By Valorie Ness

For many of us scheduling time to attend to our personal needs is low on the list of priorities. With everyone living such hectic lives, finding time each day – even just a few minutes – is difficult.

The time is there if you look. I find time everyday to exercise, meditate/process thoughts, and just be.  Some days it seems like I only have nano-seconds for this but knowing I put myself on my priority list makes me feel good and feeling good helps me become a better educator, mother homemaker, spouse and friend.

Here are some of my tried and true ways to find the minutes and nano-seconds in your day.

Wake up 5-7 minutes early each day. If this is the only time you get to yourself all day please extend it to 15-20 minutes. This may seem like the last thing you would consider doing to yourself after a 14 or 16 hour day, but try it. First change your thought process. You are not doing this to yourself you are doing this for yourself. Utilizing these precious few minutes to gather yourself and  to work on you will really make a positive impact on your day.

Choose silence when driving. Think of this as time to meditate and be with your thoughts. In Atlanta traffic a 5-mile drive easily turn into 50 minutes with just the wrong conditions or a few raindrops. There is nothing we can do to control traffic, so just embrace the time as time for yourself.

Walk to do errands. This is the perfect time to get in exercise minutes – 5 here and 12 there really add up over the course of a week. Take walking breaks much like co-workers take smoke breaks. Have you ever added up the total time your fellow employee takes to go on smoke breaks? It’s roughly 30-50 minutes. Walk outside or use your building’s stairs or hallways.

While you wait at your child’s extracurricular event take time for yourself. Since most programs do not want parents/guardians around while the kids do their thing anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to do yours. Whether it’s walking, jogging, participating in your own class, or quietly sitting for a meditation session, take advantage of this precious time.

Use standing in line time and on the phone time wisely. Have you ever seen someone standing in line balancing on one foot or doing single leg squats, calf raises or static stretching? Well, it was probably me. I am always doing one of these spontaneous exercises while otherwise “wasting” time. Sure I get a few strange looks, but I embrace it and hope that the image of me doing these things sticks with the people staring and will encourage them to try it for their selves.

Make your office work for you. Remove you’re your uncomfortable, ill-fitting office chair and replace it with a kneeling chair or an exercise ball. These exercise chairs will allow you to maintain good posture while at your desk. The ball will work your balance, core muscles, posture, and many other fun exercises as well.

Join an activity-based program with someone. The benefit to joining with a friend is the accountability that it promotes between you and your activity friend. It’s human nature that people are more likely to participate in things when they know others are counting on them. Play activity based games with your children, spouse or friend There is a big push now to get our kids eating healthy and moving. What better opportunity to get yourself going than to get out with your kids.

Meet your friends for something other than dinner and drinks. Why is our culture is so focused on food? It fascinates me that so many of our group functions with family and friends are driven by food and drink. Why not a bikeride, trail walk, or family day in the park?

Turn off the TV, cell phone, iPad at night and be with yourself or your loved one(s). Take the last few minutes before you drift off to lie quietly and just be with your happy thoughts from the day. Focus on your positive accomplishments. Consider how many opportunities you had to better yourself physically and emotionally. Notice the change in the loved ones around you and how all of your daily duties seemed less dreadful and just maybe a bit more delightful.

Valorie Ness is the owner of Catalyst Fitness in Midtown.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Tips for Living a Balanced Life”

  1. Valorie: Thanks for reminding me of my evolving goals for 2012.
    What a gift to the world if we all focused on a new balanced life.
    Very appropriate ideas and thoughts.

    Thank you,


  2. Valorie: Thanks for reminding me of my evolving goals for 2012.
    What a gift to the world if we all focused on a new balanced life.
    Very appropriate ideas and thoughts.

    Thank you,


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