What happens when we lose our balance? We fall over.
This is the same when we lose balance in our lives however; the physical act of falling over is replaced with illness.
If you stand on one leg you feel your body wobble and you immediately try to correct the wobble; if you fall over, you make a quick movement to stop yourself falling flat on your face, such as moving your legs, or putting your hands out; your body will do this automatically so you don’t have to think about it.
The problem with imbalance in our lives is that the effects are sometimes not as sudden as wobbling or falling over. Problems can build up over time and most of the time we keep pushing rather than listening to what our body is trying to tell us; we ignore the wobble(s)
How many of you keep pushing when you are unwell? Or fight through the pain when part of your body hurts? Sound familiar?
Why do we do this? Firstly, society tells us how to act; it can be seen as weakness to stop or say ‘NO, I can’t do this’; some people (mainly men) think it is macho to push through pain; and some people laugh about the coffee or sugar that they need in order to make it through the day.
Secondly, we can feel that we don’t have a choice. While we always have a choice, it can be impossible at times to feel that we do. This is particularly bad in the workplace. How many times have you stayed late at the office or gone in when you felt ill, purely because you didn’t think you had a choice?
Most of us struggle with finding balance in our lives and imbalance can occur anywhere and at any time.
You may be struggling with a work/life balance, especially if you have a young family; you may have a nutritional imbalance (a stressful life can mean that you do not eat properly); you may be in an imbalanced relationship, where someone close to you drains your energy or expects too much of you. Whatever the problem, it is really important to find balance in your life in order to keep healthy.
When I went for CBT, my therapist explained this to me in a brilliant way, which is reflected in the simple diagram below.Think of your body as the bucket (well it is a vessel for your soul and organs); the tap at the top lets in all of the stress factors you experience on a day to day basis; the more stress you are exposed to the quicker your bucket fills up.
The tap at the bottom is the release from stress, this can include coping strategies, support systems and nurturing activities. When this tap is turned on, it lets the stress out of your body.
Balance occurs by keeping the water level (or stress level) at a point where you feel you can cope easily with whatever is thrown at you. Sometimes you may have huge amounts of stress, such as the passing of a loved one; this means your bucket fills up fast, and so it is really important in these situations to nurture yourself so that it does not overwhelm you.
If you keep the top tap open and the bottom tap closed the bucket overflows and you end up in a right mess. The answer though is not to turn the tap at the top off; you need a certain level of stress in your life, it can be good for your body, plus this is where your life experiences come from.
It is not just about the stresses and the releases; you also need to keep your bucket well maintained. If your bucket leaks then you lose all control of what is happening. This is where exercise, nutrition and well-being come into the process; you will find it a lot easier to deal with stresses if your body and mind are healthy.
Just think of the ways you choose to relax or what you do to keep going through stressful situations. Most of us will have used some, if not all of the following to ‘keep going’ including alcohol, sugar, caffeine, drugs, fast food, processed food etc….. The reason we turn to these is because they are a quick fix, and easy to do. The problem is that all of these are really toxic for our bodies and have a massive impact on our health.
How many of you ‘need’ coffee to get going in the morning, and then ‘need’ that caffeine fix later in the day?
When you are tired after a long day at work, it is easier to get a takeaway and sit down with a bottle of wine in front of the TV than it is to go for a run and cook a meal.
Finding balance is not easy, you have to work at it every day, a little bit at a time; but just imagine how good life would be if you did have that balance? How would you feel? fitter, stronger, more confident and generally happier?
I will show you ways to try and find that balance in future blogs; in the mean time start off by making sure you find some time for yourself, somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed, and use that time to really relax your mind and your body. Go for it!
Thank you, thank you, thank you