Ever feel like you can’t keep your feet on the ground with the weight of the world on your back? Through high school, I felt like I was a pretty grounded individual. I had a family to go home to who reminded me of my values and instilled healthy living habits into our home. That being said, I was used to having these boundaries enforced for me. When I went off to college, living in the moment and having fun became my top two priorities. There were nights that turned into mornings at work and tests that turned into mindlessly circling A, B, C, or D. Through my many screw ups, I finally got the hang of grounding myself without my family there to remind me how.
First, let me explain that my idea of being grounded is feeling centered and balanced physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is always a work in process. To make this short and sweet, I have summarized the key things I have found to help me get started on remaining balanced in my life.
Spending time alone is so important. This is where you are most creative, giving you the time to check in with yourself. Being on all the time is not realistic, sometimes we just need the freedom to turn off and recharge. This can look like driving alone in your car, going on a walk, writing without any distractions (social media included), going for a hike, etc. etc.
Exercise every day.
This is something to aim for, but not always realistic. Exercising makes us happier and gives us more energy, who doesn’t want that?! Now this doesn’t mean you have to go for a five mile run every day, but just get outside and go for a brisk walk! Get your heart rate up your endorphins pumping.
Have a well-rounded diet.
I’m no expert on this topic but I have found that when I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it even more. This being said, I eat healthy for the most part but I let myself enjoy ice cream or Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups if I have a little craving. Moderation and balance are key!
Get the right amount of sleep.
Sleep was always the first thing I sacrificed because it was something that I didn’t think immediately impacted me. A night of drinking with work at 5AM? Okay, no sleep it is! WRONG. Please, get the sleep! If you want to show up and perform whether with friends, in the classroom, or at work, you need to sleep.
Facilitate positive thinking habits.
Our thinking habits are influenced by our perceptions of ourselves, the people we are with, and our media exposure. Your mind is your most powerful weapon, so you must train with it and learn how to use it productively. Watch what happens when you start telling yourself you can do something as opposed to making up every excuse for the contrary. How do you feel when you’re on social media? What books are you reading? Can you listen to a podcast instead of watching reality TV? Just like you need to fuel your body with healthy foods, you need to feed your brain positive energy.
Surround yourself with positive people who love you.
We’ve all heard that you become the average of the five people you surround yourself with most. It seems cheesy, but we’ve all heard it for a reason. It’s true! Do you walk away and feel like your friends are talking poorly about you? Do you feel like people only want to be there when you aren’t doing your best as opposed to celebrating your successes? Do the things you question doing suddenly become okay when you’re with a particular person? How do your habits change when you’re around the people in your life- for better or for worse? Are the people around you pushing you to be better? If you’re answering yes to some of these questions, remember it doesn’t mean these are bad people. Rather, it might be time to start creating space for more positive people who empower you. Make sure you are inspired, uplifted, and genuinely loved by the people you place in your life. Nobody deserves anything less! Have fun with your friends, be silly, go for walks, be curious, talk about life, hype them up, include them!
Act with true intent, and learn to infer the intentions of those around you.
Be aware of the intention behind your actions. You are the only one inside your head, so when people try to tell you who you are or how you’re acting, remember that only you truly know. If your intentions are true, know and remember that. With that being said, we mustn’t let our subjectivity taint the actions of those around us. Why are people doing what they’re doing? Are they not inviting us to be mean, or are there extraneous variables in the situation? Intention is everything!
Above all, remember to manage your time and know that it is okay to say no. You can’t please everyone but, if you want to show up and perform at 100%, you need to first take care of you. Make a list of your priorities and have the discipline to work through them. Meanwhile, remember that productive playtime is okay! Balance, don’t overwhelm yourself, and leave time to have some fun.