Don’t we all dream of escaping from life from time to time? A warm, tropical beach. A quiet house on the lake. Just a place where the noise of life stops, and we can hear ourselves think and breathe.
For most of us, though, total escape is just a fantasy because it just isn’t practical. Family. Work. Church. Lots of commitments. Plus, life doesn’t stop just because you take a break.
Still, the lure of time and space to think lurks in the back of most people’s minds at least occasionally, and we usually make one of two choices when we become aware of these thoughts.
- Push any personal desires, wants, or needs to that area of the mind specializing in forgotten hopes and dreams.
- Pursue selfish ambitions regardless of the impact on others.
Two extremes. Neither a great choice. Fortunately, there is a third option. We can also choose a more balanced approach somewhere between giving in to selfish desires and forgetting all sense of individual needs.
This third choice requires a more constant effort because it resists natural tendencies, while the first and second choices provide absolutes that push to extremes that seem easier to maintain. In other words, saying “no” or “yes” to everything is easier than saying “no” or “yes” to some things.
A Process for Balance
This three-step process can not only help bring a sense of balance, but it can also help keep it there for the long haul.
- Plug In. Whether introvert or extravert, sanguine or melancholy, everyone needs connection. Connection with others happens in a variety of ways from personal interests to church attendance. Plugging in regularly to Christ on an individual, one-on-one basis is, of course, the most essential relationship and needs emphasis. Plugging in revolves around the idea of filling up the reservoir to be able to nourish others.
- Recharge. Failure to recharge batteries often enough, and in many cases at all, results in complete failure at some point. Recharging is about balance. Recharge regularly by eating healthy, exercising, and drinking enough water. Oh, and get enough sleep too.
- Unplug. Unplugging means alone time, a treasure so many of us crave and fail to get enough of regularly. Pick one or two things you enjoy that allows you time to unplug. Then, make them a priority. Finding small pockets of time for unplugging can be an effective method for finding balance if done consistently.
Many who read this will say something like, “Sure, that would be wonderful, but there’s no way I can make that happen in my busy life.”
You’re right! Without a deliberate an intentional plan and the help of those closest to you, this process is not going to happen for anyone.
Three elements that must exist for anyone to truly be able to take care of themselves in a way that allows for as consistent of a state of balance as possible.
- Be Deliberate and Intentional. Carefully consider how taking care of yourself not only makes you healthier as an individual but positively contributes to the health of your family as well. Purpose to find ways to regularly plug in, recharge, and unplug.
- Focus on Small Things. Chances are that a week-long vacation alone is not going to happen for many people, and even a weekend away is probably iffy. But, working in small pockets of time for plugging in, recharging, and unplugging can add up over time to make a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to schedule time on the calendar for this either.
- Be Determined. Time to plug in, recharge, and unplug will not happen by itself, unless we run ourselves so ragged that illness or depression force us to stop. We must make a determined effort to schedule time for ourselves because it simply won’t happen otherwise.
Think of how balance is achieved when someone is riding a bike or standing on one leg: by making constant small adjustments. That’s the idea we’re getting at with the above steps and essential elements.
Keep moving forward. Keep making adjustments. Keep working toward balance.