From work to working out, socialising to social media, family to food planning and more, it can be harder than ever these days to find some balance in our lives – with not much time left over in the day to think about your physical and mental wellbeing. With that in mind, we asked professional life coach Amelia Harvey to give us a handful of realistic tips to help kick-start a more balanced you for the rest of 2015 and beyond.
Freedom Foods: Hi, Amelia. Tell us, why is it so important to have balance in our lives?
Amelia Harvey: To me, balance is a solid foundation of self-care, self love, and ‘me time’. It’s so important for us to have this because when we don’t, life feels like hard work. We start to spread ourselves too thin – we get sick, we stop making good choices for our health, and then we burn out. When we give ourselves time to reconnect and do the things that make us feel great, life has more flow and we’re able to show up as our best selves.
What are a few simple and achievable ways for people to harbour some balance in their lives?
1. Carve out some ‘me time’ – dedicate a few hours each week to doing what you need at that moment. It could be a yoga class, a long bath, an early night, a painting session, even just snuggling on the couch and watching a movie. An easy way to make your ‘me time’ happen is to keep one evening free each week to dedicate it to yourself.
2. Get organised – on a practical level, we can really set ourselves up for success when it comes to being balanced. Taking some time over the weekend to meal prep some healthy snacks and quick dinners for the week is a great place to start. Start to look at what you can outsource – maybe you can get your groceries delivered or hire a cleaner. These things leave more time for you to do what you love which means more balance in your life.
3. Let go of guilt – when we start to see taking time out and relaxing as self-love and essential to balance, it becomes a lot easier to let go of the guilt. When you get that twinge of guilt for leaving the dishes for tomorrow, saying no to socialising, or spending cash on a yoga class or cleaner, remind yourself that by doing those things you are dedicating time to being your best self – which will flow on to benefit every area of your life.
How important is food in keeping a balanced life?
It’s a huge part of it. Two things that throw us out of balance are sugar and caffeine, so it’s great to find healthier alternative for these – try a decaf coffee or herbal tea; and choose more natural and unrefined sugars like maple syrup and raw honey. Healthy eating is often a result of feeling balanced so if my clients are finding they struggle in this area, it’s usually all linked back to self-love and taking time out because when we feel rested and connected to our ‘best self’, we naturally make healthy food choices.
What’s something you see people struggle with the most in terms of keeping a balanced life?
Lack of self-love is probably the most common struggle I see. It’s that feeling of low confidence and self esteem, negative self talk, and getting stuck in comparison or perfectionism. The path to self-love is a little different for everyone, but it usually starts with working on cultivating gentleness and compassion towards us by allowing ourselves to feel our feelings and become the observer of our minds.
What are a few of your favourite online resources to help people learn more about their health and wellbeing?
I love Deepak Chopras Meditations, Headspace and Smiling Mind – they’re all great meditation apps. Jess Sepel writes a wonderful blog and I love herYouTube videos as well. MindBodyGreen is a great resource with a tonne of info on wellness – as is the Good Life Project podcast.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To go with my gut. Cultivating trust in my intuition has been a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle, having a consistent spiritual and self-love practice and growing my business. It’s very easy to get distracted by the latest fad diet, what new workouts people are doing, or what other people are doing in their careers, and we forget that our body and intuition will always guide us to what’s best for us. Our bodies know which food will nourish us and what movement we need and our intuition will tell us if it’s time to take a leap of faith or try a new life direction.
A big thanks to Amelia Harvey – head to her website for more info.