By Stan Albert
The other day when I received the recent AARP publication (equivalent to CARP here in Canada) the editorial page blared out to me: Searching for Balance.
People often can’t relieve the stresses of everyday life, such as business, social obligations, volunteer organizations and the daily commute to work. And as we are bombarded with news via radio, TV and the Internet, is it any wonder we are at times stressed out by world events?
How do you react to and survive the stressors in your life? Do you do it by unselfish acts of kindness and unstintingly giving of the most valuable of all human resources – time – or are you, like most of us, running around from pillar to post, not taking time to eat properly, not getting enough rest and not spending enough time with your family?
Your earliest ancestor, perhaps one named Glug, was only concerned about food, clothing, shelter and being eaten by any number of other Glugs. Are we any different today? What are the comparables: air pollution, toxins, gangs with guns, traffic jams, health issues? We may be less likely to be eaten by Glugs but we all have different stresses.
We all need to find a method of relieving our daily stressors. Our stress relievers may be our homes and family, a family cottage, a vacation, a fitness centre, having a hobby, music or even a good book. Without a method of relieving stress, we face a multiple of additional stressors: fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability, frustration, weight gain/loss, lack of concentration and withdrawing from social activities. We all need balance in our lives.
In the past, when I was involved with training/coaching agents, the first things I discussed were their own personal family needs and wants. I suggested they block off those days necessary to devote to the family (chores and duties or just fun). As well as the all-important family time, don’t forget about your own personal needs and wants. You may just want to be able to sit down in a quiet place and read a book, write in a journal, take a walk to clear and re-invigorate your brain or get in touch with someone you haven’t seen or spoken to for some time. Give yourself some “me” time and you just may find you have more energy and more zest for life and more passion to be with the ones you love most. Think about taking one day per month to do absolutely nothing at all except what you want to do. You will be amazed at what this will do for you and for your relationships.
Achieving balance in our lives is not always an easy thing to accomplish. It may help to set small and simple goals. For instance, one of my goals this week was to start clearing out the filing cabinets in our small home office. I gave myself a 70-per-cent chance of accomplishing this task. I didn’t get all of it done, but I made a strong start. Perhaps next week’s goal will be to complete the clearing out. Another goal may be to take my wife out to dinner and a movie and I think I have a 100-per-cent chance of accomplishing that goal.
You may set a goal of having dinner with your family at least four times per week. The setting of goals can be either on a professional or personal level. The important thing is to attempt to keep them in balance – some professional and some personal. The most important thing about setting goals is not to be discouraged if they are not met. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of accomplishing your goal. At least you made the attempt.
We humans live very complicated lives and often we are pulled in many different directions, some of which may be slippery slopes. We have to consciously and methodically find ways to keep our balance, literally and figuratively.
Let me close with a quote I found on a web site: Euripides wrote, circa 380 BC, “The best way and the safest thing to keep a balance in your life is to acknowledge the great powers that surround us. If you can do that and live that way, you are truly a wise person.”