The Edge Or The Hedge
The purpose of this post is to introduce a healthy perspective on how to balance it all using basic concepts and foundational understanding. Its like being on the edge of the hedge of understanding.
- The Edge is the outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something like our being.
- The Hedge limit or qualify (something) by conditions or exceptions (to be bound by or bordered around) our being.
I will share and breakdown a number of strategies to help you better understand managing and optimizing your mental and physical health.
First, we must understand what it means to have balance and live a life that involves healthy choices diet, mental and physical exercise that will help us.
Its Healthy To Balance It Out By Being Present
Our being should start with being present in the moments, the moments we have been given.
- What is going on with you at this moment?
- What is running through that head of yours?
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social matters. Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, how we make choices, and how we relate to others.
Mental health is essential to balance and well-being in our lives.
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension and worried thoughts, often leading to physical changes like increased blood pressure and an intense feeling that overcomes your mind and body out of nowhere.
Thoughts we want to stop but because they’re running full speed we must learn how to put a stop to the thoughts in these moments that are causing us to be shaken.
- What do you do to put a stop to the thoughts running ramped in your mind?
When we learn how to recognize these sensations (a feeling) running rapidly through our body. We will be able to start working on problem-solving immediately. Knowing, how it feels are the physical signs we sense (to become more aware of).
How we feel (physically) our body starts to tense up because of the situation (left unresolved) another name for it is a trigger (traumatic} event.
- Awareness: A physical sign our muscles in our neck and shoulders tighten up.
So what does it feel like to be buried and yet alive? It’s the thing living deep inside you that is wanting to come out yet, you keep it buried deep inside because, you don’t want it to cause you pain again.
- When are you becoming aware of the signs that your body is telling you that something is affecting you deeply?
Stress and anxiety are very closely related. Anxiety is an emotion where we feel tense and have worried thoughts, often leading to physical changes in our body.
We all experience challenges and stress in our lives, but people who have learned how to resist or learned how to develop resilience are more able to bounce back quickly when they get triggered.
Resilient people feel that they are not victims of whatever happens to them and that they can actually take charge of their own lives. They can now make decisions to change their circumstances, instead of allowing circumstances in life to have control over them.
When we say stress, we’re talking about mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from challenging circumstances.
Events, situations or pressures that cause you stress in life are called stressors.
- A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being
- Having resilience is the ability to withstand or recover quickly from stress or challenges; toughness
- Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from challenging circumstances.
- Stressors are events or pressures that cause stress in our lives
- Work-Life Balance is the amount of time and energy you spend working relative to how much time and energy you spend on the rest of your life.
Who are you in all this?
People fall on a spectrum from introversion to extroversion. Introverts tend to need more time on their own to recharge their batteries, while extroverts tend to get more energy from spending time with others.
It’s useful for you to understand your own needs, and also helpful in relationships to understand where each person falls on this spectrum, so you can better understand and respect each other’s needs.
- An Introvert is someone who tends to need more alone time to maintain a feeling of balance.
- An Extrovert is someone who tends to need less alone time and instead prefers to recharge through spending time with others.
Finding A Healthy Balance
When faced with a stressful problem, you can seek the support of friends and family or learn coping skills to help you deal with matters at hand.
Learn to be more self-reliant by writing down your ideas in a journal, be sure to have the journal readily available at all times. Go through the problem-solving methods you have written down and re-examine what seems to have worked for you before and expand on that if need be. Soon you will be on your way to healing.
Life is so complex and most of us have so many responsibilities and it’s hard to keep up. We also face so many external and internal pressures daily. Sometimes, we need to be able to take a minute and just breathe. As you’re learning reflect and learn some new strategies for keeping your life in balance.
You may find it challenging to juggle the needs of your job, the needs of your family, your mental and physical health, your social life, and the other activities you enjoy doing in your life. Learning how to manage to do all of this without stressing out is what I call finding balance a positive feeling.
A Healthy Work-Life Balance
A big challenge for many people is understanding the importance of work-life balance. How much time you spend working compared to how much time you spend on the rest of your life. If you feel you have this work-life imbalance, you are not alone!
Many people put in extra hours at work, because they want to do a good job, or because they are salaried employees. As a salaried employee you loose track of time because there is no time limit when it comes to the hours we work in order to complete a project.
Be cautious when it comes to your employer wanting to shift your hourly pay to salary pay. I had an employer that said my position was salary when it wasn’t a salaried position. I will share the outcome later on in another post.
Salaried positions should be project-based or non-existent. As a salaried employee, employers get away with paying you less money. I recommend you take a step back and calculate the time you spend getting your work done and the money you are paid to see how much you are actually worth to your employer.
