Monday, 14 August 2017

My Guide to Balance.

My Guide To Balance- My General Life


Balance. I have talked about balance on the blog before, but it was a little while ago and honestly looking back at the post now, I don’t feel that it’s as informative as I’d like it to be. And so I thought I’d take another crack at it. I received some really positive responses from my self care post last week (thank you so much!), and so I thought I’d try to tackle balance in more of an in depth, useful manner. Because really, what is this blog doing if it’s not giving you something useful?

I think that this guide on balance follows on nicely from my self care post as the two, I feel, are closely linked. I hope that each of them will allow you to feel more empowered towards enhancing and taking control of your own health and wellbeing, something I am keen for this space to promote.

WHAT IS BALANCE?


Well, in the context of this post, I’m referring to balance being more of an equilibrium of your daily activities and demands, rather than being able to balance on one leg or on your hands (although wouldn’t being able to handstand with ease be an absolute joy?). 

I think, like I discussed with self care, it’s hard to put a concrete definition to balance as it’s such an individual concept. What constitutes balance for one person, might be complete imbalance for another. And although time use and daily activities are important considerations for balance, it’s also important to consider individual values and attitudes alongside the socio-cultural environment as these too will influence balance and perception of balance.

When doing a little further reading for this post, I came across an article that discussed balance being more akin to being centred with a stable base rather than the traditional analogy of a scale. I like this way of looking at balance as life is generally not about balancing out two separate things, it’s a dynamic process and usually consists of far more than that. The disturbance of a stable base can be far less severe than that of a scale and can allow you opportunity to decide what to ride out and take some instability for, whether it be for good or bad, and what to let go of.

WHY IS BALANCE IMPORTANT?


Balance, in my opinion, is very closely linked with self care. In fact, I believe that being mindful of balance in your daily life is indeed one large act of self care. Although hard to fully define, in it’s essence it’s about creating some stability and equilibrium in what you do and why you do it in order to enhance your overall wellbeing.

I’m sure we’ve all had periods of time where we have felt that we’re doing too much of one thing and not enough of something else. Be it working extra hours, or being unemployed and having a lack of productive tasks to focus on, or not feeling that you have enough time to pursue your leisure interests because of other commitments. Or even, as I discussed in my self care post, being so bogged down in the daily grind that you lack opportunity to take care of you.

IS BALANCE EVEN ACHIEVABLE?


Balance itself could be viewed as an idealistic concept. One that we strive for but very rarely reach due to ever changing factors. And even if we do reach it, it may only be for a fleeting moment.

What I feel is important is taking what you do and trying to align it with your values, beliefs, attitudes, resources and socio-cultural environment. This is where, I believe, a true sense of wellbeing will come into play, through the alignment of action and values. Because there will be things in life that you don’t have control over, that are non-negotiable time commitments, such as work or looking after family/children. It might be easy to allow these non-negotiable commitments to flip you into a state of total imbalance, unless they align with your values and with your beliefs and allow you to live with integrity. Now it might be that you can’t fully align your actions and values overnight and that this is something that requires a little work, development and consideration.

While striving for a more balanced life can be important and helpful in promoting overall wellbeing and ensuring that you are taking opportunity to care for yourself, it’s also important to be flexible in your approach in order to ensure that the act of striving for balance doesn’t take over and prevent you from enjoying the moment.

Remember the stable base analogy? This analogy allows for flexibility, it allows for movement forward, backward, side to side, up and down. You create your stable base, your balance, by aligning your actions with your values and then when life throws you a curve ball, you can take it and adjust your base accordingly.

WHAT CREATES BALANCE/IMBALANCE?


As we’ve discussed, balance is pretty subjective, changeable and, at times, idealistic. But it allows us, within reason, to strive towards a life that promotes our wellbeing and allows us to live with integrity.

So what promotes balance or throws it off kilter? Well we’ve already discussed about aligning your actions and activities with your values, for me this is a big one in promoting balance. I think it is also important to highlight your priorities and the activities/commitments that are most important to you and your overall wellbeing. This enables you to make a conscious choice around what you do or don’t engage in, because doing it all just isn’t sustainable option in the longer term. Balance isn’t about doing more or trying to squeeze more activities into your day. It’s about being selective with the time you have, with what is important to you and what will help to promote your overall wellbeing.

When you think of imbalance, I’m sure all of us can conjure up an image of what that might entail. For me it’s feeling like I must stay late after work every day to get everything done, not being able to take part in my hobbies/leisure time and feeling totally overwhelmed by the housework I’ve let build up as a result. I think with many circumstances, finding the negative is always that bit easier than finding the positives, but we can use this to our advantage when we’re considering what will promote balance in our own lives. Because if you know what imbalance looks like, then you can clearly see what you don’t want/need. You can identify the circumstances in which your actions and values don’t align and how this might impact on your overall wellbeing.

HOW DO WE WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING BALANCE?


I’ve mentioned throughout this post that balance is individual and subjective, and so improving balance isn’t going to be a one size fits all job. But I’ve put together a few tips to help you on your way.

IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES

First and foremost, I think it’s important to spend some time reflecting and considering where your values lie and what is important to you. Consider your current circumstances and resources, your belief systems, your future goals and expectations and how all of this links together to create your current values. Also remember that values can change, and that’s ok. I’ve have a huge shift in my values and beliefs over the last few years, which has hugely altered my life. There’s also nothing to say that those values won’t continue to adapt and change in the future as I gain more life experience and perspective.

TAKE STOCK OF YOUR ACTIONS

Take time to consider the activities that you participate in throughout the day/week. Consider which of these are non-negotiable and which are through choice and have the potential to be flexible. This, alongside your identified values will allow you to start creating a picture of what balance and imbalance looks like to you and how you can start to adapt or make any changes needed to work towards this.

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Once you have a clear idea of where your values lie and what your daily/weekly activities look like, you can start to set some intentions around how you want to progress towards a more balanced lifestyle and work towards aligning your actions with you values. Your intentions don’t need to be huge, nor do you need to have multiple intentions if you don’t feel that this would be effective for you at the current time. If needs be, prioritise one intention and focus on working towards that, gradually adding further intentions when you feel you have the space to do so.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION

Balance is a journey and a potentially wobbly one at that. Give yourself permission to explore and take time to find out what balances/imbalances your life and how you might adapt or change this to align with your values and current circumstances.

REMEMBER: IT’S YOUR JOURNEY

As we’ve touched on throughout this post, balance is subjective and individual. Try not to let what others are doing or not doing influence what’s important to you and where you wish to progress to. It is up to you to create a balance of what is meaningful and important to YOU!

My Guide To Balance- My General Life


I hope that you will find this Pinterest friendly graphic helpful, if you hover over any of the images in my posts it gives you the option to save it to one of your Pinterest boards so that you can easily find or reference the post again in the future.

I have really enjoyed pulling a longer, more informative post together and putting some of my knowledge to good use. I hope that it’s helpful to have more information together in one place so that it’s easier to find and allows the post to become more of a guide than a discussion post.

Let's start a conversation:
I'd love to know how you try to promote balance in your life and how you work towards aligning your actions with your values.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan.










2 comments:

  1. This is a really great post - I think I've been a little unbalanced lately - when I have a task to do, everything else in my life seems to go out the window.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Rosa! I hope that it can encourage some thoughts around how you might instil a little more balance to you day xx

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