Tag Archive for: self-care

5 Steps to Lead a More Balanced Life

Leading a balanced life, I believe, is critical to overall health and well-being. In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, I shared five steps to increase harmony and balance in our lives.

Surveys show that pandemic-induced anxiety and depression levels increased by 25 percent globally in 2021. It’s vital that we support mental health.

Some mental health aspects are highly vulnerable to environmental influences. The pandemic has certainly levied an unprecedented effect on workers. I’ve adopted five practices that consistently bring a more balanced approach to function at higher levels.

🎙 Listen: Also in May, I visited with Kelly & Company to talk about “Five steps for improved outcomes during National Mental Health Month.”

5 Steps to a Balanced Life

1. Maintain social support

Even in today’s hybrid working environment, staying connected to a network of people, groups, and organizations that are supportive and fun is key to good mental health. This includes friends, neighbors, volunteer opportunities, church, book clubs, support groups, community events, and extended family members.

2. Find an enjoyable hobby

I’ve been fortunate to perform with country star Collin Raye’s band, playing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and sharing the stage with Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban, Diamond Rio, and many others. Not only is music my passion, but I’ve found it’s a necessary outlet for mental balance, and that people benefit by doing hobbies they love.

3. Eat nutritious foods

Experts agree eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, with lean protein and moderate carbohydrates is ideal for most people. Because health begins at the cellular level, good intake naturally results in a good output.

4. Manage demands of the day effectively

Leading a global company can bring high levels of nonstop stress. In my quest to live a life in harmony, a habit of setting clear priorities in the greater context is one secret to regulate personal energy, cope with stress and avoid a multitude of problems.

5. Exercise regularly—and know when to rest

Exercise, as we know, is important for good health. But relaxation and adequate sleep are as important for stress management and overall mental health. Each person must identify their personal sleep needs but getting seven to eight hours of sleep has greatly improved my ability to handle daily challenges.

I shared these thoughts and more in a news release that went out on May 2, 2022.

Alleviating Fear & Anxiety… Just Breathe

The importance of self-care, in my mind, can’t be overstated. It’s become a priority in my life over these past 18 months, and it will continue to be a focus going forward.

Recently, on Oct. 10, we observed World Mental Health Day. As individuals across the globe focused on mental health, I shared six key actions I believe can help to bring balance into our lives.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
  2. Nourish Your Body
  3. Exercise Regularly
  4. Limit Screen Time
  5. Engage with Others (and the World Around You)
  6. Explore Nature

I invite you to read more about these steps in this blog post.

Just Breathe…

One action not listed, but that’s helped me tremendously, is something I’ve talked about previously (and in the video above): Purposeful Breathing.

As part of the #AskKevinGuest social media series, members of my online community have asked questions and I’ve answered a few on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (please feel free to tag me in your questions).

One question centered on my seemingly relaxed nature on stage and asked how I work to alleviate any fear or anxiety that might naturally occur when presenting or performing in front of large groups.

First, I’m glad to hear my anxieties and self-doubts aren’t readily apparent. It’s something I continue to work on. That said, I’ve definitely experienced my share of panic on stage.

In fact, one story I share in my book All the Right Reasons, discusses an especially uneasy moment backstage ahead of a performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

Here I was about to perform on one of music’s most-hallowed stages and a flood of negative self-talk entered my mind. My heart raced, I questioned my abilities, and I couldn’t enjoy the experience.

Fortunately, at that moment, I leaned on a breathing exercise I’d learned. It’s something I now do regularly — before important presentations or performances and any time I catch myself feeling anxious or stressed.

A Breathing Exercise

I take viewers through the exercise in this video, but if you think about a square, you can picture the exercise (closing your eyes also helps):

  1. Breathe in for four counts
  2. Hold it in for four counts
  3. Exhale slowly for another four counts
  4. And finally, maintain the exhale for four counts before repeating the cycle

I usually do that four times. It’s amazing how it sets my mind right. It allows me to become present and to achieve what I know I’m capable of accomplishing.

If you’ve tried this or similar breathing exercises, I’d love to hear about how they’ve worked for you. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

And don’t forget… Just Breathe.

version of this article originally went to e-newsletter subscribers on Sept. 21, 2021. I invite you to subscribe.

World Mental Health Day: 6 Actions to Maintain Balance During Pandemic

Recently, on Oct. 10, we observed World Mental Health Day. As you know, self-care became top-of-mind for me over the last several months. As the world focused on mental health, I shared six key actions I believe can help bring balance during the ongoing pandemic.

Some thought the pandemic wouldn’t last this long. Others are predicting it will last until 2025. Regardless, we need even more self-care to make it through, to ascend higher, and to help others.

Six Actions to Benefit Mental Health

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
  2. Nourish Your Body
  3. Exercise Regularly
  4. Limit Screen Time
  5. Engage with Others (and the World Around You)
  6. Explore Nature

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each day, listening to your body on timing to eat nutritious food, and dedicating yourself to regular exercise are the first areas of focus for self-care. These actions, I believe, will bring a noticeable sense of balance and harmony.

The next three action items place the focus squarely on ourselves. Studies show we spend an average of 4.2 hours per day in apps. The screen time works counter to finding personal balance and calmness.

Nearly everyone is suffering from fatigue with endless virtual meetings that fill our days and devices that pull us into our screens for hours on end. It’s important to unplug, minimize screen time, be more mindful of how long we’re on devices, and look up to engage with other people, nature, and things around us.

