7 Sure Fire Powerful Ways to Stay Balanced
By Diane Tauber Schultz
There’s something about Liz Logan that makes your breath slow down and your shoulders drop just talking to her. She is Live for Balance, founder of what she calls a mind-body performance studio in Edwards, Colorado. And she lives it.
“Balance to me is the ability of knowing that if you’re going to one extreme, like riding up Vail Pass, you also have to create moments in your life to meet a friend for tea, enjoy a relaxing massage, a quite meditation, or just sit on your patio and read a book,” Logan says.
Logan is a lifestyle design coach, which encompasses health, happiness, and business coaching, and is a master Pilates and yoga instructor. Her studio combines Eastern and Western healing arts and sciences such as acupuncture, private Pilates and yoga, plant-based nutrition, massage, detox programs, retreats and workshops.
She’s also a triathlete, hiker, skier, golfer, and half-ironman competitor. At one point in her life she found herself over-training. “I then made a conscious choice to have sports in my life in a way that wasn’t going to kill me,” she says. “I wanted to enjoy what I spent time doing.”
Whether you’re age 17 or 71 and live in the Vail Valley you’re likely enjoying any number of mountain sports. The one thing you’re probably not doing is nothing. That is, creating the kind of space in your life that Logan and her team at Live for Balance promotes, teaches and practices. “One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of any exercise or training program is the recovery phase, or time spent resting,” Logan says.
“It’s easy to get into an extremist mindset in this environment which creates an incredible amount of stress on our bodies,” Logan adds. “Even though these are things we enjoy doing, we have to create that counter balance,” she explains. “Most people up here and in our society today are moving away from balance.”
As is true with many seekers of alternative medicine, Logan’s quest began when she was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 22. Her doctor’s recommended treatment included taking heavy doses of hormones to arrest her menstrual cycles until she was ready to have a child, followed by a hysterectomy.
“Every molecule in my body knew that was not the journey I wanted to take and so began my quest for alternative healing,” she says. She also discovered Pilates after an ankle reconstruction where no physical therapy was offered or required. “Pilates made me realize exercise could be an incredibly positive experience in my life,” she adds.
Logan sums up how she faces adversity by paraphrasing one of her favorite quotes by author Vivian Greene. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but learning how to dance in the rain,” she says. “I want to help prevent people from getting to a place of disease, which is another word for imbalance.”
She recently launched lizlogandesigns.com, which is a compilation of her life’s work. It offers all things health and well-being related including actionable steps and solutions to implement in your life. Its purpose is to inspire people to create a life they love that is filled with “health, happiness and abundance.”
“Liz is a true example of balance, not just mind and body but the balance of mind, body and spirit,” says Johnny Howell, licensed acupuncturist at Live for Balance. “When she helps people or is helping herself it seems effortless. It’s kind of from her soul.”
If you’re seeking more balance in your life, you’ve already taken the first step, which is making a conscious choice to change while possessing awareness that what you’re doing now isn’t working. Logan offers seven ways to help you begin to consciously create balance in your life.
“There are going to be days you feel you have it and days you don’t. That is the balance of life,” Logan explains. The more you practice implementing these seven techniques, the better you’ll become at finding balance more frequently in your life. When that happens there is a release of tension that is tangible.
“There’s laughter, there’s joy, you smile more, you feel lighter, you lose unwanted pounds and typically talk about positive things and not the burdens of your day,” Logan says. “You’re enjoying life more.”
Here are Liz’s Seven Ways to Balance
1. Just Breathe
Within minutes of meeting you, Logan can spot if you are out of balance. How? You’re not breathing, meaning you’re taking shallow breaths or holding your breath. “To breathe consciously brings you into the present moment and when you’re in the present moment you are no longer thinking about the past or worrying about the future,” she says. “You are where your feet are.”
Liz Bits: Take 10 to 20 minutes out of your day to bring awareness to your breath. The 5-5-7 breath can be done anywhere. Inhale slowly through your nose for five counts, hold for five counts, and exhale for seven counts. Repeat five to 10 times, mentally counting to stay focused. This simple technique has profound health benefits.
2. Tame Your Lion
“While most of us do not have to confront lions on our lunch hour, we do encounter stress. On a physiological level your body doesn’t differentiate between a lion chasing you or getting tense in a traffic jam,” Logan says. “They both equally trigger the body to go into a state of emergency.”
