Lately I've noticed a balanced living backlash. Many people, including “expert” consultants, have begun telling overextended women to give up the hope of living a balanced, manageable life. Hearing this frustrates and at times infuriates me. Better solutions exist than telling women to throw in the towel and settle for stressed, out of control living.
My physician thinking kicks in and translates this to any other health issue. Overextended, stressful living by no means equals a terminal diagnosis. We have better options than sending someone home and making them comfortable. It also doesn’t have to become a debilitating condition. We can do better than simply teaching people how to manage complications and make the best of life in spite of them.
I think of stressed, off kilter living in terms of something that if managed well can have minimal flare ups. You can also get things under control with fewer complications when an exacerbation does happen. Like diabetes, asthma, or other chronic conditions, knowing your triggers, minimizing them when possible, and understanding what management plan works best for you goes a long way toward keeping the situation under control.
As with all things health, one size doesn’t fit all. Speak with your doctor or therapist to come up with a balanced living plan that works for you. Certain strategies, however, tend to benefit most people. You’ll find a few of these tips at the end of this article.
See if one appeals to you. Then make an appointment to talk with your health care provider to develop a plan to live a more balanced, healthy life now. Your plan could include stress management, exercise, nutrition, or other lifestyle medicine interventions. By the way, it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss stress and lifestyle topics with your doctor. They significantly affect your health so there’s no need to avoid them.
Having a realistic plan that fits your needs helps you surf life’s waves. Sure you might wipe out a few times. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever surf.
Balanced Living Tips
1) Be aware: In our fast paced, on demand life it’s very easy to live on autopilot. Paying attention to what you really want, what is and isn’t working, and what is actually pulling you out of balance can help you course correct.
2) Prioritize: You’ve probably heard this a million times. That’s because it works. Setting priorities can help you get out of overwhelm. Decide what’s most important to you and what’s necessary. Then make choices that move you towards accomplishing it instead of towards distracting interests. This can go a long way to feeling more balanced and less stressed in your life.
3) Align your life: Pursuing conflicting goals is a recipe for getting off balance. When roles and responsibilities pull you in different directions major stress can develop. It can be tough, but if you want to start feeling more harmony and stability in your life you might have to make some changes. The changes could be internal (like letting go of overachieving or perfectionist goals), external (like getting rid of some schedule commitments), or both.
© 2012 Donna L. Hamilton, MD