Achieving and maintaining balance is hard work, especially during the holidays. Our social calendars are unusually packed, said social events have heavy food and alcohol choices, and for most of us work is either busy too or super slow- which has its own challenges. Throw traveling or hosting family and friends into the mix and it’s easy to see why the end of year holidays are regarded as the most stressful time of year. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Balance has been my main focus this year so it feels like I’ve been training for this all my life. What I’ve learned is that it really does have to be a work in progress every day to balance personal practices and a grounding home life with maintaining friendships and working hard to grow at work. This year I have learned a lot about approaching all of my tasks with a neutral mindset... noticing what I need to feel grounded and trying not to get wrapped up in attaching to fun things and avoiding those less than fun things. Rather, I've been trying to be present and content through it all.
If you’re finding it easy to slip away from good habits right now, read on to get balance back to the forefront of how you live!
#1 Know what balance looks and feels like to you.
We all need a different pace and daily routine to feel our best. Life ebbs and flows but quieting your mind to listen to what your body needs to sustain your current lifestyle is so important. For me, when I’m home I try to follow a routine of waking up by 7 and doing my morning meditation. After that I know I need to try to space 4 plant based meals out throughout the day, get exercise for both my dog and myself, soak up some sunlight, and get some work done to feel good. I also try to sleep by 11 every night, and working on making bedtime more of a routine. All of our days look different but take a look at yours and be honest about what you need in order to feel energized during the day and ready for rest at night. The rest of what you commit to can fit around your personal needs.
# 2 Establish & embrace a morning routine.
Surely you’ve heard this before, but the busier life gets, the more important the first hours of the day are. So if you don’t have a morning routine, now is a good time to get into a simple one. Create time every single morning this month for a 10 minute meditation and 10 minutes of movement. Wake up early, drink some warm lemon water to get your metabolism going and aid the body’s AM cleansing process. Sit up comfortably, close your eyes and envision yourself seamlessly moving through everything you are doing that day. Draw attention to any areas of your day that could cause you stress, and picture yourself choosing peace from the inside instead. Breathe and smile. After 10 minutes of silence, move your body for 10 minutes. Go for a walk, do sun salutations, stretch for 10 minutes, whatever you need to feel good & it doesn’t need to be extreme. Set things in motion and begin your day presently in your body and prepared for the day ahead.
#3 Do your most important tasks first.
What do you need to accomplish today to make it feel like a win? Do those things early in the day. Sometimes for me it’s making sure both my dog and I get exercise, other days it’s knowing I need to grind with my nose in the computer to get things set up for a retreat, etc- align in the morning with what needs to happen and get it ticked off your list. You’ll not only feel accomplished early on in the day, you’ll likely continue to do more throughout the day- even if it’s 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there.
#4 Set boundaries and prioritize.
Sometimes balance is knowing that you can say no, with no explanation necessary, and still be a good person. Whenever someone asks for your time, try to think of it as an energetic exchange. This time of year we are tempted to say yes to everything. If it is a resounding yes in your heart- make time and space for it for sure. Be able to confidently set boundaries though, and know your time isn’t owed to anyone.
#5 Plan ahead.
Mark your calendar right away once you commit to something. Take the time every Sunday evening to make sure you know what you’ve committed yourself to for the next week. Make sure each day and week you know what you need to do with your schedule to keep your grounding practices a priority, but find balance to not over obsess! The truly tricky part if you ask me. I love Passion Planner for spelling it all out for myself.
#6 Cook for yourself as often as possible.
This is a great way to maintain balance all year round but especially during the holidays. Cooking for yourself is a grounding activity that can help you to feel more centered and aligned, as you bring awareness and appreciation to what is going into your body. Use as many plants as possible, and only fresh whole real food from the earth. You’ve planned ahead, so you know when in the week you’ll embrace your social side and eat at a party, have a few drinks, etc, but don’t let that throw you off for any other meals. Enjoy the good times, then get back to what makes you feel best in your body.
Every day aim to move your body in a way that feels good and true to you. Go for a walk, dance as you clean your house, take a yoga class- move for the sake of spending time out of your head and in your body. The endorphins released to the body help to balance us on so many levels. It doesn’t have to be much- do 20 minutes of intense movement each day. Among other things, this shows you you can be in control of your body and maintain a commitment to yourself. So even when holiday parties, food, & work starts piling up- you know you got this!
#8 Go outside.
Spend at least 10 minutes outside in fresh air each day. If you begin to feel stressed, head outside. If you have the time or can create the time, go to the mountains, beach, park, somewhere where Mother Earth is more present than humans and our stuff. If you can, put your feet in the Earth. Recalibrating to our source is amazingly healing and helps us to find perspective and harmony.
#9 Care for yourself.
My favorite way to unwind if I’m stressed is a yin yoga sesh in my room to a roaring fire and a moody playlist, followed by a bath with my all time favorite Moon Body Soul soaks and scrubs. My friend Kaitee hand makes this all natural vegan line and her mission is reminding us that self care is not selfish. I am so grateful for this reminder as pampering is not something I think to make time for especially when I’m stressed. But having this ritual to make space for when I’m feeling the feels is very healing and cleansing. I focus on connecting with the element of water to wash away the day and any negative emotions. My favorites are the Rose scrub as it healed my skin that was getting stressed from hot yoga, the Blue Moon Ball & dust because Yas- all natural bright blue bath and the Moon Body Balm- it works wonders on achey joints and muscles. Spread the love to yourself and the message of self care to your loved ones.
#10 Journal it out.
The last tip I have for creating balance is ritual journaling. I like to journal most evenings, either on anything that happened that day, my daily gratitude, etc. You could make it just a Sunday thing if it’s not something that comes easy. But this is another great way to process the amount of life you live in one day or week. Notice what makes you feel good throughout the day, what weighs down on your energy, how you’re eating, sleeping, what happens during your meditations and dreams.
We spend so much of our time in the world outside of us. I’m noticing a lot of my tips are about finding balance of curiosity and care for what’s going on on the inside.
I hope this post comes at a helpful time of year for you. Embrace all sides of yourself this holiday season. No need to separate- work hard, let loose at the holiday party but like not too loose keep it together, practice yoga the next day and work hard on balance.
We’re all on this together! Help me out. Let me know what else you do to stay balanced in the comments ❤️