In 2011 I took a couple of months off from my work and studies to travel the world.
My travels ended with an unforeseen break up in fall 2011. To be honest I felt very puzzled because all my future plans and goals were suddenly gone.
I felt that I needed answers before returning home, therefore I decided to spend 1 month in Bali just to practice self-care by trying out various yoga and meditation techniques, doing palm readings, tarot cards, chakra balancing and even asked Ketut Liyer for advice.
If you haven´t heard from Ketut Liyer before, he is the medicine man and healer from Eat Pray Love where Elizabeth Gilbert (in the movie Julia Roberts) went to receive advice after her break up.
Eat, pray, love has a bunch of parallels to my life and I just love the book and movie! If you haven´t read or seen it yet I can highly recommend it, especially when you are single right now. It´ll definitely give you some hope that good times are coming!
Anyways it was awesome to meet Ketut and to receive advice from him.
Beside Ketut Liyer I also decided to take a traditional batik class from a man called Nyoman, who was my neighbor in Bali.
I enjoyed his batik class and loved talking to him.
He told me that he was getting an offer to teach in the city for a quite huge amount of money and that he turned it down and decided to stay in the village instead and to stick with less money there.
The reason for his choice was the balance.
If you have been to Bali you´ll know what I mean when I say that the traditional Balinese are balanced. If you haven´t been there yet I briefly explain what I mean by it.
The majority of Balinese people are Hindus. They start their days by giving offerings to their gods for example in form of flowers & rice placed in a self-made little basket made out of palm leaves.
They light an incent stick every morning and go into their temple. Bali smells so great! ( I love incent sticks! ) Each house has its own little temple in the backyard. They are thankful for their lives and for the new day, every day.
They are giving thanks also in the evening for the day that just is about to end.
In between, they work and spend time with their family as well as time with themselves.
Nyoman decided to stick to his balanced way of life instead of giving it up for money.
If he would choose the new job in the city, he would need to leave the house very early in the morning, wouldn´t be able to make the offerings, spend time with his family and have alone time.
It would be just about waking up early, driving a few hours to work and coming home in the evening. This would be very imbalanced in his eyes and the reason why he turned it down.
This made me realize how imbalanced we live in the western world and made me think what we could do to bring more balance into our lives.
I came up with 5 strategies I want to share with you which you can implement into your daily life for more balance, no matter where you live.
1. Create your personal morning ritual
We don´t have so strong traditional rituals in the western world like the Balinese have in Bali, but we can create our own rituals.
Why not light a candle or incent stick every morning and start the day with giving gratitude?
Establishing a morning ritual means consciously creating time every morning just for yourself right after waking up.
Hal Elrod has a great formula in his book the miracle morning where he suggests implementing the SAVERS method into the morning ritual.
SAVERS stands for:
Silence helps to reconnect with your soul. Therefore you can use any meditation technique. If you haven´t meditated before or want an inspiration read my quick intro post on how to meditate at home.
Our minds are by nature more focused on the negative rather than on the positive. This helped our ancestors in the stone age to recognize and to react to dangerous situations more quickly. This helped to protect their lives.
We don´t live in the stone age anymore, but our brains haven´t evolved that much since then.
Therefore our brains are still wired in a way that they focus more on the negative rather than on the positive.
This natural behavior of our brains can not only protect us from dangerous situations but can also hold us back to live our full potential.
Our negative thoughts are fueled by the experiences we see and hear in the news and in our surroundings. The news in the tv, newspaper, and radio are most often negative.
It´s not that nothing positive happens in the world. It´s just that we are more aligned by nature with the negative and that we adopt the negative news more than the positive.
Most of the negative thoughts and fears we have today is without any reason. We fear the unknown and stand in our own way by thinking negative thoughts.
Using affirmations helps our brains to focus on the positive.
Louise Hay is the queen of positive affirmations.
She created a variety of products (books, audiobooks, card deck, affirmation coloring book)
dedicated to positive affirmations.
Power Thoughts 365 Daily Affirmations by Louise Hay
Everyday Positive Thinking by Louise Hay
The 3rd part of a successful morning ritual according to Hal Elrod is using visualizations.
