5 Simple Habit Shifts to Bring Balance to a Hectic Life
"Self love is asking yourself what you need - everyday - and then making sure you receive it." - Unknown
Is it just me or does it sometimes feel like there is a constant flood of things making life feel a little hectic? Whether it's social media, work, or trying to keep the house somewhat livable, there are always distractions pulling me away from focusing on the people and things I care most about. On top of it all, somewhere in the mix I'm somehow supposed to make time to practice self-care.
~ sigh ~
The thought of taking time to focus on just myself does not fill me with excitement or a feeling of "ah yes, finally some me time." I'm too neurotic. Instead, I only think about the laundry list of things I need to get done or the infamous mom guilt I'd suffer from not spending time with my son. However, the reality is self-care is crucial to bringing balance to a hectic life.
When we take time to care for ourselves, it frees us up to...
- Pursue a passion
- Be more present to our family (instead of in zombie mode)
- Improve our health
- Make plans for our future
- Practice gratitude
- Feel contentment
Just the other day, I was talking to a good friend of mine about how hard it is to find moments for self-care when life feels chaotic. She's a single mom who works full-time, whereas I'm a stay-at-home mom who chases after an energetic toddler all day. Even though our day to day realities are different, we still feel the same need for balance.
If you're reading this, I'm sure you do too.
In an effort to find an answer to the question: "how do I make time for myself when I'm so busy all day?" I scoured the library, read news articles, and of course browsed Pinterest (because what can't you find on that site??) for some helpful tips and tricks on finding the elusive "happy place" amidst the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
What I discovered were a few habit shifts for reducing stress, fostering closeness with family, and generating creativity. I've only been practicing these tips for about a week, and I've definitely skipped a couple on occasion, but for the most part I've found it really helpful. I've noticed I fall asleep easier at night (and stay asleep too!), have more patience with my son and husband, and feel more optimistic about the day. You can't beat that!
With all this in mind, I'd like to share with you 5 simple habit shifts to help bring a little balance back to your hectic life. I hope at least a couple of these pointers, if not all, can provide you with the self-care you need and deserve.
Pin for later...
1. ONLY CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA TWICE A DAY - MORNING AND EVENING.
Reducing my social media intake has been a game-changer in my overall mood and relationship with my family. I didn't realize how much time I was devoting to checking Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, until I tried going a majority of the day without looking at my feeds. Setting this boundary freed me up to focus on the things that really matter most to me - family, gardening, yoga, and baking.
2. SPEND 5 MINUTES PRACTICING MINDFULNESS.
Whenever your most stressed out time of day is, that is when you should practice mindfulness. For me, I'll either step outside or excuse myself to the bathroom (I know that sounds weird, but stick with me!) and set a timer on my phone. I spend 5 minutes breathing deeply and slowly, while pushing whatever is most stressful in that moment out of my thoughts. It's a time and space to be free from worry. Whether you stay home raising little people or work full-time at an office, practicing mindfulness will help you regain composure and focus to tackle whatever stresses you may be facing.
3. PLAN TO EAT AT LEAST ONE HEALTHY MEAL OR SNACK A DAY.
I struggle A LOT with eating regular meals. Some days dinner time will come and I realize all I've eaten was toast and coffee for breakfast. Trying to eat a healthy meal or snack each day should not be thought of as a diet reform, but rather a diet addition. It can be as simple as eating fruit and yogurt in addition to the bag of chips or chocolate munched on throughout the day. Eventually it will become a habit, you'll stop craving the "bad stuff," feel a little bit more balanced, and then you might add one more healthy meal or snack a day. I'm still working on this habit shift, but I'm happy to report I drink less coffee and eat more salad greens now.
4. WRITE DOWN 1 OR 2 THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR BEFORE BED.
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can reduce stress and provide a greater sense of calm at night. My husband and I aren't great at keeping journals, so we've started practicing gratitude by saying out loud our favorite moments of the day to each other before we say goodnight. It not only boosts our individual moods, but also helps us feel closer as a couple. Win win!
5. GO FOR AN AFTERNOON WALK.
Even if it's just to your car in the parking lot of work or down to the end of your block and back, getting a little bit of fresh air for a few minutes can clear your mind, make your body feel better, and give you a quick energy boost. I've found this especially helpful around the "2PM lull" (the time in the afternoon when you just want to curl up and sleep) when no amount of coffee seems to perk me up. I'll plop Ezra in the stroller and then walk a few blocks through our neighborhood. The fresh air does wonders for my energy level.