Everything in moderation. This concept is one that is relatively simple to grasp, but often incredibly hard to put into practice. It applies not only to the things we perceive as “bad” in life, but also to those we that are “good”, because you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Lately I have been reflecting on this sentiment and the idea of balance. What is balance and how do we achieve it?
The kind of balance I am talking about is not the physical kind (if you want that I would recommend yoga!), but rather the balance in our lives. We often over-simplify this to a “work-life balance”, but I am personally not a fan of this term for a few reasons. Firstly, it implies that work and life are two separate entities, but work is (for most people) a part of life. And if it is a part of life, how can we balance it with life? Also, defining our whole existence into simply work and life is too simple; it fails to acknowledge the myriad of things that constitute life. As such, rather than a simple two-sided scale balance on a pivot-point, I like to imagine this balance as a pie chart or wheel made up of many segments. The size of the segments indicates how much time or energy is dedicated to that ‘part’ of your life.
For most people such a chart would include segments such as work, sleep, socialising, down time, family, exercising and cooking/eating, perhaps some spiritual practices or creative pursuits. It is an individual thing. And it changes, every day, every year. For example, during my final year of high school I can pretty much say that my pie chart would have been 80% school, with the other 20% consisting of yoga practice, social events, family time and relaxation. This year, it looks very different. Once upon a time balance for me meant never drinking, now it means having maybe one night every month or two where I have a couple of cocktails. Once balance meant eating breakfast every day, now it means fasting until lunchtime (more on my fasting experiments in a post coming soon). Once balance meant working out 3-4 times a week, now it means walking, yoga and riding my bike. It is an individual thing and it changes.
Finding the perfect balance in life is something that can really only be attained by experimenting and tweaking on a constant basis. It is also imperative with regard to health. Whilst it might seem that having an absolutely perfect diet and exercising every day is the way to health, for most people this is actually not the case. Because like anything, you can have too much of a good thing. Too many dates and natural sugars in raw desserts can be just as bad as regular sugar, too many raw veggies can take its toll on your digestion, veggie juices can be sugar bombs if you put a lot of fruit in them, too much meat (even if free-range) is not great for you, the list goes on. Equally being super strict about your diet is not good if it causes you stress. If you worry about what you are going to eat, or stress when you eat something that you perceive to be “bad”, that stress is going to do more damage than any bad food.
Likewise, flogging yourself in the gym won’t necessarily give you a six-pack but it could definitely raise your cortisol levels and simply cause more stress-related damage to your cells. Not giving your body time to rest and recover isn’t a balanced approach to life. I could give examples like this until the cows come home, but I think this quote from the ever-inspiring Rachel Brathen (a.k.a @yoga_girl) sums it up perfectly:
Keep healthy and happy,