If you would have asked me three years ago what it takes to live a “balanced” lifestyle after college, my answer most DEFINITELY would have been very different than what I’m about to give you now. It’s pretty crazy to see how my mindset has shifted in just a few years. I would say much of that is due to trial & error, along with continued research and solid advice from podcasts or fellow bloggers! Either way, I feel as though I’m at a pretty solid point in my life, so wanted to share any wisdom or advice gained in the past years with all of you. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring as I continue to grow, love, and experience more!
1) Beat the Sunday Scaries. Now this may sound ridiculous and I don’t even know if I’ve quite mastered this, BUT I will tell you that beating the Sunday scaries is the best thing you can do for yourself to start out each week on a positive note. I’m telling you, it all starts on Sunday – not Monday as most would assume.
My tip? Make the most of your Sunday and avoid stressing about work, school, or whatever it is you have going on beginning Monday. Think positively, enjoy the day, end relaxed, get a solid sleep, and wake up feeling rejuvenated and EXCITED (key word here) for the new week ahead of you!
How you ask? Here’s my idea of a perfect Sunday …wake up, sip some coffee & go out for a nice run. Come back and prep yourself a HUGE healthy breakfast or check out your nearest cafe to treat yourself. Personally, I love exploring new local health-food cafes during the weekend. From there – the balls in your court – do something active, go for a hike OR if shopping is your vice, then do that if it makes you happy! I typically end the day with a food shopping trip & I try to spend NO more than 1.5 hours on meal prepping for the week. I love ending the day with a calming yoga session in my living room. This is the best way to go to bed in a positive mood. Oh and don’t check your work emails right before bed!
2) Eat Intuitively. If you haven’t checked out my past few posts on intuitive eating, then I highly suggest you read up on it! Long story short, I have certainly spent a lot of my time throughout college and post-college, trying out new “diets” or wellness “fads”. Though these may work for some people, we’re all different and one persons way of living is not necessarily going to be the answer for everyone else. Of course, it took me 3+ years to discover this. That all being said, I finally gave in to eating intuitively.
“Intuition” as defined by Google is “the ability to understand something immediately, or a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.” In it’s simplest form, it means that if I’m craving ice cream, then I’m going to go for it. Same goes for a crunchy & hearty salad. Or fish. Or a glass of wine!! Or WHATEVER it may be. It’s natural human instinct and that’s something that you shouldn’t ever refrain your body from. It’s certainly a mindset change, but once you fall into it, you’ll find more joy in eating and less worrying over how many calories you’re consuming.
3) Work out Intuitively. So similar to above, I truly believe that working out should be intuitive as well. Like eating, this was a pretty challenging adjustment for me. Coming from a strict, routine running career for 8+ years, I was afraid that any change in my workout routine would quite frankly, make me fat. Of course, this was naive thinking. But, when you come from D1 college running where everyday, Monday-Sunday, was planned for you, it’s hard to let go of that routine.
What I’ve learned is that it’s SO much more important to listen to your body then keep yourself in such a strict routine. I should have learned this sooner having suffered from on and off running-related injuries. Regardless, I’m now in such a great place, where I wake up in the morning and decide what I’m feeling versus going to bed with a set plan. This simple shift in how I work out has helped my body and my mind recover.
What does my typically workout routine look like right now? I just signed up for a half marathon in the fall, so my running/training will likely pick up! I’ve been running about 3-4 times a week, anywhere between 5-8 miles. On the other days, I’ll either hop on the spin bike or the stair master for 30-40 minutes. I’ll focus on strengthening my legs, arms, and core (all on separate days). I also have been incorporating a mix of yoga & pilates into my routine at least 2-3 times a week for about ~ 20 minutes. Lastly, I usually take a day off every other week. PLEASE note that again, one persons routine, isn’t necessarily the right routine for you. This is ALWAYS subject to shift based on how I’m feeling. If I’m extremely tired, I will take an extra day off where necessary. The most important thing is to LISTEN to your body.
4) Take risks and challenge yourself. I think the biggest thing my boyfriend and I are struggling with right now is not knowing where we will be living in a year and what we’ll be doing for work. We have so many ideas of where we’d love to live, travel, etc. but we also know that given circumstances, it’s impossible for us to plan a year ahead right now. So much can change in just a year, so rather than living in fear or uncertainty, it’s important to turn that into excitement of the unknown. It’s knowing that so much can change in just one year and you truly need to live day-by-day to enjoy those moments. In the end, you need to take opportunities that are granted to you, make the most of them, challenge yourself and know that taking risks can either fail or can turn into something greater than you could have ever imagined!
5) Think Positively and Love YOURSELF. I know this sounds super hippie dippy, but if there’s one thing I’ve taken away lately, it starts with loving and respecting yourself. It’s OKAY to be selfish and do things for you. We were all put on this earth for a different reason. We were all given different looks, shapes, and sizes for a reason.
Start embracing what you have and work with it! I honestly believe that the notion of thinking positively stars with self-love. At that point, your perspective becomes more humbling and gratifying. You can begin identifying the impact you can make and whatever your greater purpose is or may be one day. Just going into each day with a smile can make all the difference! Oh and PS – sometimes it takes just downing a cup of coffee to get to that state 🙂
That’s my advice to you AND me! Though it’s taken me some time to get to this point, it doesn’t mean it stops here for me. Life’s all about growing and learning and I hope to continue doing that year over year.
I would love to hear how all of you practice a balanced lifestyle! Please share and comment below!