Last week, in an effort to express my ideas about pursuing balance, I accidentally wrote a poem! This week, I am going to give it another try and see if I can articulate my thoughts a little more concretely.
Staying balanced is challenging. We all juggle a lot, from social time to “me” time, personal responsibilities to professional responsibilities, and spiritual pursuits to physical pursuits. Everyone prioritizes these things differently, and it’s important for us all to figure out where we personally feel the most centered. If we stay focused on pursuing that center, we can avoid unhealthy extremes, maintain a clearer perspective, and keep our stress levels more in check.
So, ask yourself — where is my center?
- What is my ideal balance between my social time and my personal time? Perhaps defining whether you are introverted or extraverted is a good place to start with this question.
- How do I want to prioritize my work versus my relationships? Think about what balance makes you feel most centered, on top of things, and happy.
- What do I need to do to feel fulfilled, both in mind and body? This question spans from your basic physical needs like eating, sleeping, and exercising to your abstract spiritual needs. Both are important.
Defining your center is great, but finding it can be a little harder. Here are five tips to help you get there.
- Always prioritize your essential needs. Smart food choices, being consistently active, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep are all important for our health. We can define our own specifics, keeping in mind that these choices are the basis for what keeps us balanced.
- Set realistic expectations. Avoid overcommitting at the outset. Realize that you may need to accept imperfection, and that that’s okay! If you’ve already overcommitted, cut yourself some slack when you feel like you need it.
- Practice mindfulness. Frequently ask yourself: how do I feel? Then, listen to yourself and take the appropriate action. If you realize you feel anxious or overwhelmed — you should slow down and recalibrate. If you feel tired — maybe you need to take some time off and rest. If you start feeling sad, maybe you need to focus on self care for a little while. It can be hard to take the appropriate action, but it’s important to take your feelings seriously before you get completely out of balance.
- Pursue multiple things you love. Focusing on things you love will help you stay happy, motivated, and energized. That said, it’s important not to get TOO focused on one thing, because then you might risk neglecting other important things in your life. Personally, I find that balancing my focus on multiple things I love helps me to avoid disappointment and keep things exciting. I find that “moderation in all things” is sage advice.
- Persevere. We are all bound to struggle with finding balance. Sometimes there is nothing else we can do but persevere. If we stay focused on moving forward and avoid dwelling on the past, we continue to move in the right direction. We can learn from our hardships, be grateful for their lessons, and move on. Keeping a steady and positive attitude is one of our greatest tools towards eventually finding our center.
If you think about it physically — what do you do when you start to lose your balance? Your stomach muscles engage. You stick your arms out to steady yourself. You focus on your center and you extend your wings.