The importance of balance – Food Pharmacy

Helena Önneby

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The importance of balance


I notice that balance has gained a bit of a bad reputation in recent years. As if it is an impossible state that only creates pressure from trying to achieve. I hear many who think we should throw the word out altogether and stop trying. As often is the case, I think the different perspectives are about different interpretations of the word. The other day a friend described balance as the movement in and out of the midpoint and it felt so true to me.

Balance is not a static state, balance is movement. Nothing in life is static and the only constant in our lives is change. We know that. So we gain nothing by striving for a certain state, perfection, a stationary balance. For balance is not stationary, balance is movement.

So, based on this definition, balance as the movement in and out of the midpoint, I absolutely think we should strive for it. To “balance” out with extra recovery after a period of a lot of work. To replenish with energy-giving things after a period of very energy-draining activities. To, after a period of much focus on my own life and immediate family, raise my gaze and see who needs me “out there”. To build more movement into everyday life after a period of very sedentary workdays. 

How long each period can be for you to still achieve balance depends, of course, on what you’re trying to balance. Being sedentary for a full day has negative consequences right away. You cannot push yourself hard at work for very long without recovery before your performance and well-being take a toll. However, you can spend a longer period of your life taking care of yourself and your loved ones before you again feel the energy or desire to direct your attention further out into the world.

The imbalance occurs when you go too far in one direction for too long. And only you can decide when you end up there. There is no perfect balance, just as there is no perfect life. (Unless we agree that the imperfect is perfect, of course;)).

Many of us have a longing to “tick off” the box, to be ready and able to focus our attention on something else. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really work with balance. Since it is a movement, there is no end goal either. There’s no there there. Balance requires awareness and reflection and corrections along the way.

Use the pursuit of balance as you reflect on your life. Reason with yourself about what it looks like right now and what you need to make it feel more comfortable to be you or for your life to work better. Often it’s small daily adjustments over time that creates large shifts over time, sometimes larger corrections are needed immediately.

Balance is very much about prioritization. Saying no to be able to say yes to something else. Or as a friend said the other day: A no opens up the possibility of a yes to EVERYTHING else. But we need to be okay with missing things, losing certain chances and disappointing people in the dance with balance.

But the price of imbalance is so much higher. When you get sick for lack of recovery, you lose important relationships because you put too much energy into something that doesn’t really matter that much or look back on a life where you lived to impress others instead of true to your own values.

So, I’m cheering for balance. I’m cheering for the movement in and out of the midpoint. Cheering for you to choose to live a conscious life where you regularly reflect on the balance and constantly correct and prioritize so that the movement in and out of your center feels right in your life.

This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are the writer’s own.



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