Finding Balance

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This is something that can be difficult to do, but it is very important for both our mental and physical health.  This can encompass so many things from what we eat to how we choose to spend our time.  Maintaining a good balance of foods is always good for your health.  We shouldn’t be working and getting things done all the time and leave no time for play.  We need to make time in our schedules for doing active things so that we are not too sedentary.  Parents need to find balance between how much time they spend with their kids and how much time they save for each other.  And they should make sure there is a balance in their parenting styles so that one parent isn’t viewed as the fun parent while the other is seen as “the nag” who only is concerned about the kids getting their things done.  Some people tend to focus more on meeting others’ needs and forget to make sure they devote some time to their own well-being.  We can easily blame others for things that go wrong or are not right in our lives, but sometimes we need to step back and assess our part in the situation and admit to our mistakes, if we made any.  At times we may find ourselves needing to hold on while other times needing to let go.  We may find ourselves focused on all the negative things happening to and around us, but at some point it all becomes easier to deal with when we can shift gears and find the positives and things for which we can be grateful.  Sometimes we need to find balance between wants and needs.  And there are times where we will be more apt to make decisions based on our fears and playing it safe, while other times we may be more willing to get out of our comfort zone and take chances.  The thing I struggle with is while spending too much time reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, I forget to enjoy the present.

These things are all great areas to strive for balance, but we shouldn’t get too undone if we can’t always achieve that balance all the time.  I look at it more of an overall thing.  While it’s obviously a better choice to eat healthy as much as possible, it’s OK to have that fried dough or ice cream sundae every so often, because it will do our mental health some good, especially if it is coupled with quality time with friends or family.  Maybe one week is pretty focused on activities centered around the kids, but then every so often there’s a block of alone time or time out with friends that will seem even more special once it happens because it doesn’t happen all the time.  So it’s OK to be off balance some of the time.  After all, how much fun would a teeter-totter be if it was constantly balanced in the middle or if you were stuck at the top or bottom?  Not very.  The fun is in the up and down, and when you occasionally stop right in the middle for a short while, it feels so good.

Life can be like that too.  Recognizing when we are off balance is the key thing, in my opinion.  I can tell the difference in my temperament when I have been cooped up in the house for a while, either due to the weather or for any other reason.  When that happens, I try to make a point to find reasons to be outside or just be with other people, even if it’s just running some errands where I have to get in and out of my car a few times.  The fresh air, sunshine, and change of scenery does me good.  My body tells me when I have not been so good about what I have been eating or if I need to be better about getting more sleep.  If you’ve got reasonably good balance to begin with in areas like these, then it shouldn’t take too long or too much effort to get back on a even keel.  And even if you can’t bring things totally in balance, hopefully you can bring it at least a little closer.  If you can’t find a lot of time to spend doing fun stuff or being with your family, for example, maybe a little extra snuggle time with the kids or something along those lines can make a difference.

It is challenging at times to find balance in my own life, but I am having even more difficulty trying to get my kids to understand the importance of doing so.  Being that they are kids, they want to do mostly fun stuff like TV and electronics and put off any work that needs to be done for later, which often backfires on them.  We all can be like that sometimes.  Getting them to eat a healthy variety of foods and to be more active is often challenging.  I just hope as they get older, they learn to create balance in all the ways I’ve mentioned and also how to get back on track so they are never stuck on a teeter totter for too long. And hopefully, they will continue to learn about themselves in the process of doing so.

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