7 ways to find balance

starting freshman year, i was overwhelmed with such a different environment; i had come from a small school where everyone knew each other well to a huge school teeming with new people every day. my freshman and sophomore years have been a process toward achieving balance, and i finally feel at peace. here are 7 ways that have helped me find my inner calm.

1. minimalism

minimalism, in my own personal definition, is simplicity. simplify, simplify, simplify. simplifying allows you to focus on the areas of your life that are important to you.  it’s pruning, in essence: cutting off the shoots that you could care less about in order to put all energy towards stems that will lead to more fulfilling, greater successes.  that means stop attending  that club just for your resume. that means stop talking to people that bring you down. that means stop checking social media if all you do is compare yourself. start focusing on relationships, passions, hobbies, lofty goals, and today’s goals.

2. exercise

exercise is scientifically proven to make you feel happier, plus you’ll probably start feeling better about your body.  try to get at least an hour of some type of exercise a day, and, even better, try to exercise with friends so that you’re building relationships at the same time and motivating each other.  exercising in the morning is a great start to your day, waking you up, energizing you, burning calories, and getting you moving. for first timers and for those of you hesitant to get started, use the app 8 fit for 6 free guided beginner classes.

3. diet

most of us wish we could drop a few pounds, and watching our diet is the perfect way to do so–to keep us healthy and in shape.  we are what we eat, and it’s important to make sure the foods we put in our bodies will make us feel good long term and help reduce the chance of health risks.  you can count your calories, but sometimes that can be stressful. if possible, simply try to eat nutritious, satisfying foods.  as a good rule of thumb, things that come directly from nature to your table are a go-to. try to avoid processed foods and especially eating out. sometimes cooking your own meals is the only thing you need to get your diet patterns on the right track. and remember to stay hydrated! ( i love the minimalist baker‘s recipes. definitely recommend! and the app loseit! is an easy-to-use calorie counter for those of you interested )

4. relationships

as humans, we crave relationships, and it’s essential for us to connect with others. make sure that, through the busy whirlwind of work or school or extra curriculars, to find time to spend with family and friends. you can even check the boxes of your to do list together! get outside, get moving, share whatever’s burdening you, laugh together…whatever little thing it is that draws you out of your shell, do it! volunteering is a great way to interact with your community as well.  be it the library, the hospital, a senior center, or a homeless shelter, helping someone other than yourself is a truly gratifying experience. ( also dogs are very good at reducing stress levels, according to studies. pet your own or go to your local shelter to cuddle animals. volunteer at the humane society if possible! )

5. organization

try to organize your life in a way that makes it more approachable–even fun!  make lots of lists, physically clean out your house, set a daily agenda, etc.  when your home is physically rid of clutter, i find that you brain can be at peace; when you know you have everything written down, you don’t have to worry about forgetting something important.  i personally love having a place or list for everything, and whatever is excess i discard.  try starting a physical planner ( something like this is a good start; i’m using a similar one for the upcoming school year ), make a bullet journal, put all those loose papers in a binder, or make a command center for your family so everyone is “in the know.”

6. meditation

using yoga or meditation on its own is the perfect way to unwind, destress, and organize your chaotic mind. breathe, be present, and let all your worries disintegrate with every breath. when you take time to detach from your environment, things come into perspective, and you realize the burdens you are carrying might not seem so big after all–or they’re at least easier to manage. sitting somewhere and praying, reading, writing, or sketching is also great meditation. go into the forest, get some fresh air, play your favorite music, etc. for guided meditations, headspace and other apps are a great way to get started.

7. prioritize

this one sounds simple, but not so fast! you may have a to-do list ordered from top to bottom of most important to least, but long-run prioritizing can be much harder. do you value family? friends? your work/school? pets? hobbies? make time for the things you truly enjoy in life to get the most out of it; life flies by all too quickly so its important to start doing what you want with your life now. make memories, collect souvenirs, travel, test recipes, foster relationships, give back to your community. think about what you want for your life 10 or 20 years from now, and start here. start now.


steph kayla.

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