As a health coach, a common concern I hear is that “my life isn’t balanced.” People refer to a poor “work-life balance,” finding themselves spending more time doing chores than going fishing, noticing that they can’t figure out the “right mix” of exercise to relaxation, and so on. Even when they complete a Personal Health Inventory and explore the eight areas of self-care on the The Circle of Health, they notice strengths in some areas, challenges in others, and may think the goal is for all areas to be equal. So, how can these people find balance?
In fact, balance is very difficult to achieve and impossible to maintain for a simple reason: We need to focus on different things at different times. A couple who just started dating and believe their relationship is “work” won’t be dating for long; new parents who believe eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is required for well-being will be constantly frustrated; and an athlete who spends equal time watching TV and training for an event won’t be very competitive.
We often think of balance like a scale, but it’s more like a symphony. If every member of the orchestra played as loud as they could throughout a piece, no one would enjoy it. The music comes to life when there are different volumes, when the violins lead one passage and soften when the woodwinds take over, and when the brass and percussion play off each other instead of competing. Similarly, trying to make all areas of our lives equal will result in more pain than recognizing what’s most important at a point in time.
When you find yourself feeling unbalanced in your life, take a mindful moment to reflect on your goals and intentions. Is this a time where the lack of balance is causing problems and should be addressed? Or is this a period where one area needs more focus than others?
Finding balance with yoga
This 9-minute video features Yoga Teacher Matthew Sanford and Greater Los Angeles VA Physician Indira Subramanian exploring how your thoughts can help you find physical balance and strength. In the same way you strive to find balance in your life, you can practice finding it in your body.
You can also check out the other sessions in this series here on #LiveWholeHealth Archives.