Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox: Finding Balance

Autumn in Central Park
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn is a mosaic of them all." 
 - Stanley Horowitz

Happy Fall 2012!  From New York to Boston to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, fall is my favorite season. There is always a sense of excitement and change in the air.  I love California's warm, sunny days and cool nights - perfect "sleeping weather", and the Northeast's spectacular Indian Summers.  Break out the cashmere and boots!  

And, there are the "back-to's" -- back to school, back to work, back to routine, and back to shopping for a collection of new "stuff" -- a full compliment of school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes and bags. Busy-busy, more-more-more.

We've become a society immersed in creating something new in our lives at a time when nature is winding down. 

No matter where you live in North America, you'll notice lots of changes outdoors.  It's harvest time.  Leaves turn a variety of vivid colors and fall to the ground in the east and midwest.  Southern California braces for the hot, dry winds of the Santa Ana's. The Pacific Northwest gears up for rainy season.  There's generally less humidity in the air and the temperatures cool, as Mother Nature winds down and finds her balance....again.  

Finding balance is essential to a happy and vibrantly healthy life.  Emotional, mental and physical balance are all connected, and are the cornerstone of balanced living.  Not only is good health essential to happiness and well-being, it's also a boost to productivity and success.  A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in meaningful ways.

So, what does "balance" mean?  And how can we achieve it?

There are steps you can take to make changes in your day-to-day schedule to regain control and balance in life.  It's best to make adjustments over time to see what works best.  Once you start, you'll be better able to sort it out and maintain life balance.

You can -
Be honest with yourself about your current health -- We usually don't do much about our health until we're faced with a health crisis.  Good or bad, our  health affects the quality of our work and play.  Take steps to make necessary improvements.  Those in general good health, but know there's room for development, may want to see a nutritionist to create a plan to refine food choices, and/or enlist a trainer to get on track in the gym.  Those with more pressing health issues should consult with a physician regarding blood work and a physical. We're happier when we've had solid sleep, a great workout and healthful nourishment. Be sure to drink plenty of pure water.

Give your brain a rest  --  Make a date with yourself to disconnect from the work world.  This will vary given the level of your responsibilities, but try it for at least a few hours each night.  Turn off the phone, the computer, the TV -- everything that is a distraction.  Spend this time alone to pray or meditate, or to reconnect with family and friends.  Both quiet and laughter are great medicines. 

Just say "NO!" -- Let's face it, we are all over-scheduled. It's almost impossible to manage the demands we've set for ourselves to meet.  Something's gotta give, and it can't be your sanity.  So, take a look at your day-to-day, make a list of essentials and drop everything that saps your energy or doesn't add value to your life.

Let go of energy vampires -- Minimize your exposure to time wasters, chronic complainers and Debbie Downers.  Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive people.  We become the five people we hang out with the most.

Be the Magellan of your world -- Discovery and travel are beautiful things.  If travel isn't possible right now, live in a state of "discovery" by looking at your world through fresh eyes.  Take a new route to work. Be a tourist in your own city. Even when you think you know your city, there's always some place new to explore. Or visit a nearby city and enjoy new activities. Road trip!

Become aware --  Activities abound!  We are only limited by our own imaginations.  Take a class, learn a new language, dance, take photos in the park, listen to new music, read a book, go to a concert, and/or catch that film you've been wanting to see.  Do what makes you feel light and makes your heart sing.

Be good to yourself --  Who doesn't like a day of beauty?  Facial, mani-pedi, massage...and there's no need to leave the house.  Arrange some flowers, pour a glass of wine, play some music, light some candles and fill the tub with salts and your favorite essential oils.  Mmmmmm....

Get close -- Relationships are essential to happy living. Turn off the TV.  Invite a friend over for a favorite meal and some overdue face time. Play a game with the kids. Really connect with those around you. Get to know them, and let them know you.

Laugh! -- Use your sense of humor to play, joke and laugh. Have fun!

Wheel of Life Balance

Start slowly.  Make one change at a time. Adjust your schedule to accommodate you and your priorities.  Slow down.  Breathe!  A little relaxation goes a long way.

My change?  I spend time in the hammock.  During the day.  In the sun. 

A votre sante!

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