I love the holidays, but I can dread them, too. As they quickly approach I expect a repeat of what happens every year—stress, loss of sleep, change in diet, inconsistent exercise, cluttered mind. And now after taking down and packing away the holiday decorations, I welcome the reintroduction of a routine I once knew well. I want to be back in balance!
At the end of a recent yoga class, my mind and body felt out of sync, counterintuitive of yoga’s alignment and balance. I remarked to my yoga teacher how I felt out of balance, mentally and physically. I told her it seemed the holidays had halted the strides I had made all year with healthy living, making time for mental clarity and physical exercise to find balance. A yoga classmate added, “Well, maybe that’s a good thing.”
In imbalance, we constantly search for equilibrium in our bodies and minds. But sometimes it takes being out of balance to find our place to be, to zero in on what balance is for us.
Balance is that very different things are true at the same time and both must be given attention. For instance, we need to work, and we need to play. We need to be crazy, let loose, and we need to be calm.
It seems it’s easier and quicker to get out of balance than it is to retrieve it once again. Seeking balance can be a moving target for those who feel out of balance where succumbing to that which attracts us diverts our attention, throws us into a curve away from a straight road.
Maintaining balance in our lives requires intention and discipline. We can make more conscious choices because of the time we have in being mindful. Our quest allows us to reevaluate what worked for us before and how we can even better ourselves going forward.
In being out of balance, I quickly noticed that my exercise routine became sporadic, my diet lacking nutrition and my alone-time scarce. In being mindful of my imbalances, I could make better, conscious choices. I made time for another yoga class, spent alone-time taking a walk, grabbed an apple instead of another Christmas cookie.
Do you feel in balance? Ask yourself if you can focus your attention on attaining your goals. Are you being productive? Are you moving forward meaningfully? Being in balance is saying “yes” to these questions.
If you feel as if you are always chasing balance, how about inviting balance to find you?
Consider these tips in welcoming balance to mind and body.
Spend time alone. Be with your own thoughts, your own inner dialogue and not conversing with others.
Meditate. Have no thoughts. Let them go as quickly as they pop into your mind. Let your thoughts drift away in the clouds with breezes pushing them along.
Move. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean pushing weights at the gym. Practice yoga, clean up the yard, declutter a closet. Move your body, stretch muscles, push heart rate. Better yet,
Go outside for a solitary walk. Being alone improves decision-making and creativity. “You can’t make good decisions if you never give yourself time to reflect,” says psychology professor Suzanne Degges-White.
Explore. Learn something new. Travel to a new place. Take a different walking path.
Eat more whole foods and less pre-made, pre-frozen, processed food.
Sleep. Get at least eight hours of sleep to ensure physical and brain health.
Have fun! To counter the 24/7 news cycle of our serious world, seek fun, adventure, and laughter.
Being imbalanced can be a good thing! Take the opportunity to find what connects you to your place to be.