The word balance is used a lot these days. We know it’s important; when we don’t have balance in our lives, we know it. We feel stressed. Pressured. Like we’re on a treadmill. We feel like something is just not right. Our sense of enjoyment in life is diminished.
While a certain amount of stress is good for us in certain situations, living in a state of constant, even “low-level” stress has a negative impact on our overall life.
Our nervous system really is like a weighing scales – in French this is literally called a “balance”. On one side we have our “fight or fight” state of our nervous system, on the other, we have our “calm and restorative” state. Our nervous system is constantly working behind the scenes, seeking balance between these two branches. The problems occur when our fight or fight branch is dominant most of the time.
So although this word “balance” may seem like a modern-day indulgent and vague concept, it really is a physiological state that influences all aspects of ourselves, including our physical and mental health, but also the quality of our relationships and our ability to focus and do our jobs well.
So how do we find balance in our busy lives?
Firstly, we have to be disciplined about finding balance. We need to help, even discipline, our nervous system to find balance.
We have to create the space to disconnect from the usual demands and pressures of life. This may be simply getting out for a lunchtime walk, where you can get take a break from emails or even having to talk to anyone. Make your own headspace. Get out for your weekend hike or golf game. Many people find yoga and meditation can help them find more balance.
It doesn’t matter what your “thing” is to help you get back to balance, make it a discipline. There will always be something to give your attention to, but it’s up to you to be disciplined about prioritising your need for balance.
Secondly, changing your perspective about taking care of yourself is vital. We’re often stuck in a belief that self-care is selfish. When we can learn to treat ourselves with more compassion and kindness, our perspective begins to change. This of course takes time and practice! Begin by asking yourself what you need to get you back to balance? Maybe it’s just 20 minutes alone time every evening, or maybe it’s getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning. Or maybe it’s your weekly dance class or book club.
Remember that your discipline of self-care will also have an outward effect, making you stronger and more resilient, and ultimately more content and better able to care for others.
Thirdly, keeping a “feedback journal” will help you keep track of how you’re doing over time. Simply having some space to get stuff out of your head, onto paper, can be a really helpful way to manage stress and challenges. Keep it as brief as you like. Seeing your journey towards more balance will be rewarding and will help get you back on track when you fall off the wagon – which we all do from time to time!
Finally, keeping in mind that your journey towards balance is a constant work in progress is key. We don’t just arrive one day to the final destination, never to feel out of balance again! But, with discipline, practice and greater self-awareness, you can more easily get back to balance, no matter what is happening on the outside.
Stay focused, be kind to yourself, and take care of the most important person in your life – YOU!
Article by Kerry White
Kerry is a Workplace Health & Wellbeing Facilitator, Speaker, Yoga Teacher & Shiatsu Therapist and the founder of Kerry Wellbeing.
Kerry specialises in workplace sessions to help people feel as well as possible, physically & mentally. Through practical and collaborative sessions, Kerry equips people in the workplace with effective tools and insights to help them deal positively with everyday stress, challenges and common health and well-being complaints (including backache, headaches, fatigue and anxiety).
Kerry has brought her unique health & wellbeing sessions to numerous top corporates and organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Because she has spent many years working in pressured office-based roles, Kerry understands the challenges many people experience, both physically and mentally.
For more information on Kerry's workplace sessions, visit: https://www.kerrywellbeing.com/