Balance: Not A 'Nice To Have'

Balance is essential. When I began thinking about this month's word – balance – as part of the Self-Discovery Word by Word series, I couldn't think of a metaphor. Until I realized it was staring me right in the face – it's one of the reasons that I actually started this blog.

When I was suffering with extreme pain in my arms and neck (what is typically called RSI), what I was really suffering from was a muscle imbalance. So even the name told me that it was a lack of balance causing me pain.

My problem was caused by poor posture – some muscles being too strong and others not enough. My entire body was out of whack (if you're interested in all the gory details, read The Whole Story).

So balance is necessary for the body, but it's also key for the mind. And that's because, to me, balance is all about sustainability. When I think about making any change in my life, I always ask myself if it is sustainable. The Hub was laughing at me the other night as I told him I needed to start getting up at 6.30 a.m. again when we were back from our vacation (I have been pretty relaxed about mornings lately and for various reasons need to shape up a bit). He said that I'm always saying that, but when he leaves for work in the morning I'm still snoring away.

Fair point. But 6.30 a.m., I know I can do, 6 a.m. – not so much. Any earlier than 6.30 a.m. and I crash and burn later in the week. It's not really sustainable.

It's like with exercise. In January, my Bikram yoga studio was so packed – even on a Sunday afternoon – that it was hard to move. Such was the crush of people wanting to get in shape and excise the demons of the Christmas period.

The New Year's resolution pack doesn't really get it. Since October, I've been going to yoga once per week without fail (except for once or twice). And I'm pretty sure I've clocked up more hours than those people who attend class three times per week for the first few weeks of the year, only to get burned out and lose interest.

Once a week doesn't seem like much, but over time it can make a difference to your life. And you can build up from there – I've now started practicing twice a week. And it seemed like a natural progression, not something I was forcing myself to do.

Balance is the middle ground. It's not the ideal and it's not total chaos. For me, there can be a lot of unhappiness in stretching for the ideal. I try every day to remember that it's better to get something done, instead of doing it perfectly.

There are, however, times when your life isn't balanced. Sometimes you don't have a choice. There are people who need to give up whole food groups due to a food allergy. Or when you have a newborn, there's not a lot of time for anything else. There are people who find themselves in a work situation where there isn't an immediate way out and they have to devote a lot more time and energy to that than they'd like. And when I had so much pain in my arms and hands that I could barely type or pick things up, I couldn't really opt out of doing physio exercises for nearly an hour a day.

But realizing that there are times when balance will be impossible should make it all the more imperative to try to practice it now. And it's not a 'nice to have' – it's a necessity. Because otherwise how can you manage everything in life (your house, your body, your food, your schedule, your relationships) without going berserk? You can try to live in the middle ground – where life is sustainable. Because ironically, with sustainability, usually comes change and growth.

This post was part of this month’s Self-Discovery Word by Word Series. To find out more, or to participate, click here to read Myrite at Tasty Life's kick-off post.

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