Keep Your Life in Balance
Picture your life as a balance scale: Add too much or too little to one side, and the bar dips. Keeping your life in balance is important not only to physical health but to mental health as well.
Maintaining balance begins with keeping your eating, sleeping and recreation habits on a schedule. When your body knows when and what to expect on a daily basis, your mind and your body function more properly.
- Use a calendar to plan your activities.
- Keep track of how much time you spend on different activities.
- Every morning, visualize your day and how it will include balance.
- Post reminders to yourself about what you want to do or be.
- Set goals and look for new challenges every month.
- Monitor your internal state. If you feel stressed or depressed, ask yourself what is missing in your life.
A life in balance focuses on eating, sleeping and recreation.
Take a look at your eating habits. Chances are, you can improve these and make an immediate impact on your health and your life balance. Following these steps will help:
- Don’t skip meals.
- Snack well.
- Be carb smart (reduce sweets and desserts).
- Reduce saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Limit alcohol.
- Cut back on caffeine.
While a good diet is important, it must be noted that “over-dieting” is detrimental to balance. Your goal is not to fit in jeans that are a size smaller. Your goal is to feel better, have more energy and be healthier.
Research hasn’t been definitive when it comes to linking diet with depression. But many scientists theorize that vitamin B-12, folate (found in leafy vegetables, whole grains and dairy), and Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, catfish and trout) have properties that increase mental health. Check out the video below for more information on the relationship between diet and mental health.*
Food and Mood: How Diet Affects Depression
Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us are not, which is detrimental to enjoying a greater well-being — both physically and mentally. Those who are deprived of sleep suffer greater memory loss, more health problems and greater depression and anxiety. If you do not feel refreshed upon waking and are normally worn out, try taking these steps to gain better sleep:
- Set a regular bedtime.
- De-caffeinate yourself.
- De-stress yourself.
Most important, make your bed a haven from the stress and mayhem of the day. Do not let bills, your boss, deadlines and traffic jams follow you to bed. If you are having serious sleep problems, see your doctor. You may have a disorder, and he or she can prescribe medication that can help.
Check out this video for more information about the benefits of sleep.*
The Link Between Depression and Insomnia
Despite advances in technology, Americans seem to have less time for recreation. We work longer hours and pile on more responsibilities than ever before. Many of us have forgotten how to take time out for ourselves.
The key is to schedule time for yourself and to take advantage of those precious moments when you can exercise, relax or do an activity you enjoy. If you enjoy jogging, have your workout clothes ready. If cooking is your passion, keep ingredients available for a new recipe you have been meaning to try. If you have vacation days still available at work, take one and dedicate the day to yourself.
If you are spiritual in nature, do what our forefathers have preached for centuries: Honor the Sabbath. Even your higher power recognized that life is too short to waste it by working every waking moment.
STEPS ON THE PATHWAY
- Do a balance assessment of your life.
- Develop a better diet.
- Learn methods to sleep better.
- Find time to relax and unwind.
- Honor the Sabbath.
If you need a guide to help you down the pathway, or if you feel that you need immediate assistance, call the Front Porch at 901.762.8558.
*These videos and links will give you access to information not produced by Methodist Healthcare.