Maintaining Balance

As I sit here, trying to wake up with my morning coffee, I can’t help but think about all I have to do. The kids are “running around”, there’s dirty dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, groceries to buy, meals to prepare, bills to pay and work to do.

In the quest for achieving Your Best Life, maintaining balance is very necessary. Our busy lives can get complicated and overwhelming. We all juggle so many tasks in our day-to-day lives. There are countless chores that we MUST do, but just as many enjoyable activities we WANT to do. Many experts warn of serious physical and emotional consequences of allowing our lives to stay misaligned. Stress, problems sleeping, stomach issues, headaches, emotional waves or anxiety can wreak havoc on our bodies. The good news….. creating a balance is within our reach. We have the power! We can take control of our own lives. It just requires analyzing how we currently spend our time and a little planning. Balance is something we all strive for in our lives. I tend to think of my life in 5 main categories: professional-life, home-life, physical, social and mental/emotional health.

Our professional life takes up the majority of our time. Whether you are going to a full-time job, a student or self-employed, no doubt some of us are putting in way more than a 40 hour a week. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a career you love, which makes the grueling days a little easier. Maybe work for you is just that…..work. A means to an end. We all need money to do the things we WANT to do. In that case, it can feel like just trudging through looking forward to Saturday and Sunday. Students often have full days of classes, often 5 days a week and still have to work to pay for their education. Nevertheless, we all work hard. Damn hard. And so, it’s pretty obvious that squeezing other components into your life would be extremely beneficial.

We also all have a home-life. At the end of our very long days, we get to come home. As much as we look forward to the comforts of our soft couch and the smiling faces of our loving families, there is often much more ‘work’ to do. Household chores of cooking, cleaning and laundry can be, and usually are, the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. However, the necessary tasks must be done. Hopefully, in your household everyone pitches in and does their share, which will definitely, not only make things run smoothly, with less stress but also knock ’em out quickly. (Think DELEGATE!) Dinner time with your family can be a meaningful way to communicate, share the events of our day, laugh and spend quality time together. Try to make that a priority and enjoy it!

With so much to juggle in life, we MUST take care of ourselves! You are no good to anyone else, if you fall apart! Your overall health and wellness can be thought of as a triangle. (I love teaching this aspect in my 6th grade Health classes!) Your Health Triangle has three sides: physical, mental/emotional and social. All sides of this triangle are equal. It is vital to any type of success. Your physical health involves taking good care of your body. Exercise regularly, eat as many nutritious foods as possible, limit high sugar foods and foods high in saturated fats (moderation), and get plenty of sleep. The social side of the triangle is all about the relationships in your life: kids, family, love and friends. I call this section my heart, because let’s face it, the people in our lives motivate us. Our loved ones are usually why we work so hard. They give us a feeling of fulfillment, providing the love and happiness that feed our souls. Spending quality time with them is crucial. Be good to ‘your people’, enjoy them and you will feel great. The mental and emotional (M.E.) side of the triangle is ‘all about me’. Be sure to do the things that make your heart smile, your soul soar and give you peace of mind. That, of course, is different for everyone. Some of us practice yoga or meditation, read a good book, dance, listen to or make music, while others may enjoy to sit by a lake or the ocean to relax. Some people enjoy a kick-ass workout or long run to wipe out their stress, while others would love to take a nap. You do you.

There are never enough hours in a day. At times, we don’t have a choice but to devote most of our time to just one or two categories. When that big project at work is running behind, you have to work more. If the kids are sick, they need most of your attention that day. It’s okay. Life happens. Expect the unexpected, and accept the fact that sometimes there will be a temporary imbalance. As long as, it’s just that….temporary. You need to work on it, and stay aware. You can always squeeze in a little reprieve now and then, such as, an hour dinner date with your love, a quick 30 min workout, a 20 min power nap or even just a 5 minute meditation or prayer time. Then, on days or weeks when nothing catastrophic happens, focus more attention on what you enjoy. The bottom line is fulfill your responsibilities, but don’t forget to always take care of your body and do what makes your heart happy!

“What I dream of is an art of balance.” Henri Matisse

“Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.”   Jessye Norman

“The gift of balance in your life – may you find the balance of life, time for work but also time for play. Too much of one thing ends up creating stress that no one needs in their life.”   Catherine Pulsifer

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