Monday, 5 March 2018

What should a healthy and balanced lifestyle entail?

It is necessary for children and teens to live healthy in order to perform their best.

A balanced lifestyle is one where you are healthy and happy in all aspects of your life – your physical well-being, emotional state, intellectual abilities and overall happiness and fulfilment. Having a balanced lifestyle enables you to perform your best and to live a life of bliss and excitement.

A balanced lifestyle will require you to find an equilibrium between all of your activities – this means you need to prioritise your life in such a way that you spend enough time on each important activity. What you also need to understand about ‘balance’ is that you will need to adjust your priorities and reschedule things every once in a while. During the exams, you will have to spend less time with friends or other leisure activities and more time focusing on studying. Be conscious of your goals. Know when and how to re-prioritise your activities so that you can still reach your goals. “Balance is the key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat and feel all require awareness and through awareness we can grow.” - Koi Fresco.

Why is balance important?

Having a balanced lifestyle is your best chance at becoming the happiest, healthiest and most fulfilled person you can possibly be. There is no point in working 24/7, but you are getting sick all the time or not building relationships with your family and friends. There is also no point in only watching TV and spending time with friends, when at the end of high school all your peers go off to university but you couldn’t get in. Balancing your life will give you the opportunity to become your best self!

Know what you want.

Knowing what your goals are will help you to easily determine what you want and what your priorities should be. If you want to get into a good university, you will have to prioritise your studies above watching TV or hanging out at the mall. If you want to lose weight you will have to prioritise eating well and working out above being a lazy couch potato that plays computer games all day. It is as simple as writing down your goals and then setting up a schedule to achieve those goals. See our 3rd blogpost ‘4 Tips to help you set up a schedule for a successful school year’. Plan your life around your values and priorities and you will feel more balanced than ever before.

Don’t put too much on your plate.

Don’t feel you need to change the world on the same day you decide that is your goal. It will take a few years of dedicated hard work and perseverance before you really stand out and can make a difference. Things can happen overnight, but the foundation on which you build your dreams must be solid! Remember you cannot do everything at once. Choose four to seven activities that is really important to you and that will make you happy in life – then focus on that and excel doing it! For example:

  1. One day you might want to become an engineer, that’s why school work is very important to you. Adjust your learning schedule to focus on mathematics, science and technology.
  2. You are an athlete, so you prioritise training hard eating, eating right and taking care of your body.
  3. You love playing the guitar, that’s way you practise at least 1 hour a day.
  4. Your family is your most important support system, that’s way you prioritise spending Saturdays and Sundays with family.
  5. You and your family might be very religious, therefore you attend church every Sunday and you prioritise studying scriptures every day.
  6. You value your close relationships with your friends, so you make sure you remind them they are important to you.  Spend time with them at school whenever it is possible.
If there are other activities you enjoy, like watching TV or playing games on your phone, it is fine to do those things, but only if you have already taken care of your top priorities.

Exactly how much time do you need to spend on each activity?

The exact amount of time you need to spend on an activity will depend on your objective. 

Physical health will require an average of one hour of moderate exercise to maintain your health. However, if you want to become more fit and healthier than you were before, you will either have to increase the intensity of your exercise or the amount of time spent on it, or even both.

As a guideline for children, Harvard School of Public Health wrote in an article ‘Physical activity guidelines: How much exercise do you need?’ about the necessary time children should spend on physical activities:

“Children and adolescents should get at least 1 hour or more a day of physical activity in age-appropriate activities, spending most of that engaged in moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic activities. They should partake in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least three days of the week, and include muscle-strengthening and bone strengthening activities on at least three days of the week.”

Mental health will require you pay attention in class, concentrate on your homework and study for tests and exams. If you know the exams are coming up, evaluate the amount of work you have and divide it up so that you get through every subject before the exams come. For example: If you have 4 days to study 30 pages of work for a subject in then split it up. Make sure on day 1 to 3 you study 10 pages each day, so that on the last day before the exam you have enough time to revise your work and look at past- and exemplar exam papers. 

Trust your gut-feel.

Lastly, remember that a balanced lifestyle will depend on how well you know and understand yourself – your physical-, mental- and spiritual needs. If you know you need more time with family because it makes you happy, then spend more time with your family. If your spiritual needs require more time from you because it gives you a more positive outlook on life, then so be it. This is your life and your health is in your hands.

Do you live a balanced lifestyle and how do you keep it up? Tell us about it! If you are a parent, please share with us how you guide your children to lead balanced lives.

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