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12 Aug 2016

Life Of Pie-Chart

Life is a balancing act. Some days I feel like superwoman, some I feel like a sloth. Sometimes we go through hurt and disappointment, other times life is a series of elation. Sometimes we're fuelled with energy and light, sometimes all we need is a foot rub and Netflix binge. And although life is inevitably filled with ups and downs, keeping an eye on your priorities and making sure your overall health and wellbeing are taken care of means that the bumps in the road are smaller, shorter, and more easily managed.

7 Areas Of Life To Keep In Check

Physical health is something most of us strive to have. We know it will better our lives and enhance our overall health and so is an aspect a lot of us feel comfortable taking the time to maximise. There are many ways we can optimise our bodily health – from regular exercise and a nutritional diet to supplements and seeking medical attention where needed. It's important to remember that no one lifestyle choice fits the masses and every body has it's own requirements. However, what is one-size-fits-all is the necessity for balanced and well-rounded nutrients (aka good food) and physical exertion (aka exercise). What we decide to put into and do with our bodies is going to affect our lives at large.

 Ask yourself: What can I do today to improve my physical health?

Mental health is something that's historically been overlooked and, although is now being more openly spoken about, is still something a lot of people struggle to fully understand and therefore conquer. Our mind is our compass – where the mind goes, energy flows – and yet often gets neglected in favour of the social or monetary aspects of our lives. But mental health plays a leading role in every aspect of our lives including our social, psychological, and emotional wellbeing, how we make daily decisions, interact with others, feel about ourselves, and handle stress. It's interlinked with every part of our lives and without it we would not be able to function. 
It can seem a daunting task to tackle the mind – especially our own – but adding a few simple methods into our day can help trigger better self-care and understanding and transform our lives. Mindfulness and mediation are great tools that can be used any place at any time. They're simple ways to check-in with yourself and make sure you're on the right track. Spend a few minutes a day focusing on your breath, noticing your thoughts, and discarding what's unhealthy whilst encouraging what makes you smile.

Top tip: Do something today that is just for you. Something that makes you feel good.

Spiritual health encompasses our feelings and beliefs about our world so has a great affect on our emotions and the way we interact with our surroundings. Do you find yourself filled with negative thoughts? Do you reach the end of your fuse easily? Do you hold grudges? Do you like who you are? Do you like the world you're in? BIG questions, yes, but ones that shape our lives and control our days. If you often find yourself in a slump because you're disappointed about something or in someone, you feel like you're knocking your head against a wall trying to get through to someone, you reach spikes of anger or upset on your commute, with your business partner, or at home... it's time to focus on your spiritual growth.
Take some time to figure out what is important to you and what you want more and less of in your life. This will probably be a littler trickier than it first seems but, trust me, it's worth sticking with. Write it down, sketch it up, shout it out... do whatever you have to do, but get straight in your head what you want more of out of life. Then edit out of your life what you no longer need – whether it's possessions, commitments, or people. Keep in mind what feeds your soul, and take a hold of that. Everything else must go.

Ask yourself: What feeds my soul... and what doesn't?

As an introvert, I find this part of my life requires a little extra thought and determination to keep up to speed. I'm quite content to be alone for days, even weeks, on end and thrive on my own company. However, I find that being social keeps the brain active in ways that being alone cannot. If you're stuck in your own head too much of the time you don't get to discover things from another perspective, hear other opinions, make different judgements, or try things you otherwise wouldn't have. Spending time alone is very important for me in my life, but being around other people also has it's benefits and although I instinctively want to spent time alone, it's worth the extra effort to be around other people and I always leave with new insights and ideas (to mull over by myself). 

Ask yourself: What new expereinces have I had this week? / What has someone else taught me?

In this society having money is almost vital. Rent, food, electricity, clothing, transport, hobbies... they all require payment of some sort, let alone the more indulgent items in life – eating out, holidays, phones, laptops, decor, gym memberships, tuition fees. Making sure we have enough to cover the costs of our modern lives in perhaps the area most of us focus on. Although it's healthy to keep tabs on our expenditures, make sure you're progressing and not just panicking! Make a note of what money comes in and what goes out. If you want a larger income, think of ways to make that happen. Just remember not to compromise any of the other six areas of your life in pursuit of this one.
Another option is to downsize. Instead of focusing on gaining more money, take a look at what outgoings you can eliminate – do you really need a TV, magazine subscription, or that new pair of shoes? Could you take up running outdoors instead of on a treadmill? How about making coffee at home rather than ordering one at Starbucks? You'd be surprised at just how much money you can save over time when you cut down on the seemingly superfluous.

Top tip: Whenever you get your bank card out, think to yourself "do I really need this?".

Many people equate job with career and although they can be one in the same, they are often not. A job is something you do to earn money, whereas a career is something you develop over time to embrace your passion and to, yes, earn money. Where jobs are singularly focused on finances, your career is something that transforms your life, encompasses your true meaning, absorbs your creativity and unique talents. A lot of us get stuck in the rut of working a 9-5 and although that may be enough for some, a lot of people find themselves – if not now, eventually – yearning for something more. But when 5 out of 7 days a week are spent working for someone else, when is there time to invest in ourselves, let alone a new venture?
The key is to make it a priority. Make a list (can you tell I'm a promoter of list-making?), mood-board, collage, spider-diagram... hell, even a Pinterest board of what makes you tick. Take time to really think about it and find what's truly important in your life. It may be writing, travel, art, human rights, animal rights, fashion, interior design... whatever it is, make it yours and make it count. If you're resenting spending time on it, it's probably not your calling. We don't always get it right the first time round (this blog use to be beauty-focused!), but keep digging... it's totally worth it. Then do all you can to make it something that shines.

Ask yourself: Where do my passions lie?

Our energy is what gives us our vitality and strength. If our energy is depleted, all other areas of our life begin to collapse, too. To remain energetic doesn't necessarily mean having the physical energy to get up and dance (although that can totally be part of it), but more the emotional and personal energy to strive for what we want, create the lives we desire, and maintain what is healthy. It's a pretty simple, yet often neglected, part of our lives. Do something every day that fuels you, whether it's grabbing a 10 minutes tea break, reading a chapter of your book, creating something with your hands, walking your dog, or having a bubble bath... anything goes! There is no right or wrong, just what fuels you and what depletes you... which can be deceptively tricky to keep tabs on.
Learn to look inwards and notice when you're neglecting your soul (this sounds whimsical and a bit wishy-washy, but it's totally life-transforming when you get the hang of it). Are you keeping your passions up? Do you need some "me-time"? Are you stuck in a rut? Do whatever it takes to keep that energy barometer up and make sure you're your number one priority – I can't emphasise this enough.

Top tip: If you're feeling drained, spend some time outdoors with yourself to refuel.

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