If a person feels anxiety over device separation, it’s important to talk to someone. Whether it’s a professional therapist or trusted friends, they can help us see a new perspective and rekindle healthy hobbies, such as a walk outdoors.

I learned firsthand growing up in Montana that spending time in nature is therapeutic. It’s obvious we are natural beings and while in such surroundings, we can almost feel ourselves uniting with nature. Look at this step as an escape, even for an hour, to fields and mountains, which can enrich our soul and quickly bring back balance and harmony.

Simple acts like these get us away from the crowds and allow us to spend solitude time to think and take personal inventory. That level of solitude time will likely become your favorite time of the week.

Learn More

Designed to help others find balance, my book, All the Right Reasons, reveals 12 principles for living a life in harmony. All proceeds benefit The USANA Foundation.

World Mental Health Day, first recognized in 1992, is an international day for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. It’s led by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members in more than 150 countries.

I shared these thoughts and more in a news release that went out on Oct. 10, 2021.

Training magazine: Take Time for Self-Care During the Pandemic

Self-Care: 8 key tips to help you invest in yourself.

Self-Care: 8 key tips to help you invest in yourself.

Kevin Guest, USANA Chairman and CEO and author of All the Right Reasons, published an article about self-care in Training magazine on Aug. 4, 2020.

Take Time for Self-Care During the Pandemic explains why it’s so important to practice self-care.

“Today’s pressure for profits and power is as unrelenting as the problems they produce,” Guest writes. “So much so that it may be more important than ever to reset, rebalance, and reconnect with values that got you to the level of success you enjoy today.

Good self-care practices are an effective way of keeping yourself firing on all cylinders. That’s important for all of the teams I lead. I need them to fire on all cylinders, and they want to do the same because that brings more satisfaction to them as they accomplish their goals.

If you’re feeling down and out, give extra attention to your self-care. You deserve the time, attention, and rewards that will bring.

Read the full article on Training magazine’s website.

Self-Care 101: 8 Key Tips to Help You Invest in Yourself

  1. Take an inventory of yourself
  2. Soothe your mind, body, and life
  3. Forgive others
  4. Spend quality time alone
  5. Immerse yourself in nature
  6. Slow down your mind
  7. Read more books
  8. Breathe

Earlier this year, Guest wrote about the notion of self-care on his blog. In 2018, Guest wrote All the Right Reasons, a book that includes 12 principles to living a life in harmony. Proceeds from the book benefit the USANA Foundation and its mission to feed hungry children. Each book purchase helps to provide 40 meals. Help us as we strive toward our goal of 2 million meals.

Self-Care: Key to Living a Balanced Life

I believe self-care is critical to our overall well-being, especially when our daily routines are turned upside down. HealthCorps posted a Venn diagram on its Instagram that illustrates the importance of this concept.

The diagram shows how mental, physical, and emotional care intersect to contribute to self-care. Self-care is, according to Oxford, “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”

HealthCorps shared this image on its Instagram on April 14, 2020. It demonstrates how self-care is at the center of our overall wellbeing.

HealthCorps shared this image on its Instagram on April 14, 2020. It demonstrates how self-care is at the center of our overall wellbeing.

It’s a concept that I try to keep top-of-mind. However, it’s also something that can be easily forgotten or brushed aside. Nearly half (44%) of respondents in a 2019 Harris Poll (PDF) believe self-care is only possible for people with “enough” time. I take that to mean that outside influences are demanding so much of their time that they don’t have any left for themselves.

Yes, we’re all busy and many of us are stretched in countless directions. But, for the sake of our own well-being, we should all strive to make time for self-care.

To get in the right frame of mind, I often ask myself these questions:

  • What activities am I performing daily that enrich my health?
  • Am I taking time for me to refuel and recharge after encountering stressors?
  • How do my interactions with others contribute to not only their well-being but also to mine?

Self-Care is Not Selfish

As you might remember, earlier this year I wrote about kindness. In that article, I focused on how we can be a little kinder, a little happier, and a little better in our relationships with others. Obviously, that’s still very important.

But we also should remember to be kind to ourselves.

I’ve heard stories recently about how parents with school-age children are feeling especially overwhelmed right now. With schools closed in many areas, the home now doubles as the classroom. Students are feeling increased pressures to adapt to a new learning environment. And parents, who are also under a tremendous amount of stress, are beating themselves up for not being able to excel as parents and teachers. Nevermind that the adults in this scenario are trying to do this while also navigating a challenging time in history. (It’s also a good reminder that we should be extra-kind to the teachers in our — and our children’s — lives).

If you’re feeling this way, I encourage you to give yourself a break. It might help to explore various self-care exercises.

Though this What’s Up, USANA? article explored self-care from a new-mom point of view, it still provides tips for all of us.

A Forbes article highlighted ways we can practice self-care as well (read the 10 ways). It also explains why taking care of ourselves — physically, mentally, and emotionally — is so important. Among the reasons:

  • It allows you to know your own worth, reminding you and others of your importance
  • Taking time for yourself naturally aligns your work-life balance
  • Developing self-care habits helps you to reduce stress

I believe it’s necessary for us to continue moving forward in uncertain times. It’s important to keep looking ahead. Yet, it’s equally as important to reflect on where we’ve (metaphorically) traveled in our life, what we’ve accomplished, and how we’ve made a difference in the lives of others.

For me, this type of reflection is a key part of my self-care.