The Myth of "Perfect Balance"
We all seek balance in various ways in our daily lives. Many of us seek that "Work-Life" balance, don't we?
The thing is, there is no one defined work-life balance. It's different for everyone. Most importantly to understand is that balance is NOT a static state that we suddenly reach and everything is magically amazing... It's a constantly adapting place that works for you! Balance is ups and downs, and even side to side wobbles.
Yet we constantly act like we're seeking some utopia when it comes to balance (in whatever we do). Even though the reminders are all around us, that BALANCE is not a static state. It's always changing. Always adjusting, even though you can't always see it.
Nature is always our best teacher, so let's touch on that. For anyone who gets into nature on a regular basis, you see it every single time that Nature is constantly changing. Anytime I go into the woods for my hikes/wanders, things are different. I can take the same trail day after day, and it's constantly changing. Often in small ways, but constantly changing. Yet... it works. It's balanced. Nature still gets things done.
Let's jump to that dreaded bathroom scale as another example. I NEVER recommend getting into the habit of daily weight ins (for the general popultation), as I've seen little to no benefit to this in clients in my 22-years as a fitness and health professional. Oh! Unless the goal is to stress yourself out and strengthen your negative self-talk most days. In that case it's worth it. To each their own right?
That being said, the scale shows us how EVERYDAY YOUR WEIGHT FLUCTUATES. There WILL be ups and downs. That's a given. That's our complex physiology - it goes well beyond basic numbers. As always, it's the bigger picture that matters. As our weight goes up a bit, down a bit or suddenly spikes a few pounds for an unknown reason other than the party weekend that just happened, it's our physiology working to create homeostasis within the body based on what is happening inside and outside the body on any given day. Only by looking at the bigger picture will you find YOUR balance.
*Stuck on the word, homeostasis? Homeostasis is the body's "balance point". The equilibrium. It's 'norm' we'll say. Yet once again we see that there is NO ONE FIXED POINT of homeostasis in the body. It's a constant eb and flow state. It is not static.*
Let's move to another example. I recently learned my heart rate monitor can work with an HRV app called "Elite HRV". I've been wanting to measure my heart rate variability (HRV) for many years now, but there wasn't always the ability to measure it without expensive equipment/tools. Now there is! Woo Hoo!
A quick idea of what HRV is; it measures the time between heartbeats, and therefore gets realtime data of the state of your autonomic nervous system. So what, you ask? This allows you to have an idea of where you're physiology is at each day; Some days your body is ready to be pushed harder, other days it would be better to recover, do some meditation or yoga etc... (That's a quick overview).
I'm sharing this because, once again we are reminded that balance is not a static state. It's always changing. Your HRV readings will go up and down. They won't be straight across board. That's normal. It's the bigger picture once again that gives us an idea of what works for YOU and where your "balance" is.
Have I lost you yet? I hope not!
Another example is our heart rate itself. If you have a heart rate monitor and have an app that allows you to see your heart beat in real time (especially with line graphs) you'll see that your heart rate is never static either. Even when you're sitting down. Your beats per minute are constantly changing up and down. Naturally throughout the day as well, our heart rate is constantly adjusting to find the "balance" to allow us to perform whatever mental or physical task we're trying to perform.
One last example is improvement and progression in... well anything! It's not a perfect gradual increase most of the time. There are ebs and flows, peaks and valleys... it's all good! That's normal. It's the bigger picture once again that shows the balance! If you're trying to get stronger for example, over periods of time you'll increase your squat by 20lbs, then down 10lbs, up 5lbs, up again, down again... But after 'x' amount of weeks and sessions you'll have improved your lift by 50, 60 even 70lbs for example.
A meditation practice is the same thing; One day 5min will zoom by, another day one minute feels like an eternity!!!
Don't let negative self-talk happen because you had an "off" day...
Know that there is no "set point" where suddenly everything is just dandy...
Understand that "balance" is an ever changing state in nearly everything we do and experience.
Be present. Live in the Now. Give yourself positive energy. Keep the negative self-talk away.