Plan Ahead

365 Days to a Balanced Life Journey

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Author: Roneen Shaffer

If you are like me, you have started many a Sunday thinking of how you can improve the week ahead. First thing Monday morning you will wake up a little earlier to meditate, drink warm water with lemon, practice yoga, eat a healthy breakfast, read an inspirational passage, take all the supplements and nutritional products you have been told you need, dry brush your body prior to showering with only natural soaps and shampoos, brush your teeth for a 2 full minutes, floss your teeth (right), apply your natural makeup (or shaving cream), walk to work or take public transit to reduce your footprint, drink several cups of green tea and water, have a mid morning snack, get up from your desk several times in the morning to help your circulation and stay focused (and eliminate the green tea and water), eat a healthy lunch of greens and fish, take your second round of supplements, drink more water, take a walk before going back to work, drink more green tea and water, keep moving throughout the afternoon, have a mid afternoon snack that will give you energy, go to the gym after work, drink more water, cook a healthy dinner, eat it at leisure while enjoying the company of your family, check in with each family member on the positive aspects of their day, laugh and express love, decide what board game you will bond over tonight, drink more water, take your third round of supplements and prior to going to bed early to ensure a full 8 hours of sleep, you repeat the 2 minutes of brushing, flossing and gargling, have a relaxing bath, read a spiritually uplifting book, show gratitude and pat yourself on the back for a day well lived. Phew!
Most of us never get past the mid morning snack before giving up. “It is too overwhelming we say.” “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have the willpower.” “I don’t have the family support.” “I don’t have the energy.” “I don’t have the money.” But let’s face it, we know we need to do most or all of these things in order to feel good and live a well balanced life.
Sooooooooooooooooo……..inspired by the likes of Julie & Julia, Eat Pray Love and other best selling memoirs, I have decided to balance my life one day at a time. I will endeavor to take the overwhelming “should do” list and incorporate it into my daily living over the course of the next year. I will seek out natural alternatives, eat healthy and organic foods, find the right exercise regime, supplements, nutritional aides, spiritual path, relationship help, books to read, bodywork. I will spend more time with friends, family and myself. I will make time for meditation and spiritual growth. I will reduce my footprint! I will be a better wife/mother/sister/friend. I will become a better citizen of the world. What better way to stay motivated than to have the world watching!!
“You may never know what results
come from your action. But if you
do nothing, there will be no result.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Who am I you might ask and why should you be interested in what I have to say? I am a person who has tried to live a balanced life ever since I discovered I wasn’t balanced over 21 years ago (strangely coinciding with the birth of my first child). The sad thing is, I know what to do, I, just don’t do it!
I have read more than my share of books and articles on nutrition, diet, exercise, metaphysics, natural health and alternative remedies.
I have tried at one time or another, most alternative therapies such as naturopaths, naturopathic dentists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, cranial sacral therapists, reiki therapists, reflexology, massage therapists and more. I tried infrared saunas, reverse osmosis water treatment, inversion tables, rebounders and reformers.  I am a believer in the healing powers of therapeutic grade essential oils, supplements and other nutritional aides. I believe in the power of positive thought and intention.
I have been to psychics, palm readers, past life regression therapists and Angel Therapy!
If you are thinking why am I wasting my time reading this, she is obviously a flake or one of the most gullible people around, you would be wrong. I lead a very “normal” life. I worked hard all my life doing something I loved. I created a company that ultimately had several hundred salespeople and dozens of staff. I sold that company and retired after 27 years feeling “burned out” at the age of 46. I am raising three stable children, 14, 21 and 22. I am or have been a supportive friend, employer, sister, daughter, mother and wife. People come to me for advice (or I give it to them without solicitation ?) on a myriad of topics because they know I know a little about a lot. I am not a flake. I am not gullible. I am a seeker of information that will improve our lives.
Like most seekers I like to share this information simply because I like to help people. I am all about making positive improvements and personal growth.
It took a crisis to really understand that wanting to change my life is easy, actually doing it, is the hard part!
On December 14, 2008 I had a stroke at the age of 52. Fortunately it was a relatively minor stroke affecting only a small part of my brain. Believe me, even a small stroke is a life changing event, at least until the denial takes over.
Those first few months were terrifying. I made promises (pacts with God), my husband made promises, my kids even made promises. No more sitting around at night plugged into computers and TV. We will walk every night after dinner (that might have happened 3 times), we will turn off the TV and play the Wii fitness games (that lasted a month or two), we will eat NOTHING but healthy foods (I think you can guess how quickly that changed), we will take all the supplements and nutritional aides (we ended up throwing them out after they had expired), we were going to reduce stress and increase laughter (that was humorous in itself). We were going to become more spiritual and enlightened. We were going to take time to enjoy all that we had instead of looking for more. We were going to give up unhealthy habits (we were both part time poker players spending hours a week sedentary in an unhealthy environment). We were going to entertain more so that we could enjoy our friends and family. We were going to live a Balanced Life!
As my brain healed itself and my symptoms diminished, so did our resolve. We crept back into unhealthy habits, moved less, sat more, became less conscious of what we were eating and allowed stress to dominate our lives. Instead of doing something to relieve stress we generally took the path of least resistance and avoided doing the things we knew would make us feel better (what is that all about?).
I can imagine the mental picture you are conjuring up of our family unit. Let me assure you, we are not grossly overweight (in fact the most any of us needs to lose would be 10-15 pounds). My husband and I both lost 20 pounds following the stroke but some of it has managed to creep back on. We do not live in a stressful or unpleasant environment. We actually have a pretty close family unit. We are not devouring  pizza and hamburgers on a nightly basis (although I do find evidence of that when I have not been home for dinner). We do from time to time all go to the gym together. We like to walk by the ocean (or sit in our chairs and look at it). We eat more vegetables and fruit than the average family and less processed foods. We eat organic meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables and bread etc.
So why do we all feel so lethargic, stressed, ill, fatigued and generally grumpy? Why do we have such a hard time staying focused and interested in anything for very long? Why do we all have minor health issues, colds and flues? One reason is that we never do anything consistently for any reasonable period of time. We try it all but don’t apply it all! We have not yet made it our lifestyle.
Just like the flight attendant’s instructions to place the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others, I came to the conclusion that I cannot make this a family project – at least not at first. I am going to lead by example and I have faith that my family will follow. I will continue to introduce new healthy regimes slowly into our daily life and encourage them to make healthier choices outside the home. I will demonstrate the need for balancing the Mind, Body and Soul.  By the end of my 365 days to a Balanced Life Journey I hope that I will have created new healthy habits for myself, my family and maybe even you.
“Once the ‘what’ is decided,
the ‘how’ always follows.
We must not make the ‘how’
an excuse for not facing and
accepting the ‘what.'”
– Pearl S. Buck

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/wellness-articles/365-days-to-a-balanced-life-journey-3073066.html

About the AuthorWritten by:   Roneen C. Shaffer
Roneen is a Business and Lifestyle Consultant working on a 1 year project, 365 Days to a Balanced Life.  Visit www.balance365.ca for more ideas on how to improve your life.

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