The simplest step you can take to set boundaries at work is to speak to your manager about what isn’t working for you and what your personal needs are like; the hours you are expected to be available are interfering with your work-life balance.
You know your situation best, so find the right time and approach your boss or supervisor and share what has gone beyond the scope of your job and responsibilities.
Discuss the tasks you are often being asked to work on that are beyond your job description. This conversation may not feel comfortable. But, it could lead to gaining more respect and may even benefit others in the organization as well.
You may feel you’re receiving too many after-hours text messages, emails, or notifications because you are always on call they make this a rule for you because they paid for your phone or they reimburse you for your monthly phone expense.
Love-Its That’ll Fit Nicely In Place
- Manage work stress by checking your email twice a day rather than getting a constant influx of notifications.
- Turn off your phone when you’re with loved ones so you aren’t distracted from what’s happening in the present.
- Distance yourself from someone who is emotionally needy and who takes advantage of you.
- Tell friends to text or call before they come over rather than just popping in.
This is another important reason to set your work boundaries. I was told that because they pay a portion of my phone expense I am to be available 24/7. Make sure to communicate to your manager and team what is ok and not ok for you.
Set boundaries for your time and space so you can take care of yourself. A boundary can be between you and another person, or it can be set up to protect your time so you can take care of yourself. Here are some common ways you can set up healthy boundaries in your life:
Balance It All The Way To Healthy
Take some time away from work and spend it with your family and friends, learning to relax may be difficult at first.
It’s easy to lose ourselves and understanding the losses that we will suffer with our family and friends is worse than losing our reason for staying at this particular job.
Each of us plays several roles in our lives. You are a family member, a friend, and a worker., you may also be a spouse or partner and you might also belong to a religious or spiritual community, participate in a social club, or sports team, or be involved in other leisure activities.
Calendar It – Your Worth It
It’s important to have time for yourself. If a date night with your partner is much needed or some other form of entertainment with friends is on your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and it will give you extra motivation to better manage your work time.
Some people like to keep regular time on their weekly schedule to do things like going to a movie, exercising, going to church, spending the afternoon at the park with their children, having a picnic, or even going for a hike. The goal is to spend quality time together by making this a top priority.
Maybe some of your shopping can be done using online platforms rather than you running out to the store. If you must run to the store make it a fun event by spending time together shopping together.
Yardwork seems to be the thing we do on the weekends maybe a young person on your street would love to make a little money caring for your yard.
If you find yourself doing all the cooking and cleaning, chores or errands for your home, maybe it’s time to ask others to step up and take on their fair share of things.
We shift between these roles throughout our lives and within each day. You juggle whatever your roles are, and when they feel balanced to you, you probably feel fulfilled and happy. However, when one role begins to override the others, we can feel stressed and out of sorts.
Healthy Responsibilities and Expectations
Each role comes with various responsibilities and expectations. If we don’t fulfill any of our roles, there are consequences, like the loss of a relationship or loss of a job, so keeping them in balance is essential.
At some times in our lives, one role will dominate the others. Maybe you have a sick family member that you need to spend special time with, or maybe one season calls for extra time at work. This can be okay as long as you’re aware that you are making this sacrifice for a short period.
It is helpful to communicate this with others and remember being flexible and accepting these short-term shifts will help you reduce your stress.
Take Time For Yourself
Another aspect of balancing time relates to taking time for yourself, compared to spending time and energy with others. Everyone’s well-being depends to some degree on making some down time to take care of your health, relax and do things you enjoy.
Some people restore their spirits by engaging in private practices like prayer or meditation. Others may enjoy writing in a journal, developing their talents with a musical instrument, expressing their creativity through craftwork, or reading a book.
Learn to say (no) so you don’t overcommit your time. When someone asks you to do something, take a minute to check in with your gut and then with your calendar to see if it’s a reasonable thing for you to agree to do. If it isn’t possible say to them (thanks for asking, but I’m going to have to pass this time).
- A great question to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide if you should commit to something is, “If I say ‘yes’ to this opportunity, what am I saying ‘no’ to?”
Self-Care Is A Healthy Balance
You may find yourself overwhelmed with all your responsibilities for other people and neglect your own needs sometimes.
- Check-In With Yourself – If you like journaling or keeping lists, spend a few minutes at the end of each day reflecting on what you are grateful for, what went well, how you felt, and anything that was upsetting. If you aren’t a fan of writing things down, take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and think about your day.
Ask yourself these types of questions:
What made me the happiest today, what are the positives going on in my life, what am I putting off or procrastinating? If I had time, what would I like to be doing? Is there negativity I can remove from my life?
