Life's biggest and most constant juggling act: finding balance. The delicate equilibrium between work and play, growth and contentment, and other dynamic aspects of our lives is essential for our overall well-being. As the seasons change, summer presents a unique opportunity to cultivate balance in every dimension of our lives. It's a time to reflect on our purpose and values, prioritize relationships, and nurture our physical and mental well-being in the sun. Join us as we explore the art of balance during the summer season and discover the joys it brings.
Embrace the Pace of Summer
Updated June 29, 2023.
Balance From Rest
Reflect on What Matters:
Summer offers a chance to slow down and reflect on what truly matters to us. Take the time to reconnect with your purpose and values. Emphasize relationships and cherish the opportunities the season brings, such as vacations, family outings, outdoor activities, and enjoying the beauty of sunrises and sunsets. By aligning your actions with your values, you can find greater fulfillment and balance in your life.
Nurture Physical Well-being:
The summer months provide an ideal backdrop for enhancing our physical well-being. While incorporating exercise is crucial, it's equally important to prioritize rest and recovery. Rest days are essential for preventing overtraining, reducing stress, improving attention span, and enhancing sleep quality. Whether you're new to exercising or an experienced fitness enthusiast, give yourself permission to slow down. Consider these alternatives:
- Embrace a slower pace: Focus on the tempo of your movements during cardiovascular, resistance, or flexibility training. Slowing down allows muscles to spend more time under tension and helps refine control and form.
- Try yoga or meditation: Engaging in guided yoga or meditation practices offers both physical and mental benefits. These practices strengthen from within, encourage self-healing techniques, provide quiet contemplation time, and promote gentle and intentional movements to aid muscle recovery and mobility.
- Embrace a complete rest day: Listen to your body and honor its needs. Differentiate between feeling unmotivated and genuinely requiring a day off to recharge. Assess your willpower, attention span, and overall well-being. Sometimes, a deliberate workout can be beneficial, while other times, allowing your body and mind to relax is the best choice.
Embrace the Pace of Summer:
Summer encourages us to enjoy nature's bounty. Take advantage of the season's abundance by incorporating more outdoor movement into your routine. Engage in activities like hiking, swimming, or cycling. Visit local farmers' markets to explore the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available. These activities not only support physical health but also foster a deeper connection with the natural world and your community.
As summer unfolds, it presents an important opportunity to find balance in our lives. By reflecting on our purpose and values, prioritizing relationships, and nurturing our physical and mental well-being, we can embrace the joys of the season! Remember to slow down, listen to your body, and create space for rest and renewal. Find harmony in the pace of summer, allowing it to guide you towards personal growth and a greater sense of balance.
Balance from Movement
Let’s take it one step further and look at creating better physical balance, core stability, and more through strength training. Rather than assuming doing more is better, consider variety, consistency, and creating a challenging environment. Unilateral movements, or movements that focus on one side of the body at a time, are fantastic for any strength training regimen! Although we are relatively symmetrical beings, our bodies still have a dominant side and have reacted to various stressors from the past or present leading to a “favorite” side.
For example, try one of these exercises in your next workout.
- single-leg deadlift
- single-arm overhead press
- lunges with a single-arm tricep extension
- bird dog (tabletop or plank variation)
Benefits include increased joint stability, neuromuscular coordination, and bilateral strength. Incorporating unilateral movements has also been linked to improving size symmetry and sports-related skills, as well as decrease the risk for injury and speed injury recovery. Creating equal strength around your body develops true strength and stability for your lifestyle now and as you age, which is especially important as our risk for injury increases as we age – mostly from lack of balance and strength.
While one side is being challenged muscularly, the other side experiences a neural effect. Indirect stimulation of the non-working side of the body via working the opposite side improves strength in the other area. The more we stimulate and support our nervous system, the more neurological benefits we can experience. A healthy nervous system can greatly improve the function of multiple areas in your life—aging, circulation, brain function, and digestion included!