Balance. The overused, misunderstood word we all strive for! Work/life balance. Balance in what we eat/drink/exercise. In all its forms, we’re constantly reminded by media and others that balance is what we should be aiming for to be happy and healthy. But what does balance actually mean?
Balance to me is finding a place where I’m able to do what I want to do in my life as well as what I need to do; e.g doing yoga and also the vacuuming, eating pizza once in a while and also eating vegetables and food my body needs most of the time.
For me ‘balance’ is having some of the wants as well as the needs.
Recently I started uni, before this I was out of work having finished travelling and yoga teacher training. I felt like I had a good mix in my life: starting my yoga business, seeing friends/family/boyfriend, hobbies, cooking, housework, etc. It all fit quite nicely and I felt happy with my time and use of it. Now I have an extra 13 hours of lectures per week and about the same amount of self-study I need to fit in and 3 hours of dance I want to fit in. That’s an extra 29 hours to fit into my week!
The past couple of weeks adapting to my new life has left me feeling like that ‘balance’ is not quite there. I’m trying to fit too much in. I don’t want to let go of what I was doing before but of course I have to. We have to change and adapt and move things around. Let some stuff go to add the new stuff or just rearrange how much time/energy we dedicate to tasks.
The first thing that goes when we have to accommodate a new need is a want. More specifically it’s usually a self want. By this I mean something you do for yourself e.g take a long bath, meditating, exercising. When others want our time we often still give it and neglect ourselves.
Over the past year I’ve really noticed how important it is to look after yourself and how important those little moments of self-care are to make sure you are able to be there for others.
My self-care, my sanity comes in the form of yoga, both physical practice and meditation. For me, it’s so important to make time for yoga in my life. One day this week I had 20 minutes I knew I could take before uni to do yoga. 20 minutes can feel like hardly any time at all; however, I thought 20 minutes is better than nothing so I rolled my mat out and spent those 20 minutes fully present in the moment, aware of what I needed in body and mind and allowed myself that.
Although it was only 20 minutes I felt so much better for allowing myself that time and spending that time on myself. I was more alert and focused in my lectures and felt like I really learnt a lot over that day.
It got me thinking, surely the presence we feel in yoga can be translated into more areas of our lives.
If we are more present when doing anything can we experience more and actually manage to find better balance.
Although I only had 20 minutes for yoga that was enough. Maybe if we’re seeing a friend an hour is enough if we are truly present, listening and interacting, making connections rather than on our phones only half with the friend for a few hours.
We may want to spend more time on the things we want to do because we want to do these things but the needs won’t go away! To keep the wants, we might have to cut down on time sometimes but if we are more present in the moment, focused on that task then maybe we can get far more from it and really enjoy the experience!