On Achieving Wellness + Balance

Devon Sydney
4 min readMay 24, 2015

Wellness and balance are words that are thrown around a lot. People want to achieve work life balance, or balance between their partner and alone time, or balance between being in the city and being in nature. They want to achieve physical wellness, mental wellness and spiritual wellness. However, by setting up your expectations in this competitive way, it becomes a question of sacrifice, when really the conversation should be shifted to simply maximizing wellness and balance, with no qualifiers.

wellness + balance over time when making future plans and large self-improvement initiatives

All of us know exactly the feeling of being unbalanced or unwell. Fewer may know the feeling of being balanced and well, but regardless this is not a difficult state to recognize. Shift focus away from planning an idealized life and just do something. If you don’t have enough alone time, go for a walk. If you aren’t meditating, meditate. Too often we let the fear of failure prevent us from even taking the first step. What if I can’t stick with it? What if I lose connection with my partner? What if I make a mistake and do it wrong? Tighter self awareness with a dialogue of reflection paired with deliberate action makes achieving a better state a natural and ongoing process.

The paradox is that there is no way to predict answers to any of these questions, you must in fact take the first step.

If you start kitesurfing every day, you won’t know the impacts on your physical or mental wellness, positive or otherwise, or whether your work will be impacted, until you actually take action.

The beauty of this approach of striving for improved balance in every moment is that you will automatically correct for poor trends and see overall continuous improvement.

Measurement and Reflection

The best tool to help with shifting to this process is also the simplest. Just decide what matters to you and make a list. If you can measure it, great. Then just check in regularly, maybe daily. You could print your list and paste it in a few places you pass by regularly, or have a reminder on your phone, or commit it to memory. Then when you reflect on your list, you can incorporate your feelings about your present balance into the immediate decisions you face.

The metrics for wellness and balance I use are listed below:

  1. Exercise
  2. Nutrition + Diet
  3. Time in Nature
  4. Relationships
  5. Recreation + Enjoyable Activities
  6. Relaxation + Stress Management
  7. Religious + Spiritual Involvement
  8. Contribution + Service

Note: these metrics are lifted from the research of Dr. Roger Walsh

If you reflect and realize you have been neglecting ‘time in nature’, maybe because you’ve been working late to deliver a cool work project that’s kept you indoors, this realization should be a catalyst for change rather than a source of guilt or anxiety. Simply hopping on your bike and riding through a park could be all it takes. At the very least it’s a first step.

This philosophy is contrary to the common approach of layering on all sorts of carrot and stick feedbacks where you self reward or threaten yourself into achieving your ideal state, by instead merely listening to yourself in a rational way and taking small but real steps towards ideal in every moment.

wellness + balance over time when making constant reflection and taking deliberate, immediate action

Levelling up with Mentors

Mentors can be an invaluable part of this process as well. I believe in the philosophy that ‘you become the average of the 5 people you are most around’, that your personality and actions are influenced by your surroundings. Open up a dialogue about your list with these people. When you are sipping tea, at some point they may ask you ‘how are you feeling?’ and since they are in your inner circle of wellness and balance you will already be poised to discuss your specific feelings in relation to your personal metrics. In this way, the feedback you get from your closest mentors will be overall of greater value.

I hope this post helps more people drive towards overall better wellness and balance in their own lives. Let me know if you have any feedback.



Devon Sydney

Tech entrepreneur, with an aim to change the energy industry.