Creating that work/life balance
With the pressures of modern day life I think it's fair to say that for the majority of us busy equestrians finding the perfect "work/life balance" is a challenge. Some of you may even say it's not existent! It's something I work closely with my clients on to try & help them find their balance & adding exercise into the mix is a big part of that!
Initially adding exercise & training into your routine can feel like another thing to fit into your already busy life but as we all know exercise has some incredible health benefits & can actually help you to achieve a more balanced life. Right now you're probably thinking, yeah right how on earth is adding more to my day/life going to be a positive but it really will impact your life in the best way.
We only have to look at social media to see other people smashing their careers, living their best lives or looking amazing in their workouts & that can build feelings of resentment, low self esteem, a lack of self confidence & leaving us feeling like we're below par or not doing well enough.
This is where taking a bit of time to yourselves to exercise & get into your training can hugely help you build more positive feelings. Without a doubt initially, a change of mindset is required. Rather than feeling like it's just another "thing" to tick off the list or time you should be spending with your family, doing work, riding or something else it's important to realise that this is time for you to work on your goals, physically & mentally & is one of the most selfless things you can do. A healthy you is going to be able to be there & help those in your life far more effectively so it's only fair to yourself & those close to you to make the time for yourself.
Exercise promotes feelings of happiness, has been shown in science to reduce stress levels & improve confidence levels as well as obviously improving your health overall so it's imperative you do something to look after yourself. If you can view your exercise or training from that mindset it's going to completely change how you fit it in & equally massively benefit your life overall.
It's easy to feel like we should be working all the time & in this day & age there is a huge emphasis on work culture, I know I definitely feel it! But if life is all work, work, work you're never going to have that all-important time to switch off or enjoy your life.
If we have a better overall sense of wellbeing it's going to help us be more productive, be happier & ultimately perform better in all areas of life. Research has shown too that those who exercise are actually able to better organise their life & areas due to more clarity & & the ability to keep present. It's no surprise then that regular exercise is going to make you a happier, more balanced person & that's going to allow you to be the best you not only for yourself but for your family, kids, horses too!
Stress & overwhelm are 2 of the biggest emotions that we suffer from when the balance is tipped towards working more than life. So the fact that exercise & training has been scientifically proven to reduce our stress levels, release feel good hormones & create a sense of achievement well it's a no-brainer to add exercise into the mix!
Getting started is the hardest part, as right now when you're already suffering from feeling like life is too much it's going to be challenging to find the balance with fitting exercise in but like I said above it's a change of mindset!
Appreciating the time you spend exercising for what it is & how it can benefit & transform your life will have you making the time you can to train. So how do you get started then?
Less is more; initially start slow & build from there. Doing less is obviously going to be easier to fit in from the off & make you feel like you can do this rather than trying to do much, too soon & feeling overwhelmed or like you've failed at the 1st hurdle
Be realistic with the time you have; remember something is better than nothing. Think about the time you can realistically give to training right now & start with what works & suits your schedule. There's no right or wrong here & exercise doesn't have to be hours to be effective or benefit you
Have some accountability. If you've got someone holding you accountable & keeping you positive it's going to make you feel far more inclined to keep going & stick to it! This could be from a coach or PT or maybe even just going to a class or a run with some friends to hold you accountable whilst you get started
Work with your lifestyle; think about how you could make exercise work for you. Maybe dropping the kids off at school & doing a run back to the car or simply even just walking to places more rather than driving/getting the bus
Block off your exercise time in your diary. This is really important especially if your day is full of meetings or appointments. Block out the time you're going to train & hold yourself to sticking to it. Treat it like a work meeting; you wouldn't reschedule 5 minutes before the start time or just not bother going so have the same respect for your health as you do your work
Log your progress; if you can see the time you're spending exercising is paying off & you're progressing you're going to be way more likely to feel motivated & continue! This is where logging your workouts, weights lifted, keeping food diaries or taking physique photos are key for noticing improvement & celebrating the wins!
Stay in your lane. Do not compare to others. Everyone's life is different & as long as you're happy with what you're doing that is what matters! Don't get caught up comparing your chapter 1 to someone else's 50
Tell others what you're doing & why. If those close to you understand why this is so important to you & you're doing this to better yourself & become a healthier & happier person they're going to support you! A bit of support & understanding goes a long way
Enjoy the journey. Remember motivation is a feeling & feelings occur as a result of our behaviour. If you're doing things that make you feel good, positive, and successful you're going to feel more motivated so find what you enjoy & let the motivation flow
Achieving that perfect balance is a challenge without a doubt. For me, it's something that I'm constantly working on as I want to have a lifestyle that I enjoy but I also do a good job in all areas. Yes, that means working hard but work cannot become the be all & end all of life & I think we realise this more & more as we age. It's a change of mindset but also lifestyle for the better. I hope you find this blog useful to help you improve your balance.