- Pamper Yourself– Hair masks, face masks, manicures, pedicures, relaxing baths, spa days, massages, and other similar activities are wonderful ways you can give your mind and body a little extra TLC. You can book an appointment with a professional, or enjoy doing things yourself at home.
Try to do something special for yourself once a week so it’s something you can always look forward to.
- Smell Good – Having good hygiene habits can help prevent health problems later down the road. Try to incorporate these different types of hygiene into your daily routine: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist for a checkup once a year. Shower or take a bath and wear some form of deodorant every day. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before and after you handle food.
Your favorite scent: cologne, lotion, or perfume.
Check It Out
- Cut It Out – Is thee a bad habit you can start cutting back on? make a list of the reasons why you want to stop doing this particular habit. Try replacing this bad habit with something that is good for you. Reward yourself for making a good choice. If its a bad addiction you may need to seek our help from a professional.
- Seek It Out– Instead of focusing on the things you don’t have, choose to focus on what you do have. Commit to finding the good in every day. Listening to music, dancing, baking, cooking, reading, coloring, painting, yoga infuse these activities into your daily life. Laugh it out watch a funny show to watch.
- Act It Out – Do something physical, like exercising, working on something outdoors that allows you to sweat it out. Dance it out or better yet yell it out loud in the middle of nowhere were no one is watching.
- Sleep Soundly – Make sleep a number one priority well before bedtime starts. Have all your to do written out. Stop any caffeine by a certain time of the day. Read a good book or watch a good show to prevent bad dreams. Go to sleep at the same time every day to get your body into a routine. Set your alarm to a less alarming tone.
Wake Refreshed – Enhancement (an increase or improvement in quality, value, or extent). Live It Out
Build A Network
- Connect – Relationships are super important to our mental and to our emotional health. Don’t neglect friends even when your life gets busy. Reach out to others meet up for coffee at one another’s homes.
- Listen – Take the time and really listen.
- Walk & Talk – Schedule a time to meet up to walk and talk.
- Like-Minded Groups – Join other like minded people to do something you enjoy doing; hobby, sport, traveling, gym type classes
- Digitally – blogging platforms, bible studies, websites
Our Immune System
A complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they make helps the body fight infections and other diseases. Be aware of what your body is telling you. Are you immune enough to risk making yourself even sicker? Know that by pushing yourself you risk lowering your immune system and this will make you sick.
It’s common to feel a lot of pressure in these times. We have to learn how to push through and be more productive all the time even when our being is telling us to slow down. When you notice that you are feeling different, a little worn down learn to be intentional about setting yourself as precedence over anything else. Take the time and rest even if that means calling in sick, taking a mental day, canceling plans.
Pay attention to what that little voice in your head is saying to you. Self-doubt, insecurity, and even self-hate are common things that everyone deals with from time to time. Identify the things you are saying to yourself and about yourself, and replace those statements with positive affirmations.
If you often find yourself thinking, “I’m stupid, there’s no way I can do this,” try reframing that thought and say this, “It’s okay that this is hard, I can do hard things.”
Are you telling yourself bad things about your body or about who you are? Instead, focus on the things about yourself that you love or want to love. Instead of saying, “I’m so fat and ugly,” say, “My body is capable of wonderful things. I’m grateful for this body that God has given me to take care of.”
It can take a long time to stop talking about yourself negatively, so be patient with yourself.
Balance Your Healthy Diet
In general, the word diet means what you eat regularly. A different meaning is actually having and following an eating plan where you restrict what you eat for some reason or another. The purpose of a well-balanced diet may be to lose weight, live a healthier lifestyle, and/or reduce the chance of heart disease.
Instead of viewing foods as “good” or “bad,” focus on eating things that you know make your body feel better.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium to help your body run better. If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, take those seriously.
If you struggle with eating what you want to eat, try making a meal plan for a week at a time. Write out what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and then go grocery shopping so you have everything you need.
Remember that there is nothing wrong with having a treat, whether that’s a big, juicy burger or a delicious piece of chocolate cake. Just remember to balance the treats with healthy options so your body doesn’t start to feel sluggish.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating whole fruits and vegetables because they are more filling. This leaves us with two quarters of a plate left to fill with protein and whole grains.
When it comes to a beverage I strive to drink water over anything else. If you need something more than a cold glass of refreshing water try drinking less sugary types of beverages.
Healthy Strategies To Help Reduce Stress
Try to catch yourself when you start to worry.
Identify It – What Am I worrying about? Is it a realistic problem and can I do anything about it right now?
Imagine It – Imagine that your worry is a song that you are listening to in this moment. Know that you can change the song at anytime.
