As we finally pick up where we left off, we could naturally be tempted to go full steam ahead once again. But is it possible (and probably a good idea) to create some balance in our lives?
Life has been extreme for some time. Pre-pandemic, we couldn’t keep up. Then the brakes brought us to a sudden standstill. And kept us there. We got the message that we needed to slow down. We even embraced it. At first. But then we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. As we finally pick up where we left off, we could naturally be tempted to go full steam ahead once again. But is it possible (and probably a good idea) to create some balance in our lives?
I see a brilliant natural therapist who practises kinesiology, which cleverly uses muscle testing to detect any imbalances within the body. She has helped me understand the connection between our physical and emotional health. The choices we make and our life experiences affect how we feel each day. The only way we’re going to feel truly balanced is if they’re both in sync. It’ll come as no surprise that diet, exercise, sleep and stress are the keywords here. The past year has put each one under immense pressure, and it’s going to take time to get back on track. But it doesn’t have to be a chore. Your world can be exciting, fun, adventurous, fulfilling and healthy. The secret? Living an 80/20 life.
The concept speaks for itself. Spend 80% of your time doing the ‘right’ thing, and give yourself a 20% break. Cake, caffeine, pizza or prosecco. Out until the early hours (finally) or at home binge-watching Netflix (still appealing). Whatever tempts you to the other side, rule it out completely and you’ll want it more. Allow yourself some well-deserved doses of the things you love. Just remember the balance.
The 80/20 approach offers sustainability and longevity. You make it work for you. Follow your values and beliefs in how you want to live your life, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Things have been very tough on us all. We’ve had a lifetime’s worth of restrictions.
The lockdown luxuries may have become a daily habit (seriously, it was the only excitement), but a crash diet or extreme exercise routine isn’t (in my opinion) the answer. We’re all guilty of making unrealistic promises to ourselves. Clever and persistent marketing doesn’t make it easy. Even in the short term, highly restrictive regimes can be hard to stick to. We crave what we can’t have and give in. This can lead to endless dissatisfaction as we constantly search for that person we want to be.
We’re all different. I’m not that bothered about cake. But if chips became the next superfood, I would be in heaven. Choose your rewards wisely. Put your 20% to good use.
We’re finally being let loose, and we have a lot of catching up to do. But unless you have enviable willpower, you won’t be able to stick to this way of life by booking five nights out a week. Who do you really want to see? Where do you really want to go?
Life fills us with guilt. We let go, then we beat ourselves up. If you lead a healthy lifestyle most of the time (and you don’t have specific health issues that require a rigid diet), those rewards are OK. And keep you sane.
Establishing a balance might take time. Your stress levels may still be higher than usual. You can’t remember when you last had a good night’s sleep. Take everything one step at a time. Your diet is a good place to start. Simple changes, such as more water or less sugar, can make the world of difference. You will have the energy to enjoy exercise, which could help you sleep better and manage your stress. Once you find the balance, you’ll feel the benefits and it’ll be easier to maintain.
If the balance tips, it’s not the end of the world. Start the next day with a positive mindset and reset. This isn’t a quick fix, it’s a way of life.
If you, like many, have been re-evaluating how you want to live your life, look at how the 80/20 lifestyle could work for you. We will continue to face extremes as we navigate our way through our own challenges.
Just remember how to find your way back to the right path – living well and enjoying life. Without the guilt.
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