Healthy Living in the North

Finding your own balance of health

Loraina with her horses

Loraina, shown here with her horses, offers eight points to help find healthy balance in your daily life.

To me, being healthy is a process and a goal to work towards and maintain. It’s about finding a balance that works for me and my family. As a mom of four kids, a wife, a Northern Health employee and a business owner, life is hectic. Today, it seems it’s harder to balance.  I’m always wondering, “How do we fit everything we need to do in a day, a week or a month anyway?”

I have listed eight points below that run through my head in my journey towards a better health balance. Being healthy, making healthy food choices and doing activities I like make it easier for me to make the healthy choice the easy choice!

  • Acknowledge – Yes, there is such a thing as work-life balance and procrastination.
  • Assess – I take time to sort out where I’m at with healthy eating and active living goals, thinking broader to physical, social, mental, and spiritual health. How does that compare with other family members?
  • Recognize – Each family member is at very different levels of success with healthy eating versus active living activities, and each of us has our own priorities. What’s key is to celebrate successes at all levels! Small changes can really help begin to balance the scale towards health.
  • Identify strengths – This helps me to focus on what I may need to work on more. If I’m good at one area, it doesn’t mean I’ll be as good in another area. I am amazing at packing healthy lunches for work and my colleagues will testify to that. However, I’m not doing as well at getting to my morning swim or the lunch-hour walk I really want to do. My strength is healthy eating but I need to focus on my physical activity levels and getting more movement every day.
  • Identify barriers – Figuring out what is supportive or what is not is pretty important.  Learning about why you’re not easily able to make the changes you want may help identify some solutions.
  • Try, learn and try again – Understand what motivates you (internally and externally) and don’t give up. Find ways to chuckle when you’re not doing as well as you want but also recognize that the goal is balance, not perfection.
  • Keep track – Moving plans into action and tracking them really helps me with healthy living goals – this is important for long-term behavior change. So I track my actions, challenges and try to celebrate successes. I often use my calendar for this and I find it helps me to check in on how I’m doing. I invite you to do the same and to share your ideas to connect, support and inspire others to understand that their health matters!
  • Take a peek into my world – These new guidelines around healthy living (the NH position papers) are something northerners can be really proud of. I must say, as an NH population health dietitian I have a bit of a bias towards the third one: eating, activity and weight.

How do you find a healthy balance?

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Week 3 Challenge for your chance to win a selection of cookbooks!]

Loraina Stephen

About Loraina Stephen

Loraina is a population health dietitian working in a regional lead role for external food policy, which supports initiatives to develop healthy eating, community food security and food policy for the north. Loraina was born and raised in the north, and has a busy lifestyle. Having grown up enjoying food grown from family gardens, hunting, and gathering, and enjoying northern outdoor activities, she draws on those experiences to keep traditions strong for her family, in her work and at play. (Loraina no longer works with Northern Health, we wish her all the best.)