It’s ALL about B A L A N C E

When I came home from Anastasia Gavalas‘ – who you may recognize from OHH’s One Healthy MomHamptons Wellness Week lecture, “Rebalance Your Family,” I felt more balanced instantly!

balanceAlthough I don’t have a family of my own yet, (though we are adding an addition in a few weeks…more to come on that!) better balance is definitely a goal of mine and Anastasia’s insight is valuable for anyone and everyone. I preach about balance a lot and clearly, I want to practice what I preach, so better balance is a huge goal of mine, in 2014 and beyond!

Practicing and attaining balance makes us happier and healthier human beings. Balance isn’t necessarily permanent, but the feeling of balance is one we can learn to continuously strive for. Whether we have two things to do or 39, it’s about our approach. It’s about US. If we don’t first work on ourselves, everything around us will feel unbalanced too.

When we feel balanced, everything is more doable, things naturally fall into place. We go with the tides instead of against them. We’re able to feel good about what we get done and not beat ourselves up for what can probably wait until tomorrow. We’re content and realistic, and in turn, more present and efficient. Sounds good, right? So, how do we get there?

One of Anastasia’s top tips, which I’ll share with you, takes just ten minutes a day, and makes a huge difference. Get up in the morning and ask yourself: What is most important for me to accomplish today and what will make me feel happy if I get it done? What do I need to do today that will allow me to go to bed tonight feeling content and balanced? What are my top priorities today?

I LOVE this strategy and I’m going to incorporate it into my morning routine starting TODAY. I see it as a combination of list-making and meditating, rolled into one (which is good for a busy person seeking balance!) It’s not about making a never-ending to-do list, it’s about weeding out the ‘stuff’ and surfacing the big priorities. It’s not about the number of checks on the list, it’s about accomplishing the tasks that will make us truly satisfied at the end of the day. Personally, I’m making to-do lists left and right. I have pads, post-its, and pens all over the house and a list of notes on my phone. Anastasia reminded me that it’s not about ALL of these tasks, big, small, immediate, future, etc. It’s about the top priorities that turn a busy day into an accomplished day, a successful day, a BALANCED day.

Maybe one day, what comes to mind is going to three meetings, making 10 phone calls, and writing two articles for work. Maybe another day, it’s just attending a long yoga class or spending the day with family, reconnecting with a friend, or taking a walk outside. Depending on what your mind, body, and soul really need to feel balanced, those things will make it to the top of the list. I love it, thanks Anastasia!

One Healthy Breakdown: Life really IS ALL about B A L A N C E.

One Healthy Mom

Enjoy this refreshingly honest and inspirational interview with local family life teacher, parenting coach, and amazing mother of five, Anastasia Gavalas!

meee1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mom, family life teacher, author of WING IT: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent, and founder of the WING IT PROJECT. I live in Bridgehampton with my husband and five children (ages 15, 13, 11, 9, & 7.) Helping parents make life with children easier is such gratifying work and making a difference in the world through the WING IT PROJECT is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I live my life in a wholehearted way where I am happy with myself and confident with the choices I make.

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2. How did ‘life as you know it’ come to be?

After I had my 2nd child I felt exhausted and couldn’t get out of bed. I was quickly diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, an autoimmune disease, that had been manifesting in my body for years. I took the prescribed medicine and it just didn’t help much. I kept plugging along but felt overwhelmed and emotionally drained. In 2003, we decided to move to the Hamptons and found out we were expecting baby #4… surprise! With all that was going on, on top of not having family or friends around for support, I quickly learned that I needed to change. I began searching for alternative methods that would support what I knew in my heart was best. I tried acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and a new overall wellness approach for my health and for my family. It was out of necessity that I found a more organic way of living life. This included making my well-being a priority as well as teaching my children to be more independent.

3. What’s something you overcame and how?

My need to do everything perfectly and my fear-based reactions. Once I was able to recognize that the display of the “perfect” children or my role as the “perfect” mother was wearing me out and preventing me from living authentically, I let those ideas go. Perfection is based on other people’s judgements. I made a decision to separate myself from the concept of perfection to be happy. I practiced meditation starting ten minutes a day, carved out me-time every single day, and (just like I explain in the chapter, “Build Your Village” in WING IT) I began to surround myself with more supportive people who encourage my growth.

4. What is your favorite workout? Favorite family activity?

Dancing is one of my favorite things to do and I mix it with a brisk walk a few times a week. I get bored easily with exercising so I need to change my workout routine up all the time. As far as a family we like to swim (although 2 out of 5 kids hate the beach – not sure how that happened?!?) take bike rides, and go skiing. I have high-energy kids who are constantly moving and ready for adventure at all times so, we’re always moving & grooving.

5. As a career woman, mother, and wife, and how do you maintain balance in your life?

First, I redefined the concept of balance. Standing upright at all times isn’t realistic or worth the effort. But, remaining focused on a goal with a trusting, more joyful attitude will help balance appear in the most challenging of roles. I believe balance is about remaining flexible and knowing that, just as the mightiest of trees will bend and sway with the winds of world, so will mothers who strive for balance. At the end of the day, people just have to appreciate the flexibility and positions experienced.

5. Any great healthy tips for busy moms?

Yes, take time for yourself: get enough sleep, eat good food, sit down and take time to meditate so you can be the woman you were meant to be and the best mom for your children.

6. What food items do you always keep in the house?

Fresh vegetables and fruits – organic as much as possible, olive oil, different cheeses, good meats, gluten-free foods, and always a bottle of chilled champagne for those special occasions…because moms are people too!

7. What is your favorite indulgence?

Drinking tea in the morning, sleeping in (that’s happened maybe three times in the past 10 years… but, a girl can dream!) and long hot showers (alone.)

8. How do you make health a priority in your family without going overboard?

Practicing being healthy is a lifestyle choice. We spend a lot of time outdoors. I talk to my kids about nutritional balance. Four of my children are responsible for cooking one night per week. So, every night, we have a really good, balanced, colorful meal. Children learn by what they observe and I try to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle with the choices I make instead of badgering them with health talks.

9. What is your FAVORITE thing about living in the Hamptons?

The ease of living out here. There is an organic way to life. I love the diversity of people and the experiences it provides. It is a really special place to live with the most amazingly kind people. It’s a great place to raise children because you can be as tuned-in to what’s happening or tuned-out of the busyness of life as much as you want to be.

1094944_578046278901282_1736507745_nOne Healthy Breakdown: Love, laugh, play, learn, and live your life for YOU.