Published:
September 17, 2021
Last Updated:
September 20, 2021

Get Back IIN Balance with McKenzie Joyner, Holistic Nutritionist, Chef, and Coach

McKenzie Joyner, IIN graduate, private chef, yoga instructor, and life coach, has dedicated her work to helping people thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. From a young age, McKenzie understood her mission to embrace all that life has to offer, from traveling and experiencing new places to eating delicious, wholesome local food. The integration of different aspects of well-being emphasizes McKenzie’s passion for holistic health and sharing her knowledge with as many people as possible.

We asked McKenzie for her best tips on how to get back in balance, whether you’re just starting out on your own wellness journey, you need motivation to continue on your path to better health, or you’re looking for guidance while going through a stressful time in your life. If any of this sounds like you, IIN’s got you covered! Read on to learn more from McKenzie and how you can get back in balance, right now!

What does balance mean to you, when it comes to your health and wellness routine(s)?

Balance means finding what works for you in the moment. Our day-to-day is ever changing; no two days will look identical, so it is up to us to create space for variety and for trusting our bodies.

Here are some ways I keep myself in balance with my health and wellness routine ‒ and what I share with my clients.

1. Get organized and prepared for the day ahead.

This could look like mapping out your day, the night before or morning of, to know exactly what is taking place that day and what you are being asked to do. This also allows you to make space for the time you have for yourself and your health and wellness.

I truly believe in the saying “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” We all need to put a little time and effort into setting ourselves up for success. That could be setting the alarm a little bit earlier so you don’t have to rush, which can make you feel flustered and stressed all day. It could be meal prepping on Sundays, to ensure healthy food is ready to eat whenever you feel hungry or need a snack. It could be booking that workout class you’ve been wanting to try but just never get around to scheduling.

It is up to us to create the reality we wish for.

2. Know what makes you feel your best.

I know that I show up as my best self when I eat nutrient-dense foods and move my body, so I make this a priority. I fill my cupboards and refrigerator with foods that I know nourish and strengthen my body. I don’t indulge in highly processed foods that leave me feeling tired, cranky, and depleted. I create easy recipes that bring meals to the table in a matter of minutes. This allows me more time for doing the things I love and less time in the kitchen.

It will take time to learn how to tap into yourself and ask what your body needs and wants in that moment, as will trusting your body to let you know and not worry about what you “should” be doing. Which leads me to my next piece of advice...

3. Check in with yourself, to understand what you really need.

This may feel strange, and you might not like it or trust it at first, but know that it is worth trying. We have become really disconnected from ourselves, which makes it necessary for us to get back to our true being ‒ diving inward and finding out what we need, want, and expect for ourselves.

We often look outward for recognition, support, and guidance, when it’s been within us all along. I aim to make it a daily habit to take a moment to check in with myself, to make sure what I am doing and planning that day aligns with what my mind, body, and soul need. So often, we just plan things, eat things, and do things that don’t support us.

Side note: For those who identify as women, our hormones are fluctuating and changing every day. With these changes come different energy levels, moods, needs, and desires. When we tap into our cycles and acknowledge what’s going on inside our bodies, we become aware of what is needed at that time.

At certain points in our cycles, we will crave cardio and gathering with friends; at other times, we will be nesting and snuggling up in our homes and enjoying slower movements. It’s wild, when you start learning what your cravings mean and what kind of movement is best in each phase. It’s as if the stars have aligned, and you really sink into what your body desires each month.

4. Stop “should”ing yourself.

This always makes people do a double take, but I love saying it. We get into these patterns where we believe we “should” be doing something or eating something or exercising in a particular way. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Why?”

With the amount of information we are bombarded with each day, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and not checking in with what we want to be doing (it’s incredibly easy to do, thanks to social media). We follow along with what works for others and might not work for us ‒ which is okay, but we need to recognize when it’s not supporting our overall well-being.

We are all so different and need different foods, drinks, and activities to feel our best ‒ that’s the IIN bio-individual approach to health! Allow yourself to step away from the “should”ing and step into allowing yourself to know what is best for you.

5. Remove rigidity.

This is a big one and goes hand in hand with “should”ing. When we’re so locked in on what others are doing, what we think we “should” be doing, we lose the ability to go with the flow, the creativity to try something new and the fun of just living life.

When we loosen our grip on what we think things (our lives, bodies, plates, bank accounts, etc.) should look like, we allow ourselves to show up more authentically and fully embrace who we are and what is happening. We let things come and go as they may ‒ which, I promise, makes life feel a whole lot better.

What are some tools you use to get back in balance physically?

1. Mindful movement

I prioritize moving my body and creating space in my schedule daily, to make sure I have time for the exercise my body is craving. That could be an early morning yoga flow, a run in the foothills, a cycling class, stretching and focusing on my breathing. Each day is going to look different, and that is what makes mindful movement so magical.

2. Nourishing food

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

Food is also a major tool I use to get back in balance physically. I pick foods that keep my blood sugar stable to not only help me feel my best but also maintain healthy hormone levels.

