It was mid-week and work had been relentlessly busy. Trying to get to the end of a project felt like I was trudging through wet cement. The boxes just couldn’t get checked off quickly enough. My mind felt foggy. It was hours into my work day and I hadn’t stepped away from the computer. There were also the concerns for the people I care about that keep my mind occupied with worry, and the strategic thinking that is always going on in the back of my mind for my own goals that demand hard work to obtain. The overwhelm settled in a cozy corner with a cup of tea and it was up to me to let him know he is not welcomed guest.
I know you can relate to the feeling because we have all been there at one time or another in our lives. All the hard things keep happening one after another. Like a tidal wave, it knocks you flat and you don’t have time to take a deep enough breath before the next wave has flattened you again. Over and over again it just seems to keep coming, and even if you’re not a person a faith, you find yourself calling out for help. That feeling like we are just so small and there just has to be something bigger than ourselves.
You may be feeling this right now. I am, and so are people in my family are that I’m close to. The relentless tide. So, what do you do? What do I do when I find myself involuntarily in this place again? I remind myself that navigating through it once again is all about balance. What I mean by that is that we have to take the circumference of all the things we know bring us health and wellness and practice them hand in hand. We know what the tools and resources are that we need to engage with regularly that help clear our minds, engage our creativity and help us feel better physically. It’s not just the practice of one of these things, but rather the interlocking pieces of all of them together that bring us to a place of mental strength, physical health and soul wellness.
Chances are that you’ve already heard me talk about this several times, the importance of it, the word “balance”. My oldest son is 28 now and we still laugh when our conversations start heading toward that familiar topic and prompt me to mention balance. “Yeah, I know Mom... balance, right?” which leads to some healthy laugher from both us as the memories flood back from when my kids were growing up and I hammered this idea into them all through their teen years. But guess what? Now my son considers how to balance his busy life so he experiences things he enjoys, keeps healthy perspective and is able to push forward with his long-term goals and doesn’t just feel like he’s working all the time.
We need a healthy work-life balance. I work really hard, but when it’s time to rest, I can rest and play hard as well. Perhaps the worst of the overwhelm is how we feel mentally. At times, overwhelmed with so little energy from thinking too much and never letting our minds rest, but if we chip away at it with our practice, little bits at a time, stacked up like beautiful, imperfect rocks that balance will make a tower, and we find that little by little we will start to feel whole again. Energy again. Joy again.
It’s not just one of the things that gets us there, like mindfulness practice each day, but the combination of all the intentional choices to engage in a practice of health. Adding meditation, stretching, prayer, and a power walk mid-day can reset your whole perspective, attitude and feelings for the day. I realized that these past few weeks I had hardly exercised at all and in general, I usually love to walk and be outside. It’s easy to find ourselves wanting to stay inside, getting lazy, or even just feeling like we don’t want to be out because we’ve gotten so used to staying in so much because of the pandemic. Many have had new fears added to the thought of going outside of our homes.
So much of our view is obstructed by not taking time to care for each of the essential areas; mind, body, soul and spirit. It’s the balance of all of them, well-cared for and together, that brings peace and perspective.
I’ve had to force myself to go take walks this week. It seems that sometimes this comes easily in my life, and other times, I slip back into not exercising as much as I should, not eating like I know makes me feel my best, and over-thinking the worries and concerns for my people. But each time I take the time to get out and move, my mind always feels relieved and my perspective more in balance. I suppose the key really is making a schedule to fit these things into our lives.
I'm writing this on Sunday and this weekend’s to-do list is long, but yesterday I took time to hike to a waterfall with a friend, and of course, it was exactly what I needed. The tasks will always be waiting for you. But if you make you take the time to stack all the healthy, balanced practices as well, you’ll find that there will always be a clearer view of your dreams and hopes from the top of the tower.