Wow, I’ve just done a really hard yoga class, and it got me thinking. 

It’s so hard to achieve that balance isn’t it?  No, I don’t mean tree pose!  I mean achieving the balance between keeping those balls in the air and doing what’s right to feel healthy. 

You’re working hard – long hours, and feeling stressed; you’re rushing around as mum’s (or dad’s!) taxi service for your kids; the house needs cleaning, the car needs servicing, the fence needs painting…the list of balls to keep in the air is endless.

So what do you do?  Do you reach for the wine or the biscuits to make you feel better?  Do you buy some ready meals so you at least have the chance of eating a cooked meal in the 10 minutes you have spare?  Do you just grab a bag of crisps to keep yourself going until you do have some time to eat?  Do you just not eat?

Chances are your busy life is having an impact on your health, and this is where the yoga class got me thinking!  How important is it to make some time for ourselves?  Stress can have a massive impact on your health: impaired digestion and therefore nutrient absorption, increased blood pressure, poor immune function, hormonal imbalances, muscle tension, foggy brain syndrome (that’s not a real syndrome, I made it up, but I’m sure you know what I mean).  Stress affects all aspects of your health, and when it’s prolonged it can become a serious issue.  And reaching for the wine or biscuits (or whatever your coping strategy is) isn’t going to help.

Finding time for yourself is a first step towards managing your stress levels.  What do you like to do?  Read?  Sew?  Gardening? Walking? Have a bath?  It can be as easy as finding 30 minutes to do something you really enjoy.  I even find looking at a picture of beautiful scenery can be relaxing.  Anything that involves gentle exercise is great for counteracting some of the damage that stress hormones can do (strenuous exercise isn’t great for counteracting stress I’m afraid).  Which must be where the yoga connection comes in!

It may feel like you can’t find the time, but believe me, it’s worth it in the bigger picture of your health.  If you look after yourself you’ll have more energy to look after those around you.  Make a pact with yourself to find at least 30 minutes to do something just for you this week. 

Chill out folks!