Balance – What is that?

October 8, 2015 Thoughts

We often hear about the need for balance in life to help control things like stress, a balanced approach to dieting so we don’t yo-yo, a balance between cardio and strength in exercise.  We use the word balance a lot;  Do we really know what it means and how we can achieve it? 

A dictionary definition of balance is: a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

successful_balanced_and_healthy_lifestyle_program1I  struggle with balance, not because of a lack of desire, but because it doesn’t always seem possible.  It used to be worse than it is now.  With full-time work and a long commute I was out of the house and in work mode 11 hours a day, 5 days a week.   I sleep between 7 -8 hrs a night for optimum health.  That left 5 hours on a week-day for relationship with significant other, kids, house, outside extra-curricular activities, socialising, me time, etc…   The break-up of time was therefore – 55 hours of work-time,  55 hours of sleep, and 68 hours for everthing else. On paper it seems that the ability to balance is there.  I didn’t feel balanced.  It felt like work was a much bigger burden.

Since becoming self-employed I have discovered a few things about balance, and most of them have to do with choice and awareness.

Some days I can work more than 11 hours.  Some days I work less than 2 hours.  Every day, even weekends I usually put in an hour or two at least, as I love what I do.  I now get to choose when and if I work, and having the choice helps a lot in creating balance.  Some days are still determined by “must do’s”  Tuesdays especially are controlled to some extent by outside commitments that I must attend to.  I can offset that by working less on a Monday or Wednesday so that I don’t feel like life is getting out of balance.

I have now realised that balance is about choice and focus.

Many people feel that work is a bigger burden even if the hours don’t show that because the ability to choose the working hours is not available.  If they are anything like me, Sunday evenings were a right off as you are thinking about work, the coming week, how long it will be etc.

There is a solution!  Choose to be fully in the moment with what you are doing.  Life will seem more balanced if you focus completely on one thing at a time.

If it is about personal time, then don’t think about work, your partner, what else you could be doing, or worse, should be doing.  Focus intently on feeling great in the space you are in, whether having your hair done, a great massage, a warm bath or reading a good book.

When you are with your children, whether young or adult, focus on having the best quality time with them you can.  Let them be the sole focus of that time, everything else can wait.

Lessen the burden of work by leaving it behind every single day as you walk out the door, and only take it back up again as you walk in.  Focus solely on work in the hours that you are there.  You will be more productive that way too.

Balance in life in the end is about choice and focus.  Take the time to work out what gives you the most value in relation to work, family, others, experiences and self-time and build your week around that.  Then choose to focus on the moment and the activity to the exclusion of all else so that the time is quality if not quantity.  Feel the pleasure and the productivity of each moment, as the sense of fulfilment will add to the feeling of balance in your life.

Going back to the dictionary definition – balance is equipoise.  Being at peace and content with the activity that you are doing as you are doing it.

Love and Light

Maryanne