Back to Balance 1/14

parking.lotJanuary 2014

It just so happens that the gym at which I am a member is located in the biggest mall in the country. At one time it was the biggest mall in the world. I’m not bragging or complaining. Well, maybe a little. What I’m doing is making excuses.

You see, when Boxing Day hits (the Canadian equivalent to Black Friday) you have to get up before the birds and fight for parking at the mall (and sometimes merchandise). So that’s one reason why my exercise regime was not quite up to snuff during Christmas 2013. I am not a fighter.

One of the reasons I didn’t eat my usual quantity of vegetables is I because I ate more sugar. Well, it’s not a direct connection, as in substituting one for the other, but I’m pretty sure there is an indirect connection. I can only eat so much.

Not only that, I stayed up late during the holidays. It’s probably because I wasn’t working, did some entertaining, had some fun and felt just a little bit bratty and rebellious. Yup, I was pretty much living on the edge at year’s end.

Given I’m pretty committed to my health, I’m not worried about any of this because I’m happily back on track. And I’m much happier when I’m on track then when I’m not. Looking back I probably wouldn’t change much, except maybe the location of my gym. I would definitely change that.

For those of you who are easily thrown off your game and who reluctantly return to balance, I’d like to provide five points to restore your confidence and your healthy habits.

1. Put the holidays and resulting behavior in perspective. The holidays are the most challenging time for everyone. Three weeks of ‘naughty’ don’t wipe out 49 weeks of ‘nice.’

2. Forgive yourself for the behaviors you’re not happy about this Christmas. If it has resulted in a little weight gain, deal with it, but don’t panic. If you’ve maintained your weight, consider yourself successful. If you lost weight I hope you weren’t down with the flu.

3. Forget perfect balance. It doesn’t exist, or it doesn’t last. Let that idea go. Get skilled at monitoring your balance and resulting stress levels and adjusting accordingly. Get comfortable with ebb and flow.

4. Learn to listen to your self and tell the truth. Recognizing when enough is enough requires honesty and the ability to say no. This will help you be in balance and prevent exhaustion and burnout, or colds and flu.

5. Practice “everything in moderation including moderation” all year round. That means you’re not being good or being bad. You’re just being. That’s reasonable and sustainable. Perfection is not.

The more you practice these concepts the more resilient you will be. Resiliency protects you. As long as you always bounce back, the sooner the better – that’s what’s important.

January is about renewal. What a great opportunity! I’m grateful to be back to my regular gym schedule. Now it’s the New Years resolution crowd filling the parking lot. But I’m not complaining. I’m with you all the way.