Convert it to replace something negative with something positive which in turn is more productive for us overall.
Once a worry is a concern, pose solutions that are actionable. Determine when you will be able to perform those actions, schedule them, and move on.
Laughter Makes You Feel Healthy
The old expression that laughter is the best medicine is true. Laughter serves as an antidote to the body’s stress response, as laughing releases endorphins (the pleasure hormones in your brain) counteract the hormonal effects of stress.
If you have a great sense of humor or work around people who do, you have a powerful weapon against stress. In fact, laughter can have positive effects on your overall health.
Meditation and Relaxation
A couple of basic meditation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help lessen your stress.
Practice deep breathing, simply breathe from your diaphragm. This can be performed by placing your hand just below your rib cage and above your stomach; your diaphragm will move up and down as you breathe.
Deep breathing lowers your heart rate and your blood pressure, sending oxygen into your blood and brain. It makes you feel calm and anchors you in the present. Moreover, you can practice deep breathing virtually any time you like even while at work.
Its amazing how hard it is to tell yourself to do something it naturally does on its own.
Being constantly connected to others can be a blessing and a curse, and sometimes it’s healthy to disconnect, ground yourself, and connect with the world around you. Try a day when you can literally unplug from all your digital devices.
Your mind will start to relax and you may even find that things that seemed overwhelming before are much more manageable than you thought.
Balance Healthy Out With Exercise
Exercise is one of the most common and effective methods to reduce stress. Even taking a short walk or climbing a flight of stairs can reduce stress and increase alertness.
A regular exercise routine can boost your mood, increase concentration, and help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Stepping outside for a walk can also clear your mind and bring a change of perspective when you exercise.
To Be Healthy We Must Exercise
If you don’t already exercise 3-5 days a week try to add in several 30-minute workouts to your weekly routine.
Do something you enjoy, like walking, jogging, biking, weight lifting, swimming, or playing some kind of group sport like tennis. Your body will feel better, and the endorphins will boost your emotional health, too.
If you struggle with fitting in exercise, try scheduling it into your calendar so it is set in stone. Treat it like you would a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting.
“Use it or lose it!” should encourage us to use and move our bodies regularly, intentionally so we don’t prematurely lose the ability to use our bodies in the ways that we want and when we need our bodies to operate optimally.
- Move more
- Sit less
- Do something that is physical
- Do weight bearing exercises
- Do muscle-strengthening activities
Balance Water With Exercise Leads To Feeling Healthy
The latest news on water is that drinking a cup of ice cold water first thing in the morning helps bring your body what it needs to start functioning right out of the gate. So, now that you are out of the gate it will be easier to drink most of your water during your exercise.
Why not get them done earlier in the day when you can’t put off the routine or your water intake. Later in the day, you will be able to reflect on what you accomplished already and free up your evening of sleeping with less peeing.
Your body depends on water to survive, of course. Being dehydrated can lead to a lack of energy and other effects like headaches. Drinking eight glasses of water a day, or 64 ounces, is a reasonable goal.
Some people may need less water, and others may need more, especially those who are sweating due to exercise or a hot, humid environment, or are sick, pregnant, or breast-feeding. I’ve heard that dividing your body weight in half is the amount of ounces of water you need to drink per day.https://youtu.be/Dq9odPtHbcg: A Healthy Perspective On How To Balance It All
Professionals For When You Are Feeling Unhealthy
Seek professional help if you are experiencing severe or distressing mental health symptoms that have lasted two weeks or more. The following is taken from the National Institute for Mental Health’s article on Caring for Your Mental Health(opens in a new tab).
Symptoms That Are Not Healthy
Here are some distressing mental health symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Appetite changes that result in unwanted weight changes
- Struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in things you usually find enjoyable
- Inability to perform usual daily functions and responsibilities
Don’t wait until your symptoms are overwhelming. Talk about your concerns with a primary health care provider, who can refer you to a mental health professional if needed.
Maybe you need to ask a friend or family member for help, or maybe you need to see a professional for help with anxiety or depression.
There is no shame in admitting you need help remember that you are doing your best, and everyone needs help sometimes.
Ask For Help
Asking for help can be as simple as asking someone to help you with finishing a work project, buying groceries, or watching your child so you can have some alone time.
- If your emotional and mental health is making it hard for you to get out of bed, or enjoy things you used to, call a professional to get the kind of help you need.
Much research has shown that eating well, exercising, and sleeping a good amount all play a significant role in our physical health, mental health, and well-being.
What we eat regularly greatly affects how we feel and how our bodies and minds perform throughout our life activities and work.
Different people have different bodies and different ages and medical conditions, so our nutritional needs vary.