Professional athlete and mother of three Gabrielle Reece seems to have somehow figured out how to juggle her crazy work life with family time. The former competitive volleyball player has lended her fitness expertise on shows like “The Biggest Loser,” designed women’s training sneakers for Nike, produced her own line of workout DVDs, and most recently, creates workouts and gives health and wellness advice on her website GabbyandLaird.com. Somehow, in between all that and more, she has managed to raise three daughters and stay happily married to surfer legend husband Laird Hamilton.
So it seemed like a natural fit that her newest endeavor is teaming up with Balance Bar for The Balance Project, aimed at helping people live more balanced lives. According to the brand’s research, 98% of Americans believe balance is important, but only 14% say they consistently achieve it.
While competing in a volleyball tournament five months pregnant isn’t probably on your to-do list, Reece gave us some helpful tips that we can apply to our own lives to feel more balanced and fulfilled.
Schedule your days to fit in workouts. On Sunday evening, look at your week and schedule some time slots for exercise. “Treat it like every other appointment you have and don’t cancel,” Reece said.
Make it your own. Don’t search for “the right way” to be healthy — find the right way for you. “When it comes to eating healthy, find the foods you like and implement those into your daily diet,” Reece suggested. “Same goes for exercise.” If you hate the gym, do something active outside that you love. “This is not about torture, this is about creating a lifestyle that you can do week after week,” she added.
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Drink more water. “The benefits we gain from drinking more water are immeasurable.” If you start drinking more, you’ll sleep better, have better skin, control your appetite better, and overall your body will just function better.
Plan out your food. Strategize what you’ll eat for each meal beforehand. “This will help you avoid spontaneous junk food splurges due to a busy weekday schedule, and will leave you a little wiggle room during the weekend,” Reece explained. “If you know you get hungry between meals, bring a snack like a Balance bare bar, nuts, or even a shake you add water to from home.”
Cook extra. Consider cooking in batches on Sundays, or just make enough for dinner each night that you have leftovers for the next day. “If you know your week is going to be especially busy then get out the old crock pot. Throw healthy ingredients in and a nutritious meal will be ready for you after a long day.” (Check out some of our favorite slow-cooker recipes here!)
Leave work at work. Technology makes it so easy to blur the line between work and home life. “I appreciate deadlines or important times professionally that you have to be available, but for the most part we can walk away more than we do,” Reece said. If you know there’s nothing urgent you have to be on-call for, stop checking your email (it’s making you more stressed, btw) and start enjoying your time off!
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Write down your priorities. “The small act of re-emphasizing what is important can help you isolate the areas in your life that you really want to put energy into,” Reece said. You’ll then be able to naturally let go of some of those little stressors that are sucking up way too much of your precious time, energy and happiness.
Take a moment for yourself. “Just because we live at the pace we do and fill each minute of our day with something doesn’t mean that we are supposed to,” advised Reece. Every day, take a moment for yourself, whether that’s a quiet walk, a few minutes of meditation, or a long, soothing bath. “Just something that gives you the opportunity to step back, take a deep breath and get balanced. Life is always going to come at us fast, so it’s up to us to take a time out,” she continued.
Take a vacation. In one survey, 41% of Americans admitted they don’t plan to use all their vacation days this year! “You don’t need to spend a lot of money or go far away from home, but a break from our everyday responsibilities is essential from time to time,” said Reece. Even just a few days off for a staycation, or a mental health day, can help you recoup and reset every once and a while.
Schedule one thing you look forward to each day. “Coffee with a friend or indulging in a harmless guilty pleasure — something that breaks up your day and is just about you being you,” Reece suggested. “Not ‘you’ the professional, or partner or parent, just you.” It’ll be a much-appreciated break during the day, and also help you feel more in tune with yourself. Doing something that makes you smile is always a surefire way to add a dash of balance to your day.
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