When we are faced with injury or illness, a slump or feel a little lost in our lives, the search for an answer can often be overwhelming. There are so many different health practitioners, with a multitude of theories and opinions, some based on science and research, some not. And with research constantly re-defining what it means to be healthy, the process of finding health can be very confusing.
For me, my definition of health is finding BALANCE in my life.
And remember that everyone’s version of balance is different. I don’t mean a strict schedule of daily non-negotiables: meditate, exercise, work, relax, spend time with your kids, be in bed by 9pm for 8-hours sleep. Sometimes this strict process of trying to maintain balance can be stressful and unnatural in itself.
Writer and podcaster Brooke McAlary shares a much healthier and realistic type of balance in her book SLOW. She calls it ‘Wobbly Balance’ – a type of balance that acknowledges how life sometimes gets out of control. You might have moved cities, started a new job, gone through a break-up or simply said yes to too many things. This is when your daily non-negotiables start to slip.
And this is ok.
We need to learn to tilt our attention to areas that need it most. This might mean skipping your daily meditation to get some extra sleep, or taking a week off exercise because your body needs rest! As Brooke explains:
Balance should be fluid and flexible, alive and aware! Balance should be a long-term sustainable goal rather than a series of short-term checklists.
Here’s what wobbly balance means to me:
- Eating well most of the time and indulging every now and then
- Moving my body because it feels good to move
- Doing my best at everything but knowing that my best will vary from day-to-day depending on mood/emotions/stress levels, and this is ok.
- Taking time in my day for a few deep breaths
- Spending time in nature and the sun
- Spending time with people who I love and feel comfortable around, but also those who challenge me to learn and grow.
- When feeling lost, ask questions, talk to people, seek help but remember ultimately it is YOU who has to make the changes and put what you have learnt into practice
- Accepting that sometimes life sucks and can be tough, but it can also be really great!
- Taking time to listen and observe. Sometimes we can feel fatigued and heavy – often this feeling is because we haven’t recognised that something needs to change. Spending time on your own with your thoughts can help you begin to recognise what is weighing you down…and then make a change!
- And last but not least, find your WHY. What drives you, what do you love, what gets you out of bed every morning? If you don’t know your why, search for it – it is out there somewhere. You may have many WHYs, and that’s great! Learn how to juggle them using wobbly balance. When you know your WHY, the rest will become a lot easier and more natural.
One last note. Be grateful for what you do have and be kind to others. There are people out there who aren’t fortunate enough to be able choose the balance they want in their life. Those living in war-torn countries, poverty or homelessness may not have this luxury. Being grateful for what you do have will take you away from the ‘poor me’ mindset and encourage you to help others. Life could always be better, but it could also be a whole lot worse! Try to be present in every moment and continue to learn and grow and embrace this thing we call life.
I highly recommend reading Brooke McAlarys book SLOW for more depth on this topic. She has a lot of helpful tips for finding your own wobbly balance!
Hannah Donaldson is a Pilates instructor and Physiotherapist at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre. She has a strong passion for all movement modalities and is fascinated by the body’s ability to heal itself. Hannah is particularly interested in the brain sciences with a focus on neuroplasticity, the power of words, and the empowering effect of education.
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