There is a lot of discussion around the concept of ‘Life Balance’. However, balance means different things to different people. In my mind, it is ‘Somehwere in the Middle’ for each of us.
When I joined the workforce some 30 years ago, the topic of balance was linked to Time Management. I attended classes learning to prioritize and schedule all my life activities. I was taught to list all the roles in your life, set goals in each one and parse my time accordingly. That concept was supposed to help me deal with the multiple demands on my life – and in so doing I supposedly achieved balance. Actually, I felt exhausted.
Another idea about balance is one of a scale, like the one used in the Scales of Justice. You balance one thing over another around a fulcrum. There is an implication that things should be equal on both sides. Scales are a type of lever. Levers can be used to exert a large force over a small distance at one end by exerting only a small force over a greater distance at the other. Therefore it is inherent in this model that both sides do not need to be equal in weight or distance as in the Scales of Justice. In fact you can say that about life – sometimes one thing weighs more than another at any time.
Sometimes the average is used such as in ‘on average my life is balanced’. Average is a dangerous concept. For example, if your head is in the freezer and your feet are in the oven, then ‘on average’ you are ok. So both ends of your work-life existence could be in crisis but ‘on average’ you’d be … in balance?
Your body provides perhaps a vivid example how balance works. With my pituitary tumor, I’ve had intimate experience with how important it is to have your body in balance. Cortisol which is known as the stress hormone. Prolonged stress can lead to over-production of cortisol and subsequent health consequences. On the other hand, I don’t produce cortisol and almost died from insufficient cortisol a few years ago. I must be constantly aware of my stress level to divine the proper dose for me. I need to find the right balance for that day – neither too low nor too high – somewhere in the middle.
Somewhere in the middle is also the best place to be for body weight. People with either high BMI or low BMI have higher morbidity rates than those who are in the middle range. Your body likes to have a ‘middle’ where it is in balance. Above or below and you are in trouble.
Each of us has our own ‘somewhere in the middle’ … our own range of balance. We need to discovery what that ‘somewhere in the middle’ is for each of us in what we eat, how we exercise, and pace of life. Daily awareness and mindfulness is needed to assess where we are in our individual life balance. Regular checking in with yourself and adjusting can give you the feedback you need find your life balance.