The word balance it can have different meanings for each individual, asks an athlete, he will think about physical activity, a nutritionist will talk to you about a balanced diet, and me? I contemplate a way to lead a balanced life, but for that we have to consider what our priorities are and discover who we are, deep down.
The first steps
Each period in life is marked by certain stages that may seem to go by themselves in certain cases:
When we are little, we are like sponges, ready to absorb everything around us, good or bad. We absorb from our parents' style of being, the confidence and security they instill in us, but inevitably also their perception of the world (with their fears and preconceptions), which we often end up adopting, at least until we realize for ourselves what life is eaten with.
Next is the stage in education, which in theory should prepare you for life, but it seems more like a stage that goes by itself, where the only concerns we should have are the subjects taught and the various exams, but here it is completely lacking the introspection part, which could help us to better understand who we really are.
I will try here to draw a parallel between this theme and certain passages from the book "Flow” written by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He talks about ways parents can get involved in their children's development by giving them personal examples of the ideals and dreams they have:
The family can take action to "cultivate" this desert of offerings and possibilities for those in puberty. When parents themselves do complex but easy-to-understand activities at home, when they enjoy singing, cooking, reading, gardening, woodworking, or fixing engines in the garage, then their children are more likely to find inspiration too. in similar activities and to invest enough attention in them, to enjoy the way it helps them to evolve.
If parents would talk more about their ideals and dreams - even if they are not fulfilled - children could clarify their own ambitions instead of indiscriminately aligning themselves with those of the gang they belong to. Daily communication (about what happened at work, at school or about events in society), during which teenagers are considered as partners with valid opinions and worthy of consideration, makes family life more agreeable [...] .
But if the father spends all his free time vegetating in front of the TV with a bottle of beer in hand, the children will assume that adults are boring people who do not know how to have fun, and will seek to feel good outside the family group.The optimal family experience, Flux, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Once out of school, the stage follows where the young adult is faced with challenges in the field of work, the desire to be independent and the attempt to leave his own mark on the world. From this moment his character traits begin to be seen and felt better. With independence, we will also settle daily routines, activities that he will choose to his liking.
Here, things can be simple, you can just go with the flow, work, come home, go out with friends or watch TV, eat, sleep and start a new day... OR try to live longer intentionally, to take care of yourself and then of others.
If the person concerned does not know how to manage stress, a real imbalance can occur in their life. I have encountered enough cases where work can end up corrupting you completely, you end up identifying with it and forgetting that there are other issues or events that should come to your attention, such as family, friends, etc. .
It's not normal to come home drained of energy after a day at work and all you're looking for is a way to completely detach yourself from everything, drown your frustrations or seek comfort in a bottle (a habit that seems instilled from generation after generation, not realizing how toxic this habit can become over time, children who see their parents celebrating coming home from work with a glass of beer often end up doing the same, because no one tells them that there is something wrong with it).
Unfortunately, too many adults feel that once they've hit their 30s – or certainly their 40s – they're entitled to indulge in their settled habits, whatever they may be. They've paid off their debts, learned what they need to do to survive, and can now operate on "autopilot."
Equipped with a minimum of inner discipline, with each passing year, such people accumulate entropy. Career disappointments, physical health problems, the usual ups and downs of fate constitute a quantity of negative information that threatens, more and more, inner peace.
How to keep these problems at bay? If a person does not know how to control his attention in solitude, he will inevitably reach for easy solutions from the outside: alcohol, drugs, entertainment - anything that numbs or distracts the mind.The torment of loneliness, Flux, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Another imbalance is the fact that you can get so lost in everyday tasks that you forget to eat regularly, drink water, forget to get up from the chair, become sedentary, end up earning in weight; cases that can degenerate quite strongly and have disastrous effects on health, both physical and mental.
How do we find balance?
What could we avoid to end up in the situations described above?
Ideally, we should try to find a way to start our day by taking care of ourselves:
- to get enough sleep
- to give us a break where we can plan our day
- to eat regularly
- let's exercise
How do we plan the working day?
The working day and the priority tasks should also be planned at the beginning of the day, drawing some clear goals for that day.
If you have a flexible work schedule, try to start your day as early as possible, so you can take advantage of the morning calm (the calm before the storm), during which you know you can concentrate, without being interrupted by various phone calls or meetings.
I will recall here the tips from Robin Sharma's story, The 5 AM Club, which describes how important it is to use those first hours of the morning, when no one bothers you, it's quiet and you can concentrate on what you have to do.
Relaxation during the day:
- don't forget to take a break from time to time to get up from your chair and take a few steps
- go out for a short breather between sessions so you can detach
- if you feel stressed, try some breathing exercises or guided meditation
- be consistent with your meal break, try to eat at the same time every day.
Make a clear separation between the working day and free time! In addition to that, try not to make the work day the highlight of the day. If the working hours are over, it doesn't mean that the rest of the day is over! We are not robots that just work and sleep (recharge).
Take advantage of your free time to do various activities that make you feel good, fulfilled and involved! Read, walk, make things at home, go for a run, sing, paint, take pictures, write, help someone, get involved in the community (in any way you can), etc.
Try to find activities that bring you optimal experiences, either alone or with family or friends, but whatever you do, don't let yourself be seduced by the temptation of mental detachment offered by alcohol, gambling, scandal news or any other activity that drains you of energy.
If you feel like you need more time to disconnect and you can't go on a longer vacation, try to at least schedule 2-3 days of a weekend so you can disconnect. If you have somewhere to escape, I suggest an escape in the countryside, where you can be one with nature, far from the city crowd. Try one too social media detox on this occasion!