In most modern western countries, growth and productivity are the ultimate achievements. In other words, these cultures want to make money and then spend money to stimulate further growth and create more wealth. But where is the lifestyle balance when so many people suffer from burnout? Well, research shows that travel is the best way to relax your body and ease your mind, and I’d like to talk about what I’ve learned when I was traveling in Europe.
Lifestyle balance equals wellbeing.
In our daily life, we always spend too much time doing things because the need to be seen to be busy all the time predominates as a social norm in our culture. That’s why we lose variety, the spice of life.
Sadly, doing too much is detrimental to wellbeing. The real outcome of overbusyness and overwork is that people usually feel overcommitted, overburdened, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and exhausted. This can easily lead to burnout, unfortunately. If you show withdrawal, apathy and disinterest in your everyday life, you may have burnout already and you might consider traveling in Europe to alleviate the stress.
As I see it, personally meaningful activities are essential to lifestyle balance. By that I mean traveling in Europe is a personally meaningful activity – it’s emotionally fulfilling and freely chosen by me. It’s not something that I have to do; it’s something that I want to do!
I understand that lifestyle balance is quite complicated. This isn’t a linear or two-dimensional concept; as a multi-dimensional concept, lifestyle balance includes the interaction of being, doing, becoming and belonging activities. So, life balance doesn’t follow any simple rules. It’s your life, your rules!
Travel in Europe: the importance of finding my life balance
Anxiety / stress is a growing issue in our culture and is affecting our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing. Usually, stress / anxiety is closely linked to lifestyle imbalance, especially when it’s something chronic such as too much work to do all the time.
When I was traveling in Europe, I found some strategies for change and I’d like to share my insights with you today.
First of all, I’ve realized that being overweight or obese is not really a disease; it’s a lifestyle choice.
Living in a western country usually means I can see obese people and overweight people every single day easily because obesity is a common problem in western culture nowadays. But when I was traveling in Eastern Europe, I noticed that junk food isn’t popular in those countries and people are generally healthy and slim. Therefore, obesity is probably a lifestyle choice.
Indeed, the Western Diet is usually eaten in developed and wealthy countries throughout the world. It is heavily weighted towards large amounts of sugar, processed foods and factory-farmed meat, large quantities of added unhealthy oils and fats as well as refined grains. Therefore, vegetables, fruits and fresh / unprocessed foods of any kind are basically lacking.
Due to modern medicine, people live longer now, but what’s the benefit of those added years when senior citizens are in and out of hospitals or feeling unwell? The Western Diet is not healthy. End of story.
Recently, I discovered that the effects of the Western Diet can be reversed for the most part. Research shows that those who have abandoned the Western Diet for a more natural and traditional diet can regain vitality and health & reduce their chances of suffering from chronic diseases that are caused by the Western Diet.
Second, it’s very important to declutter my social circles and avoid unnecessary life drama. Please let me explain.
Surrounding myself with influential and positive people is so key – this is something that I wish I knew when I was younger. When I was traveling in Europe, I have met new friends who are much more positive than my previous friends. They inspire me to do better in life and I truly appreciate their support.
I fired people who were bringing me down. Now comes the hard part – to be happy and live a simple life, I think we have to shed those who are a negative influence in our lives. Many people don’t want to end relationships that are causing more pain than joy. Truthfully, you have to nip these negative relationships in the bud, no matter that’s a friend or a family member (yes, I said family, too). If someone is making your life harder, you must remember that you are the most important person in the universe. People do change, so a good relationship today may not still be a good relationship ten years from now, and that’s just life.
Lastly, I quit social media for several months when I was travelling in Eastern Europe. It feels like having a true holiday for years! What a good feeling!
I’m never a big fan of social media platforms – billionaires who invented social media never had any intention of it being for the greater good. If they actually did, they probably wouldn’t become billionaires in the first place. I know that’s only my personal opinion, but it’s based on some true facts.
The main goal of social media is to collect personal data and sell people’s attention. Basically, your data is collected and used in different ways, including having products directly marketed to you according to the information collected.
Traveling in Europe helped me to deal with information overload.
I’ve certainly cleared my mind while traveling in Eastern Europe where I don’t have access to the news from the western media.
Also, the quality of my sleep has improved tremendously. Let me explain.
I bought a new diary at the beginning of this year when I was in Europe and on Page 1, this is what I’ve written down –
Morning Routine: 1) Get enough sleep (at least 7 hours) – If I wake up without sleeping for 7 hours, stay in bed and sleep more. 2) Dance to the music for one hour. 3) Eat a healthy breakfast. 4) Do the most important task at work first.
Honestly, I don’t follow this morning routine every single day, especially when something urgent rocks up or when I have to go to work in the office in the morning. But whenever I work from home (or on the weekend), I always follow this morning routine strictly.
So, when I stick to this morning routine, I wake up whenever I want (e.g. 9am) and then I exercise until 10am & have brunch at 11am. Then I work from 11am to 7pm.
As you can see, I prioritize my sleep because it’s the most important thing in my life. I don’t drink any liquids 2 hours before bedtime so I can avoid sleep-disrupting bathroom visits. I also read an inspirational book 20 to 40 minutes before bedtime (but I don’t read detective novels).
“When we are busy doing things and busy with busyness, how often do we pause and look after our health and wellbeing?”