Despite all the motivational posters you may have seen, balance isn’t a state you can achieve. Balance isn’t a thing you can grasp or a noun of any sort to be attained. Instead, balance is a continuously changing process. Think about walking on a street curb, or on a balance beam. (Or on a tightrope.) To be in balance on a narrow beam or on a rope requires numerous small adjustments.
All trajectories, like balancing acts, require repeated course corrections. When you drive, even down a straight road, you don’t just point your car in the direction you want to go and leave it alone. Instead, you adjust the steering wheel, as well as the speed at which you are traveling. Much of the time you’re probably not even aware of these adjustments, until some other constraint occurs (like an injured arm, or driving an unfamiliar vehicle) to focus your attention.
So: instead of lamenting how out of balance your life might feel at this point in the semester, ask yourself what small adjustments you might make to move a little closer in the direction you’d like to be heading. It is, after all, November. The season of grading, viruses, holidays, and more grading. Now is not the time for sudden movements or full tilt changes of plan. But maybe there are some small adjustments that could make you feel better, happier, or just a little bit more relaxed. Some possibilities:
- Go to bed 20 minutes earlier tonight.
- Drink an extra glass of water this afternoon.
- Play with your dog, cat, or child for 15 minutes.
- Write 3 paragraphs on your most neglected writing project.
- Take a walk.
- Smile and say “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t” to the next request that comes your way.
- Spend 15 minutes reading something just because you want to. (Not because you have to.)
- Take a 20-minute nap.
What one small course correction could you take this week that would help bring you a bit more into balance? let us know in the comments!
(CC licensed image by flickr user foxtongue)