I’ll admit, event planning is not a job for the faint of heart. It’s a stressful job, which can sometimes make for a stressful life! That, and, well, I run two businesses. Oh, and did I mention the three kids?! So, yeah, balanced living sometimes eludes me. In fact, I ran myself down so badly a couple of years ago, I ended up getting super sick and having to be hospitalized (#nofun). That little mishap (wasn’t so little) inspired me to actually practice what I preach and do some soul searching!
Happiness Is Less Stress
We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to take care of yourself and make “me” time (or should I say “you” time??) in order to avoid running yourself into the ground. Normally, I unwind with a libation or two, but I’ve discovered that if you want a REAL wellness day, you have to forego the booze (can you believe I’m saying that?!) and use other techniques to soothe the mind, body and soul.
First, Put Your Mind At Ease
I’ve tried many techniques over the years. About a decade ago I tried Dahn Yoga, which is a Korean brain fitness training designed to reduce stress. I’ve used traditional meditation exercises for many years, though I don’t have a regular regimen (I probably should). Without calming your mind, there’s really no hope for calming anything else. There are plenty of meditation tapes out there and you probably have a few faves. I’m a fan of Deepak Chopra’s Gift of Love II: Oceans of Ecstasy. If you’re not into meditation through music and voice, then go with nature sounds. Calming Rain offers a nature soundtrack developed by a certified music therapist (bona fides is good, right?!). Spend 30-60 minutes really trying to clear your mind and inviting your body to relax.
Renewal For The Body
After you’ve centered yourself and eliminated all anxious thoughts, it’s time to focus on your body. Yoga is designed to promote well-being on every level—mind, body & soul. If you’re out of practice (or you’ve never even tried it!) first start with restorative moves. DoYogaWithMe is a great site that offers hundreds of programs for free.
Tai Chi is another mind-body practice that combines meditation with body movements. If you haven’t given it a whirl, it’s a low-impact, slow-motion exercise in which you complete a series of motions without pausing. As you move, you breathe deeply and concentrate on the sensations of your body. This practice promotes balance (the spiritual kind, not the kind you do on a ladder). In the Chinese tradition Qi is said to be the energy force that flows through the body. Tai Chi removes blockages so that your energy force can flow smoothly. Here are 10 Tai Chi Moves to get you started.
Liquid Renewal (Not What You’re Thinking!)
Alternately, if you have a pool or jacuzzi (dolphins are optional!), take a dip and then let the warm waves and bubbles leave you feeling loosy goosy. I’m partial to taking long walks in nature. Fortunately, I live in a hilly area where there are walking trails and beautiful old trees. Every morning before I start my day I go for a walk to enjoy some fresh air and greenery.
Don’t want to be on your feet? Float tanks are now a trendy relaxation therapy where you are immersed in a tub of water filled with so much epsom salt (which is naturally great for muscle stiffness) that it causes your body to float! The tubs are set in quiet, dark rooms that block out noise and light. Through this sensory deprivation, your mind can let go and your whole body can relax. Or so I’m told!
Body Work That’s Actually, Well, More Work!
Pole Dancing??!! While not the most relaxing type of body work I’m including it here because it will “renew” your body as in make it look totally toned and hot! Pole Dancing and Aerial Silk Dancing engages all of the core muscles, improves balance and utilizes your own body weight for the workout of your life! Plus, it looks super sexy! And while we’re on that note…
Belly Dancing is another sensuous way to take your body new places! The sequins bustiers and gorgeous flowing skirts don’t hurt either! Better still, you’ll have a costume ready come Halloween! See?! I’m always thinking of ways to help you double-duty! Turn on the exotic music, bust out your castanets (cuz everybody has those, right?!) and start those hip shimmies! Seriously, dance is one of the most time-honored ways to express yourself and renew your spirit!
Bringing Nature Inside
Another thing I find helps me relax, is bringing natural elements into my home. Sure, I’ve probably got more wood and rocks and plants laying around than most people because I have to create centerpieces and decor for events. But I find that when I take them to event venues, my house doesn’t have as warm, cozy or relaxing a feel as when they’re on display. So, I’ve added more indoor plants and keep rocks and driftwood pieces in different places around the house because the natural elements just make things feel a little more tranquil.
Want to make it official? Balanced living also comes from the placement of items in your home. When things get a little stuck in my world, I love turning to Feng Shui! I don’t give two hoots that a lot of people think it’s just hocus pocus—the Chinese have been practicing it for, like, 3,000 years! I’m absolutely convinced that every time I feng shui my dining room (prosperity center), things start to improve in the money department. January and February are the slowest months in the event planning business so I always like to do a quick pass through in the prosperity department to get things tuned up! This often works wonders. I have tons of books on feng shui, but my favorite is Karen Rauch Carter’s Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life. It’s easy to read (important for an ADD’er like me!) and there are all kinds of helpful tips in the margins.
Your Own Bounty Of Goodness!
One of the other things I do a lot in terms of decor is use fruits and vegetables. If you missed our blog last week on Veggies & Gardens For Your Own Farm-To-Table you’ll want to check that out because it’s got inspiring photos of gorgeous vegetable centerpieces you can duplicate at home!
Speaking Of Inspiration…
As you may or may not know, I run another company as a business coach. It’s called… wait for it… The Profit Goddess because, yes, I’m a goddess of all things! Anyhoo, every week on social media we offer up inspiring quotes and sayings. Staying positive is another critical part of balanced living and I’ve always found inspiring messages help keep me on track. (Better than a kick in the pants, right?!) They also make me more grateful for all that I have. Sharing your gratitude is something I think is really important. In a world where the media tends to focus on violence, it’s easy to become troubled and negative. Reflecting on the good in your world and all you’re grateful for helps lighten the spirit and restore a happy heart!
The Four Elements
The Greeks believed that the universe is formed by four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Each of the four elements have defining traits just like our personalities. Some of us are quiet, others loud (yours truly!), some peeps are more pragmatic, other people are more emotional. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and each of the twelve zodiac signs correspond to one of the four elements. Mine is FIRE! (#nobigsurprise) People who are born to a fire sign are passionate, natural born leaders. But they are also obsessive and easily irritated. Which I confess, I’m working on! Ancient wisdom seekers thought it was important to know what element you were so that you could be more self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve a state of balance.
Healthy Habits For Balanced Living
We all know about eating right. (I’m still not sure why vodka and donuts are NOT on that list! Because they DO make me happy!) Aside from growing and eating more vegetables, which we talked about last week, hydration is a HUGE part of feeling good and staying energetic. Most of us drink when we’re thirsty, but that just isn’t enough. Everyone whines about water being, well, flavorless, but that is easily solved with fruit infused waters. A few slices of lemon or oranges and you have delicious tasting hydration. For parties, I always offer self-serve dispensers with fun combinations like strawberries and basil or blood orange and thyme! And, here’s something that will make you happy, hydration doesn’t all have to come from water! There are foods that help keep you hydrated as well! Tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon are just a few.
Last But Not Least, Stop Putting Chemicals On Your Skin!
Air pollution. Water pollution. Hormones in our dairy. Antibiotics in our meat. Isn’t anything natural anymore?! I mean, I try to buy only organic foods, but we’re exposed to other chemicals just through normal living. So why put more in your body? Read the back of your jar of face moisturizer or hand cream and you won’t be able to pronounce most of the ingredients they contain! Switching to cosmetics that are made from fruits and botanical ingredients is a better way to go if you ask me! My friend recently started a natural skin care line. If you want to see me in a bathrobe, listening to Rick Springfield, trying out her products, watch my recent video!