The last couple of years I have come to realise how important it is for me to keep my life in balance. ‘Balance’ is such a subjective term. For me, it’s feeling like I’m in the right place. Like I’m headed in the right direction. It’s an imperfect mix of values, which even out to where I feel satisfied and at peace.
I find that when I’m feeling like things are off – when my mood is worse, my anxiety is skyrocketing, my eating begins to slip and I regress to not sleeping for days at a time – often it’s because somewhere, I’ve let things fall out of balance. Whether that’s by something as practical as not taking my medication or something less obvious, like not taking time out to sit and drink tea on my own, or going a few days without checking in with friends.
A few weeks ago I co-facilitated an online session for young people about living in line with your values. It should have been obvious at the time (hell, it should have been obvious four months ago when I started struggling more again) – But I think things are out of balance. So here we go – time to reassess my values, where I’m at, where I want to be, and how to get there.
First up, here are some general areas that I care about: health (physical and mental); relationships (friends and family); education; employment; community; and leisure and relaxation. There’s more to it than identifying these areas though – within these categories, what is important? What is meaningful?
Health (physical): fitness, nutritional balance, looking after my iron and b12 deficiencies, getting enough sleep.
Health (mental): regular mood, controlling anxiety, developing and utilising coping strategies, practicing mindfulness,
Relationships: connecting regularly with others, maintaining positive relationships, showing people how much I appreciate and care for them, feeling valued and loved.
Education: performing well at university, attending classes, potentially furthering my studies beyond this degree, training in areas that I am interested in continuing in.
Employment: working in a job I enjoy, doing my best, providing a service to people, connecting with individuals, earning money, being independent.
Community: giving back to my world, doing what I can in areas that I am passionate about, making a difference.
Leisure & relaxation: keeping myself calm, doing things that I enjoy, taking time out for myself, being creative.
Now – is my life at the moment actually reflecting any of these things? I guess it’s painfully obvious to everyone around me, but it’s taken me a while to catch on. It’s not. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. It’s hard to face up to… And it’s not something that I can look at, and look away. Something (many things) need to change.
* I’ll continue this post later tonight or tomorrow – thinking further into where I am versus where I want to be, what my ideals look like and starting to develop some steps and goals to get me there.