When you hear the term “life balance” what do you think of? I think most people instantly think of work/life balance? When I Googled “life balance” all of references on the web referenced work/life balance. It made me wonder, surely there are more than just two aspects of balance. Although, I think that’s what most people think of when I say life balance but that’s just part of the story. Here in the United States we’re so focused on our work, what we do and our status in the world, that it tends to overshadow our personal pursuits.
But how did we end up with just two categories: work and life? Work is the time you spend at work and life is ALL the rest? How is that possible? Do we really work so many hours that it deserves equal billing with life?? We’re talking life here guys. LIFE. Off the top of my head I think that includes our spouses, children, parents, home, meals, religion or spirituality, health, fitness, leisure activities and hobbies, taking care of our homes and pets… the list goes on and on. Sounds to me like there’s a lot going on in that “life” category.
A web article I found says, “Balanced living means having a positive outlook, focusing on good habits, and lowering stress.” What even is that?? Good habits? Like remembering to feed the dog or not leaving your small children alone in the car? Brushing my teeth is a good habit… is that what they’re talking about? If I worry about lowering my stress doesn’t that create more stress???
The second article I clicked on said to live a balanced life we must get rid of the stress. Ok, Poof – stress gone. Like if it were that easy there wouldn’t be stress, am I right? The next point it makes is fun – It says to wake up 30 minutes early each morning to “savor a cup of coffee”. (It’s fun if you say that like the international Dos Equis man, “I don’t always drink coffee, but when I do, it makes all of my stress disappear – raises one eyebrow, fade to beach scene).
WTF is that all about? Like savoring a cup of coffee is going to solve the all world problems? Yikes – kinda wish it were that simple though. Sorry pie in the sky blogger lady, if getting up early to drink coffee was going to magically balance my life I’d be all over that.
The third site I clicked on said we should be cooking healthy meals for ourselves so that we can maintain a balanced diet. Again, not a bad idea, if that’s what you’re in to. But if you don’t have time or cooking isn’t your thing, the mere suggestion could freak you out AND make you feel guilty about the delivery pizza you fed your family last night.
How is it that the totality of the interweb (as my friend Cindy calls it – a throw back to our tech training days) thinks you can create life balanced by adopting some good habits, taking time to savor coffee and cooking your own meals? Ok in all fairness, I didn’t search every result, but those were in the top five!
When I posed the question on Facebook my friend Leeann said it’s a balance of Yin and Yang. I like that because its the balance of opposing energies. Simply put they convey good/bad, black/white, up/down, male/female, hot/cold… you get the idea.
Another friend says it means she eats her peanut butter cup and then her salad. That totally makes sense too but does either answer help us achieve balance in our daily lives?
The fact that the post got 3 likes and two comments tells me one of three things: either no one cares about life balance, no one knows what it means or that’s not the kind of shit you’re supposed to post on Facebook. Thanks no thanks for the help Facebook friends! I’ll have to figure it out on my own.
So what exactly is life balance? I pondered this question and after a lot of thought I came up with a definition that I like that seems to resonates with me. I believe…
” a balanced life allows one the opportunity to give every part of their life the amount of time and attention they deem appropriate and healthy.”
That’s it. Pretty simple right? This definition of a balanced life is just my definition. It may not match up with yours and that’s okay.
I challenge you this week to come up with your own definition. I encourage you to share it in the comments below (‘cuz we all learn from each other). Or just jot it down and make sure you can find it later as we continue to explore this topic of balance.
Coming Next Week:
Next week we’re going to explore the signs and symptoms of being out of balance. Some of them might surprise you!
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