Happiness Can be Found in a Balanced Life

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castenada

Do you ever think about how much energy we put into ourselves? Believe it or not it takes even more energy to be self-loathing, unhealthy, critical, or self-destructive. It takes energy just talking ourselves out of being physically active and eating healthy, often leaving us more depleted because we now feel guilty.

From experience, I KNOW not being active or putting energy into what I love puts me in a funk. I thoroughly enjoy doing yoga, painting, going outside, cooking, and making music. Yet, why do I often slip away from what makes me happy? Then beat myself up for not doing it. When I first moved abroad, I was wrapped up in my new job and exploring…getting away from a lot of things that make me HAPPY. I fell into a pattern of work, TV, sleep, repeat. Finding time to eat regularly and healthy also made for an interesting issue. A few months down the road I was burned out, feeling uninspired, and craving a life of balance. Living an expat life can often lead to losing one’s self. Working a 6 day week can send someone straight to into a ball of stress as well as a weekly booze and binge fest.

To have a happy and balanced life, we must make time for ourselves. We must make an effort to take care of our bodies and give our self time for things that we feel passionate about. It’s time to start putting energy back into what you need and love.

Stay Active

Get your body moving! It will make you feel good both internally and externally. As an expat, this is a pretty easy task since most of us don’t have cars and are forced to walk everywhere. Yet, I found more balance once I started taking yoga classes around the city and taking advantage of all the amazing hiking in Asia.

As for my fellow Americans, you need to shape up. We lead such a sedentary, lazy lifestyle, always looking for the next miracle pill to fix the problem. Walk, hike, stretch, swim! I currently workout from home in under 30 minutes and still find time for family, working, and personal time.

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Do What You Love

It’s that simple. Where ever you are in the world, make sure you feed your passion. If you enjoy a good juicy book, join a book club! If you love singing, find a karaoke room and belt out some Whitney Houston. If you love cooking, host a dinner party for your friends. Make a date with yourself at least one day a week. Life is more enjoyable when you have something to look forward to each week. If you are new to an area or looking to try something new, check out a Meetup group. In Hong Kong, I was able to find a book club and an area where locals meet up for yoga once a week. Another good place to find like minded individuals is to find groups of your interest on Facebook.

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Feed Your Body

Take the time to give your body a balanced diet. It’s hard to run solely off of coffee and ramen. I tried and I ended up malnourished with chronic fatigue. I didn’t always have the luxury or accessibility to fresh veggies and fruits like I do back at home. Americans simply do not know how lucky they are to have an array and abundance of food options at your finger tips. As an expat, it sometimes takes a little effort to search for cheap and healthy produce. However, it is worth it! No matter where you are in the world, your best bet is to eat seasonably and locally: Farmer’s markets, wet markets. The best part about wet markets or local venders in Asia is that you can negotiate a price!

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Don’t Stress the Small Stuff

A busy supermarket. Your barista ran out of your favorite coffee. You’re lost in translation again. The kid’s won’t listen for the umpteenth time. These are all small insignificant things. Don’t let minuscule events ruffle your feathers. It is a major energy sucker and it accomplishes nothing to pout. Deep breath and carry on!

All in all, whatever you do, make yourself happy. If you’re beginning to feel like your losing yourself, stop and try to asses where most of your energy is going. Making a slight adjustment can make all the difference and help bring meaning back into your life. ❤