The word balance has been thrown around a lot lately. What exactly is it? How do we find it? How do we maintain it? Is it the same from person to person? In a nutshell balance, is a perfect marriage of work, life, exercise and socialising which leaves you feeling energised and full – not exhausted and stressed. Easy to talk about, not so easy to find. Which is why Dr Ciara Kelly is so determined to help us all find balance in our daily lives. Here’s her top three tips, which are small enough to be accessible but big enough to make a difference.
Accept that no one is perfect
And yes, that includes you. I’m not saying you’re not awesome – trust me, you are. But nobody has it all, and spending any amount of your valuable time, energy and brain-power wishing you could ‘do it all’ or ‘be it all’ is a waste. Why be anyone but you? If we were all exactly the same, with similar strengths and weaknesses, the world would be very, very boring. So, the next time you berate yourself for staying too long at work, or missing that workout, cut yourself some slack. Just remember these two little words, life happens. You have to roll with it. Life is a journey, and all the fun happens along the way.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Ever hear that saying? I think we all have. While it can sound a little ominous and negative, it’s true – preparation is key, and achieving any task you set is about prioritisation and planning. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I always break my goals down into small, realistic, achievable steps. For example, if you want to exercise more, take your diary, and schedule yourself the time to do it. Pencil it in for yourself like you would a doctor’s appointment. If you want to prepare more meals at home, take a few minutes each week to pick some recipes, plan when you can get to the store for ingredients, and pencil in that kitchen time. Picture your goal like a jigsaw – then fit each piece until it’s complete, and reward yourself for every step you take on the way.
Finally, to an area we are starting to appreciate the importance of, self-care. Being kind to yourself can be seem a selfish thing to do, because it requires you to identify and prioritise your needs. This can be really hard when you have a family, a significant other, or are just crazy busy with work or life itself. I think the concepts of self-love and self-care, while more acceptable now, have been a taboo topic for far too long. It is more than ok to care about how you feel, what you eat, your activity and your happiness. Burnout is a real thing, and many of us are unaware of its early signs. It has become the norm for us all to be so busy that we ignore our stress too often. I’m very aware of it as a doctor, and I try to minimise it as much as possible by prioritising good quality sleep; working on mindfulness, even just a few minutes a day and a regular yoga and Pilates practice. It sounds simple, but it works. The bottom line is that only you get to live your life. I think we’d all agree it’s worth investing in our health and happiness a little so that we can live the longest, most fulfilled lives we can.
So remember guys – plan, prioritise, and be perfectly happy with being imperfectly perfect. Now go forth and smash your day.
Ciara Kelly is a medical doctor who’s passionate about incorporating nutrition and fitness into her daily life. She believes that through empowerment, everyone can find balance and the lifestyle for them. For more information, visit irishbalanceblog.wordpress.com