ÔA BALANCED LIFE- SOMETIMES ILLUSIVE AT BESTÕ
Ever end a wonderful relaxing weekend with a tense Sunday evening filled with thoughts of Monday morningÕs work- followed by a restless night of sleep? Are you short with the kids, have no energy to be romantic with your husband or wife, you even deny the faithful family dog a pat on the head. When you finally begin to realize itÕs not them and you ask yourself, what is going on, you know youÕre way off your balance point. We may then rationalize, saying itÕs how we live, everyone else is in the same boat, thatÕs just my life for now and thereÕs nothing I can do about. If you canÕt do something about, who can?
Unfortunately, or fortunately the body will only put up with so much, and one way or another it will finally say enough, sometimes through an illness or some other life-altering event. Some people would like to think that we create our own illnesses to save ourselves, maybe we do, but if that is always the case then why do people with seemingly balanced happy lives get sick and die? IÕd like to argue that point, but first consider this: illness is the only acceptable way to withdraw from society. What do you think would happen if you got up tomorrow and said you werenÕt going to work anymore, or you were going to drop out and travel for a while. Everyone from your family and friends to your investment banker would ask, ÒAre you nuts?Ó
Whether or not we do or do not create our own illnesses will be an on going argument for sometime to come, with most experts leaning towards the belief that we do not create our own illnesses. Yes, each of us is genetically predisposed with certain tendencies, and we may add to or diminish those possibilities towards disease through personal health habits good or bad.
With the possibility that we may create our illnesses comes the responsibility for itÕs creation and blame that goes with that kind of thinking. The sooner one can move past a state of blame the sooner healing will occur. Blame and forgiveness cannot occupy the same space in your mind at the same time.
Are you in balance? Asking yourself these few simple questions can help you determine how balanced you are-
What is the general state of your energy levels, regardless of your age? Are you so fatigued from a day of work that you collapse, kick the dog, scream at the kids, asleep in the chair at six?
Does vacation no longer rejuvenate you, making you feel ready to return and take on the day?
Does your body shout at you with aches and pains?
Do you over use medications?
Are you forgetful about even important things?
Do you over sleep or suffer insomnia?
Are you using alcohol to relax?
Stay tuned, next week in part two weÕll take a look at ways you can achieve more balance in your body and your life. Till next time, Rebecca.
Last week in part one of a balanced life I discussed problems and causes surrounding the high stress life most of us live and how balance can be illusive. This week I will take a look at steps you can take to achieve more peace and balance in your everyday life.
Included in last weekÕs article was a self-question/inventory to help you examine where you may need to make some adjustments to find a better balance point. If you really want to make some life long changes it will take more than a few minutes and a few questions to get at the reasons underlying stressors. You may have to journal for a while asking even more probing questions to get to the heart of the issue. Which, in some cases just by writing it or speaking it is the solution.
If you are one of the lucky ones that understands what the problem is, donÕt assume that you can side step all the rest, start with a plan and stick to it. Write out the steps, looking closely at short, medium and long range goals. Gather all the help you need- books, journals, professional counseling and a support system of family and friends.
Still stuck? Sit with your journal and ask yourself these questions-
1. How do I feel? Do I feel happy, sad, grateful, lonely, secure, tired, hungry? Just note your feelings, donÕt over think it and write about those feelings.
2. What do I need? This may sound strange but many of us cannot simply state our needs. This is a problem, but if you have first asked yourself how you feel, you can better answer this question. Too many times especially when it comes to the larger issues such as career we wonÕt even allow ourselves to think it. Change is a scary thing.
3. Do I need support? We step off the pedestal of perfectionism and isolation when we are willing to ask for help. Asking for help may seem weak yet it many times brings family or friends closer together by giving them the role of helper or advisor. DoesnÕt it make you feel good when you help a friend solve a problem?
4. Are my expectations reasonable? Most twelve-step programs such as AA talk about lowering your expectations. People and relationships can be disappointing. We can disappoint ourselves as well. If we donÕt demand perfectionism of others and ourselves we live more fully without having our feelings bruised and hurt all the time.
5. Is my thinking positive and powerful? If you feel powerful today, donÕt be afraid to express it. YouÕll find it grows by geometrics.
Other important steps to take when seeking improved balance include: a healthier diet, exercise, and the right amount of sleep, medical check ups and dental appointments. Take a good balanced supplement, vitamins in the morning, minerals at night for rest, restore and repair. Have a massage once a month. Include some time for fun and laughter. Go out with your friends- donÕt hibernate at home.
Having balance in ones life does not mean there isnÕt some drudgery- paying the billings, dealing with illness, work stress, emptying the trash, the grass still grows and will need cutting. Hopefully though, as we find more balance our attitudes towards lifeÕs chores will improve leaving us more open to move quickly through the drudge and on to the good stuff. Till next time, Rebecca