| Jeanette Chen | April 14, 2017 |
This blog post was sponsored by MegaFood as part of my participation in their Ambassador program and was originally published on JeanettesHealthyLiving.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In this post, I identify 8 elements of a Healthy Well Balanced Life. Each element contributes to a healthy self. Helping others is a critical element which, when combined with all the rest of the elements, leads to a meaningful and purposeful life.
Throughout my adult years, I have tried to seek a well-balanced life. However, my definition of a well-balanced life has evolved over time. As a full-time working executive and mom, a well-balanced life simply meant work-life balance – balancing the time I spent at work so I had enough time at home with my family. Once I took the leap to stay home with my kids full-time, I juggled taking care of my kids, my in-laws who lived with us, and filled in my “extra” time cooking for friends with cancer. The line between work and home dissolved, and I actually had less balance in my life because I was giving 100% of myself to everyone else, and had none left for me. I eventually burned out.
I now know that a well-balanced life is multi-dimensional. At the core of a well-balanced life is a healthy self – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If we ourselves are healthy, then we are better able to improve the lives of others, which in turn makes our lives even better.
Elements of a Healthy Well Balanced Life
Here are 8 Elements that help me live a Healthy Well-Balanced Life, including how I try to put each one into practice in my daily life:
- Positive Mindset – My 90-year old aunt has a saying, “Play while you work and work while you play.” All her life, she has looked at problems as opportunities to have fun and solve problems. This positive attitude has played a huge part in her healthy outlook on life. For me, this blog is my “play-work” space. Coming up with recipes, cooking, sharing healthy living tips, and sharing about my faith are all things I enjoy, so it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t write about topics that don’t interest me. I want to keep work fun.
- Meaningful Relationships – Spending quality time with family and friends and connecting with them on a deeper level has made my relationships so much richer and meaningful. The most fulfilling relationships are those where we can be open and honest with each other, and supportive rather than judgmental.
- Stress Reduction – This is an area I am still working on, but I am slowly making progress. I’m a worrier by nature, which leads to anxiety because I want to know the answers to long-term problems today. My husband always reminds me “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34). So, I am trying to focus on the present, and not get ahead of myself when I am faced with a challenge.
- Eating Healthy – For me, eating healthy means a couple of things. First, it means including a wide variety of vegetables and fruits in my diet, as well as eating more whole grains. Second, it means keeping food proportions on my plate in check (50% non-starchy vegetables; 25% starchy vegetables or whole grains, 25% lean protein). And third, it means preparing foods in a healthy manner (e.g., stir-frying, steaming, roasting). To ensure I’m getting all the daily nutrients my body needs, I fill in the gap with MegaFood's Multi for Women 40+.
- Regular Exercise – I’m not an athletic person by nature, but I do enjoy walking outdoors in nature and exercise videos. I’ve learned that yoga and tennis aren’t for me and that’s ok. Finding what you enjoy is the most important thing because you’ll actually do it.
Getting Enough Sleep – Although I’m a night owl, I have been more vigilant about targeting 7-8 hours of sleep a night the past several months. Getting enough sleep makes a huge difference in my energy level the next morning.
- Quiet Time – Carving out 30-60 minutes of quiet time each morning is helpful in setting the tone and my mood for the day. Quiet time counts as “me time” so it’s an automatic way of ensuring I take care of my needs at the start of the day. My tank is filled up so I have the mental energy to get done what is most important that day. I use my quiet time reading inspirational devotions and doing Bible study homework.
- Helping Others – I believe this is a big part of living a healthy well-balanced life. Did you know that we’re actually hard-wired to give? Our brains churn out a pleasurable response when we engage in giving. -1 From personal experience, helping other people has played a huge role in keeping my life in balance. Why? Because it helps keep life in perspective – what’s really important versus what’s urgent, what is necessary versus extraneous. Whether it’s taking care of my 90-year old aunt, cooking for someone with cancer, donating clothes to people in need, or just picking up the phone to let someone know I care, I’ve learned that even little things can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. It’s the loving thought behind the act that counts.