Q4: Ask a Holistic Health Coach–“What does living a balanced life mean?”
First off, I love this question! It’s taken me almost 15 years to understand what balance means and even now the way balance is demonstrated in my life changes often. Perhaps that’s why there are so many different definitions of balance–it differs for each individual and is a fluid state of being.
Here are a few of my favorite definitions of balance from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
“a state of equilibrium between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements”
“mental and emotional steadiness”
“to bring into harmony or proportion”
Each definition offers a slightly nuanced perspective on balance that still work well when combined culminating in the idea that balance is the counteracting of ideas, strategies, and tools to provide a state of equilibrium, so that we may feel harmony in our mind, body and soul.
What I love about this idea is the acknowledgment of counteracting elements. Balance is all about duality (and the in-between). From a health and wellness perspective, that means eating your vegetables and having cake. It means going on a run one day and sitting on the couch the next. It might mean your mind is running on overdrive today but deep in meditation tomorrow.
The ability and the freedom to experience all things without judgement is balance because we have confidence that these experiences are not just singular but are part of a larger whole.
Knowing this allows us to 1) become aware of how the various “contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements” make us feel and 2) better understand how we can best bring ourselves into more harmony (thus balance).
As a health coach and in my daily life, I practice balance and acceptance for myself. I eat intuitively which allows me to adjust how I eat based on what I feel my body needs without restricting. I make sure to schedule in contrasting yet complementary movements like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and yin yoga. I re-evaluate my priorities for the day if I feel my time and energy would be better spent elsewhere. Most importantly, I make sure to ask myself how I feel regularly so that I can be attuned with when and why I feel balanced or out of balance.
When evaluating how you feel currently, the Circle of Life is a great starting point in seeing which areas you feel balance is lacking or not. Since balance is fluid, consider if the areas you feel are lacking are temporary or require a more conscious shift. If the latter, identify 1-3 small changes you could make to counteract or interact with those areas in order to bring more harmony into your life.
If you would like to find ways to bring more balance into your life today, I am available for individual health coaching. Wishing you all harmony.
* Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2020.