But the fix doesn’t have to be daunting: Realistic goals and forgiveness for your slip-ups are key to long-term success. We can rebalance our lives, one step or byte at a time.
My Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe approach is available in a live presentation. Learn about this and other wellness talks on our Wellness Talks page.
- Flex Your Mindfulness Muscles: A Practice to help you cope, focus and stay calm April 23, 2017
- Walk the Talk on a Treadmill Desk March 15, 2017
- I Love Interval Training February 11, 2017
- Rebalancing Act: Fallen off the Wellness Wagon? Here’s How to Get Back on Board January 14, 2017
- Giving Depression the Runaround December 12, 2016