3. Staying hydrated

Finally, water ‒ oh, water! Water is overlooked by many, but staying properly hydrated can really make a difference in how you sleep, move, think, and feel.

How about some tools to get mentally and emotionally back in balance?

1. Meditation

This practice allows me to really connect with myself, to hear my thoughts, and bring in clarity about things that I might be struggling with. It helps me get still and be comfortable in silence. I think many people don’t start meditating because they think they need to be perfect at it or spend hours on their mats. That really isn’t the case. Allowing for five, 10, or 20 minutes in your day to meditate could significantly alter your life.

2. Journaling

It’s yet another seemingly small thing that has an incredible impact ‒ a place to vent, explain, declutter and be able to free up room in your mind. I have seen such a change in myself and my mindset since including journaling in my everyday routine.

3. Monitoring my screen time

Just like many of you, I also spend too much time on mindless scrolling, comparing myself to others, and feeling the overwhelm that comes from consuming too much. I created boundaries to ensure that I keep feeling my best, and I don’t spend too much time online, which you can do too by setting up time limits on your phone or aiming to put your phone away an hour before bedtime.

4. Spending time in nature

It really helps me feel grounded, find space, breathe in the incredible air, and rebalance myself. I start every morning (weather permitting) in my garden, and I can't think of a better way to start your day! Getting out in nature could be walking around the neighborhood or walking barefoot in your backyard and feeling earth beneath your feet. It doesn’t matter how grand or how small ‒ just make room for Mother Nature every day, if you can.

Any tools for getting back in balance spiritually?

1. Yoga

Moving through a yoga flow allows me to connect with my body. It also frees my mind to slow down during this time. Finding my breath is a way for me to decompress, allow stress to leave my body, and find the rhythm within myself. I feel more connected to myself while on my mat.

2. Essential oils

I love using a diffuser to create a space that encourages a good mood and positive energy. Essential oils can create moments of pause in your life. Sprinkling a couple of drops of essential oils into the palms of your hands and taking a couple of deep breaths can shift your mindset and mood almost instantly. If you want to wind down and sleep well, have some lavender by your bedside, to help your body relax.

How do you find balance between work and life (that illusive “work-life balance”)?

I’ve found that just like with social media and screen time, you need to create boundaries around work and personal life. Creating boundaries allows you to be focused only on the task at hand instead of multitasking and possibly blurring the line between work and personal life. I have found this to be an incredible way for me to hold myself accountable for my productivity.

I start each day with a list of my most important tasks for my business as well as for my personal life. These are items that need to get done that day and are of highest priority. These are my nonnegotiables, and I feel proud when I get to check them off the list. Creating boundaries, getting clear on the most important tasks and holding myself accountable to make the most of my time at work and at home have altered my life. I feel highly focused while working on my business, and I can turn it off and focus on my life and family time when I am there. Give it a try and see how you feel.

I also believe that there’s no perfect work-life balance, as every day is different and what’s needed at work or at home will shift. So I also want to recommend giving yourself grace and knowing that some days you will put more time and effort into work, while other days you will be needed at home, with your family.

At the end of the day, be proud of your efforts and how you showed up and know that tomorrow is a new day to try again. There are seasons of life and seasons of work, and they’re meant to change. It is all about embracing that change and finding balance within each season.

How do you support others (clients) in finding balance in their own lives?

I first work with them to uncover what is most important in their lives. This helps me know what they prioritize and enjoy. Once we’ve uncovered what’s most important, we then work on setting healthy boundaries. That could be screen time, work time, family time, or how many times they want to eat out in a week or month. The categories can be anything, but getting clear on what matters most to them and then creating boundaries to help keep these at the top of their list is imperative to finding balance.

We also work on “crowding out,” which is an IIN concept that is effective for creating new habits. For example, perhaps you find yourself reaching for processed foods, ordering takeout, or zipping up to the fast-food window for a quick meal. I would help you prepare healthier options to have at your convenience, such as finding recipes to replicate your favorite take-out dishes but with higher-quality ingredients. By having these healthier options on hand, you’ll be less likely to grab the less-good-for-you options, subsequently “crowding them out.”

If you had to pick one thing you couldn’t live without that supports your daily balance, what would it be?

My planner! There is something about putting pen to paper and being able to hold your planner in your hands that makes it special.

My life changed when I started using The Daily Page Planner. It allows you to track your water intake, your meals, your top three tasks for the day, to-do lists, and a note section as well as events, including times. I have never felt more organized or clearer about what my day will look like.

This planner helps me stay balanced during the day and on point with what I’m eating, drinking, doing and seeing. I would not be able to execute my work or personal life so well if I didn’t use this planner. Of course, you don’t need this exact planner to get these results, but I do highly recommend having a paper planner to write in daily and organize yourself accordingly.

For more information on McKenzie Joyner, you can visit her website and her Pinterest and Instagram pages. If you’re interested in learning how you too can get back in balance with IIN’s Health Coach Training Program, check out a free sample class here.

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The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was founded nearly 30 years ago and has become the world’s largest and most prestigious online health coaching and nutrition school.

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