What is a balanced lifestyle? When posed this question, you want to give a balanced answer (pardon the pun). Unfortunately, there is no definite answer.
A balanced lifestyle doesn’t correspond to a ‘one size fits all’ mantra, and like exercise and diet, it is completely individual.
However, a few minor adjustments can make all the difference. Below are 10 steps everyone can take:
1. Get up earlier – Productive people generally don’t stay in bed until lunchtime. They get up early, get their jobs done and have more time later in the day for doing things they enjoy doing. Stop making excuses that you have no time, make it!!
2. Eat more fruit and veg – What other product can improve your immune system, fight cancer and act as an antioxidant? Cheap, low in calories and good for your health, you’d be foolish to abstain. Try to include at least one portion of fruit and veg in every meal.
3. Drink more water – Water represents 45 – 70% of a person’s body weight. It is essential for normal cellular function and thermoregulation. This means it helps the body maintain its ideal temperature. Again, intake is dependent on activity levels but people should aim for at least 2 litres per day.
4. Cut down on alcohol – There is nothing wrong with enjoying some alcohol as part of a balanced lifestyle. However, when it begins to affect your daily routine, its time to cut back. Regular excessive drinking is not part of a balanced lifestyle!!
5. Get more exercise – This doesn’t have to be spending 2 weeks wages on the latest ‘active wear’ and annual gym membership. Exercise is a synonym of human movement. Get up, get out, walk, jog, cycle, dance, swim. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move!!
6. Catch up with friends – Reminisce with friends over a coffee, green tea or even a skinny hazelnut latte (try to make this a non-alcoholic beverage as often as possible). No matter what is going on in your life, you should always make time to relax with those whose company you enjoy.
7. Give yourself alone time – At times, life can be draining, frustrating and overwhelming. For everyone. Always allow yourself some time to unwind and reflect, especially in these moments. Reading, walking and listening to music are just some of the things you can do during this time.
8. Cut down on phone usage – On average, Irish adults spend 3 hours per day on their smartphones. Ironically, this isn’t very smart, is it? To reduce this, start by eliminating phone usage close to bedtime, as the blue light emitted by phones can affect the quality of our sleep.
9. Go to bed earlier – Now that we’ve all decided that we’re going to get up earlier, we need to find extra hours to compensate our sleep. Adults should aim for between 7 and 8 hours of quality unbroken sleep every night. Getting up earlier should mean going to sleep earlier!!
10. Do the things YOU enjoy – It’s YOUR life. Take ownership of it. Stop making excuses and start doing the things that make you feel happy. But, as always, make sure it’s balanced!!
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