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Sandra Pelser Art female portrait

We are taught from an early age that balance in life is very important. When you look back at your life, what lessons rank amongst your top 3? I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them had to do with leading a balanced life.

I was told that a healthy body houses a healthy mind. Little did I know that this would be one of the wisest statements I’d ever hear. Sandra and I have found it not only being at the centre of a happy and productive existence, but also very tricky to maintain.

Since moving to Knysna about 10 years ago, we have placed a lot more emphasis on maintaining balance. We try to focus on these three areas of our existence: Body, Mind and Soul.


Neil and Sandra Pelser riding e-bikes Cape Argus, Cape Town 2022
Cape Argus 2022

Living in a country like South Africa (and especially in the Garden Route) gives us so many opportunities to exercise in beautiful environments. We have recently taken up cycling and have found it to be one of the most enjoyable ways of staying fit. We also enjoy daily walks and the occasional hike.

Before a hard day’s work in the studio, Sandra and I like to do a bit of stretching and yoga. We are most creative when we are well rested and maintain a healthy diet. We also benefit greatly from the occasional power nap. It’s amazing how just 30 minutes of rest can increase your productivity.


Planning, learning, reading and writing are the fundamentals of a healthy mind. I’ve learned so much from Stephen R. Covey’s book,The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It teaches us how to prioritse and plan for a balanced life.

In the Sandra Pelser Art Studio we have a scribble wall. Here we are able to jot down, doodle and draw our thoughts, feelings and even grocery lists. The wall changes often and some things stay up for years. We have found this to be a wonderful space for organizing, planning and letting go.

Scribble wall in the Sandra Pelser Art Studio


Food for the soul includes nature, music, art, and meditation. I think the reason why Sandra is able to create such serene ladies is because we have set up her studio space to encompass all of these elements.

I have been practicing meditation for some years and more recently Sandra has jumped on the bandwagon too. It is an incredible stress management tool and much less ‘heebie jeebie’ than it sounds. Do yourself a favour and check out Sam Harris’s app for meditation, Waking Up.

Body, mind and soul are like the three legs of an easel. Damage or loss to one of the legs upsets the easel’s balance, making it difficult or even impossible to paint. The challenge is to commit to and maintain a plan that continuously addresses all three areas.

What are your tips for maintaining a balanced life? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Written by Neil Pelser for 'Thoughts from the Studio' Art Blog

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