This means visualizing your most desired dream/goal in a way as if you´ve already reached it. Imagine as if it would be already your reality.
A vision board is a very helpful tool when you are taking consciously time to visualize your future.
Read also the post on how to manifest your dreams, to learn about manifesting your desires.
My personal favorite coaches for visualization and manifestation of dreams are Lisa Nichols (one of the Co-authors of the book the secret) and Esther Hicks.
Choose your favorite exercise and implement it into your daily routine. May it be yoga, dancing, some stretching, pilates, running or something else.
The main thing here is to get your body moving. Wake up your body with your favorite exercising routine and let your energy flow.
I personally love Yoga and even if I don´t feel like exercising at all, at least a few sun salutations I try to do every morning.
Last of the 6 pillars is reading.
Choose an uplifting, inspiring book and read a couple of pages every morning before you start working.
If you are too sleepy in the morning to read a book- no excuses! Go for the audiobook version 😉 This is actually what I started to do this year.
Now you have all 6 steps and resources to dive in deeper to create an awesome morning ritual!
Using these 6 pillars every morning will naturally help you to connect with your body, mind, and soul.
Starting the day with dedicating time to nurturing your mind, body and soul will have a long-lasting energizing effect on your entire day.
2. Schedule in down times
Scheduling in downtimes into your daily life is crucial for a healthy work-life balance.
A rule of thumb for scheduling in downtime is “ The more stress you have the more downtime you should schedule in for self-care”.
It might sound contra productive at first.
However the more you feel stress and overwhelm, the more your body and mind will thank you that you are appreciating yourself.
Once a Buddhist monk told me:
“The less time you have for meditation, the more you should meditate”
In your case, it doesn´t have to necessarily be meditation. It can be anything which makes you feel connected and relaxed. It may be a massage, manicure, pedicure, an appointment at a hairdresser or going out with your girlfriends or just sitting on the couch and sipping tea and reading a book or watching an inspiring movie with your significant other.
Schedule in time regularly for self-care!
3. Get enough sleep
Make sure to get enough rest and high-quality sleep.
Sometimes it´s just not worth watching tv just for the sake of tuning out.
In this case, oftentimes it´s more effective to get some good high-quality sleep.
Better just go to bed with a great inspirational book and get some rest.
If you don’t know what to read check out my book list full with amazing books for inspiration.
4. Silence your mind
Silence your mind by avoiding unnecessary, negative information from the outside.
Rather look/check in with yourself and find out what you truly desire and want right now.
Meditate or go to a yoga class after work to relax and leave the stress behind.
Enjoy a cup of tea or go for a walk in nature and simply unplug after your work day.
5. Plan ahead
Use a planner or a journal to plan ahead.
I`ve to admit that I`m kind of obsessed with bullet journaling, but it really can be any type of planner. Digital or physical it really doesn´t matter.
Just plan somewhere!
Schedule appointments and events as well as also free time activities for every week.
Not only plan a week ahead but make at least a 5-year plan for yourself.
Ask yourself following questions:
- What are my dreams and goals?
- Where do I want to be in 5 years?
- How do I want to live in 5 years?
- What do I want to achieve within the next 5 years? Break it down into yearly, monthly and weekly goals.
If you have trouble figuring out what your dreams/goals are I recommend to read my post Level 10 life as a starting point.
Life is not only about work. Don´t let the destiny decide what´s going to happen with you in the future.
Take responsibility for your life, plan it and go for your dreams.
Use your free time for relaxation and to turn your personal goals and dreams into reality.
I believe that you can live a more balanced life when you set your focus not only on work, but also on self care and on your bigger life vision.
Follow these 5 steps to invite more balance into your life asap.
- CREATE YOUR PERSONAL MORNING RITUAL
- HAVE DOWN TIMES EACH DAY TO RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF OR TO SPEND IT WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
- GET ENOUGH HIGH-QUALITY SLEEP
- SILENCE YOUR MIND AND UNPLUG REGULARLY
- PLAN YOUR DAYS AHEAD TO REDUCE OVERWHELM
With these 5 strategies, you can create for yourself a Balinese like balanced life even in the western world.
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What are your best strategies for a balanced life? Let me know in the comments below!