Stress is a key trigger to imbalance and when we have high levels of stress it affects our Cortisol levels (stress hormone), which interferes with almost every other hormone involved in metabolism regulation, appetite control, and fat burning.
To identify some health factors that affect stress, Logan advises that you ask yourself: “How many cups of coffee did I have today? What did I last eat? Did I exercise today? Have I enjoyed sex lately? Am I breathing right now?”
Liz loves this quote by Eckhart Tolle: “Focus your attention on the ‘Now’ and tell me what problem you have at this moment.”
Liz Bits: Identify your stressors by writing them down in order of highest to lowest. Next, ask yourself how you can change the way a stressor is affecting you. (This may take some coaching). Accept that you can’t control everything; some things are out of your hands so why waste time stressing? Find a positive attitude. Finally, add in a simple meditation practice.
3. Move Your Body “Movement is life,” Logan gently explains. Mild to moderate exercise has been shown to increase your ‘feel good’ endorphins and results in reducing stress. “The key is to enjoy movement,” she adds. Find an activity you enjoy doing versus something you feel you must do.”
Liz Bits: Try something new. Bring a friend with you. Listen to great music. Look around and be grateful for where we live!
4. Find Joy. Laugh More.
“Laughter makes the heart smile,” Logan says in her soft-toned voice, and smiles. In fact, she seems to smile with nearly every breath. “Life is meant to be loved and full of joy,” she insists. “Besides, laughing every day lowers your stress hormone levels.”
Liz Bits: It sounds simple and cliché but find one thing that brings you joy every day and acknowledge it. Ask yourself what you are doing in your life that you love that brings you joy or makes you laugh. Make a list. Add more of those activities into your daily living.
5. Create Space
“We’re always doing, doing, doing,” she says. “This is a moment where you don’t do.” For every activity there has to be a counter balance such as reading a book, getting an extra hour of sleep, or enjoying a nice slow-paced walk with your dog. “When you create space you actually step away from your busy to-do schedule, disconnect from your electronics and slow down,” she adds.
Liz Bits: Look at your schedule for the day and see where you can make space where you don’t have anything planned. The trick then is not to plan more activity in those times. Simplify and say “no” to a few things. Find 20 minutes each day where you quiet your mind and enjoy the rejuvenation it brings. This may feel odd at first but if you do it daily you will start to cherish the space you’ve created.
6. Nourish Yourself
Inflammation in the body is a major factor of imbalance. “I suffered a lot from inflammation in my body,” Logan explains. “So I got serious about how I was nourishing my body and what I put into my body,” she adds. “I realized that what you put on the end of your fork is so important and the best medicine you can give yourself daily. That shift in nutrition changed everything.”
“When someone comes to me for health coaching, I don’t tell them to just go eat vegetables,” Logan says. “We look at why their systems are imbalanced, what is causing inflammation in their body, and what lifestyle habits are benefiting or not benefiting their life.” It all starts with your health, the foundation. Taking control of this one crucial part of your life will lead you down the path to radiant lifelong health.
Liz Bits: Start with a simple food journal. I love the mynetdiary app. Make sure you are getting plenty of vegetables, healthy fats and protein daily. Find foods that are healthy but also taste good. You wouldn’t put bad fuel in your car; why put bad food in your body. Food is energy and energy is life. What kind of life do you want to create?
7. Restore + Rejuvenate
“When I find myself imbalanced it’s typically caused by a lack of sleep and I go downhill fast,” Logan says. Along with managing your stress, ensuring that you routinely get a good night’s rest is the most important factor for restoring hormonal balance, fat-loss success, exercise recovery and longevity. “This is a big distinguishing factor for professional athletes,” Liz adds.
Liz Bits: Ask yourself, “Am I allowing myself a good night’s rest? How is chaos showing up in my bedroom?” Create more of a Zen environment in the bedroom. Create your ideal bedroom with soft colors, low lighting, and not too many electronics. If you have electronics keep them no closer than three feet from your head. And finally, create a ritual every night such as taking a bath or shower to cool your body down and ready it for a restful night’s sleep.
Those are Liz's seven steps for you! We hope you implement a few or all of these into your life.