How Balanced Are You?

We're almost to the halfway point of the year so I think it's as good a time as any to reflect on the concept of balance, how might you cultivate more balance, and the dynamic nature of balance. My first post of 2018 was about starting of the year balanced and taking time to set intentions. If you haven't read the post I recommend you do; who says you can't hit the reset button on July 1st? 

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So what is balance anyway? Balance can be defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady or a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions, among a few other definitions. With those definitions:

  • how steady have you been feeling lately or how skewed and unsteady are you feeling?
  • And how equal are certain elements in your life?
  • Are you balancing work with play? Movement with stillness? Standing with sitting? Time outside with time inside?

Summer is a time of longer days which might help some things be in better balance, but might get other things out of balance. I always find myself staying up later in the summer, but maybe that's balanced on the bigger perspective with going to bed earlier in the winter. What can you do to find your own balance and steadiness?

And how do we cultivate more balance anyway? We all have different needs for balance, some of us are extroverts and feed off of others energy, some of us feel totally drained when surrounded by people all day. So what works for me may not work for you, but what you can do is observe what leads to a feeling of unsteadiness in certain situations - maybe this means noticing when you get short with co-workers or family members or maybe it's being aware of how energized, vital and happy you're feeling. We can't always be on the go and we shouldn't just spend all day sitting around either. As someone who needs to be reigned in more than motivated, a few things that have worked for me are:

  • planning and scheduling time to relax, get a massage, or take a class
  • sleeping in on weekends or going to bed earlier
  • and taking time off of work when I have lots of my personal to-do list

If you are someone who needs to be motivated more this might mean:

  • finding an accountabil-a-buddy to go for a walk or get moving in some way
  • plan a trip solo or with a friend to have something to look forward to
  • or just hitting snooze one less time with the earlier sunshine

Finally, remember that balance is dynamic, the moment we find balance we tend to lose it in the next breath and that's okay. Heck, life is more exciting when there's ups and downs, we just have to find some evenness in the ups and downs. Life would be boring if it was just one flat road with no bumps or roller coaster-like climbs and falls, wouldn't it? There's a science term, allostasis, which is a little controversial, but I like it - it's defined as stability through change in order to regain homeostasis. We are rarely at this perfect balancing point of homeostasis, or stable equilibrium, and we are more often in allostasis, finding some sort of stability through change and being dynamic. In other words, what helped you feel balanced and steady last year might not work this year and that's okay, we are adaptable creatures and sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

Everything in life is temporary - the flowers blooming this week will be gone before we know it, the rain or heat coming will soon pass, the excitement that summer brings will soon fade, so let's enjoy it while we can and do our best to find some balance along the way.

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