Finding balance in our lives can be as difficult as finding a handsome, smart, successful, emotionally healthy guy on a Match.com first date.
We think we have him, his messages were nice, he picked us up in a clean car, he chose a good restaurant, and then he says something like, “Just so you know, my wife won’t be allowed to work so I hope that is ok with you” while separating his food by color and eating a pea at a time.
Handsome, yes? Emotionally healthy? Fail.
We usually need a few tries to find Mr. Right, and finding life balance can be equally as tricky- we think we have found a schedule that works, a mindfulness practice that brings us calmness, and have carved out time for friends and health on a weekly basis. But that lasted a couple weeks before we “got busy” or distracted or our work schedule ran away with us or happy hour sounded more appealing than gym time or insert reason here:________________.
Balance is worth pursuing though- much like a good man- despite these challenges.
It is the breath matching our movement, our words mirroring our thoughts, and the actions corresponding with our desires.
We are out of balance if:
- If we are doing things that aren’t aligned with our goals
- If we feel we lack willpower for healthy habits
- If we have unaddressed feelings of consistent sadness or anxiety
- If we allow impulses to overpower what we know is right for us
- If stress feels like the norm
We need a steady and sturdy stance for our body to remain upright.
In our emotional lives, this sturdiness is provided by the relationship we have with ourselves. If we truly like ourselves, find ourselves fun to hang with, and view ourselves as good peeps, than yes- it is much easier to build atop this steady space.
I find balance in several ways. I love to write (duh), and I’m also a voracious reader. Dr. P calls books “the new clothes” since I outkicked my clothing coverage and now have a bit of a book shopping problem (gulp).
I also workout- yoga always helps me find peace- but a good 3-5 mile run after work or a heavy lifting session on Saturday morning opens up the door to a great day.
I stay close with family- both over the phone and for visits. Friends are family to me as well, and I try to open up my schedule best I can to accommodate much-sought-after coffee talks or ladies nights.
Dr. P is an obvious balancer as well. Having a significant other can help add 3 years to your life, according to the most recent National Geographic article I was reading the other day. But quality time is key. We ask one another about our days every evening and include one another in just about every decision we make in life- exceptions include colors of lipstick (me) or ironic T-shirt choices (Dr.P).
Nurturing relationships is one of the most balanced things we humans can do as social creatures.
I also find balance through cooking, meditating, taking daily breaks for hot tea and deep breathing, and choosing food that I know will nurture my body- plant-based eating with whole foods.
Lastly, honesty is great for balance. In yoga philosophy, the satya is the name for truthfulness and it is one of the main yamas- or ethical practices for how we should view the world.
Honesty creates less need to spend mental energy on lies- both lies to others and lies to ourselves. Honestly helps heal the world, tikkun olam. When we honestly assess our strengths and weaknesses, we can better build on our strengths. When we are honest when we make a mistake, we create a space where mistakes are ok. And honestly repairs any damage done to the relationship with yourself and loved ones.
In Judaism, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is this week. We think back over the previous year and identify what apologies need to happen so that we may be atoned. I love this. Forgive ourselves and others for any transgressions-remember, balance needs this sturdy base.
Here’s some balance homework for the next week:
- Sit quietly for 10 minutes a day with your eyes closed. Focus only on the breath. If distracted, always bring it back to counting your breaths.
- Tell every loved one you talk to or see that you love them. Every time you talk to them or see them.
- Go for a 30 minute walk daily. At least.
See if we can cultivate some good, balanced energy with these few practices for a short period of time. Who knows, we might discover something new about ourselves.
And don’t give up on those Match.com dates! Hope is also a great balancer.