Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.
Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life. You may want to spend less time on these activities and more on the ones that! fulfill you.
A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however, can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment. ~ Madyson Taylor, Daily Om
In a perfect world, our lives would militate towards balance, so that we have ample time for all the joys of life. However, achieving balance requires us to make decisions based on how we envision a balanced life. As the Daily Om article notes, there are many aspects of our lives. Each serve to satisfy our physical, emotional, spiritual or mental needs.
As an initial matter, let’s agree that the aspects of a balanced quality of life amounts to 100% of our time. In order to create such a life, we must assign to each aspect, the percentage of time that we wish to devote to it. It goes without saying that a happy, satisfying life consists of a combination of aspects that are important and pleasing to us. The notion of what makes up a “balanced” quality of life is not uniform and varies from one person to another. I may select an aspect that is important to me, that wholly lacks meaning to you.
Two aspects of a balanced life that are extremely important are “work” and “play.” For most of us, the largest percent of our day is in work mode, be it a stay-at-home Mom or Dad, in public or private sector jobs, or those who simply keep themselves busy going from one task to another. By over emphasizing work, we neglect other areas of our lives, especially play.
Google defines “play” as to “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” A researcher in a NPR (National Public Radio) story titled “Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too,” defined it as “something done for its own sake…. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”
When we were children, no one needed to remind us to play. The phrase “can I go out and play?” was a common refrain. It seemed innate to our child persona. The word “play.” in and of itself brings a smile to my face, as I think of all the time that we spent simply having fun, and being the very opposite of serious. As children, our world revolved around play, and we attacked it with gusto. The possibilities for play were endless and it never occurred to us that when we “grew up,” play would take a back seat to work, and in some cases, totally forgotten. In addition to its health benefits, play promotes, among other things, curiosity, creativity, connection and keeping the mind sharp. (In case you are interested, can read here about the nonprofit National Institute for Play.)
Anyway, my point is to urge you not to discount “play” as a vital part of an ideal and balanced quality of life. In our work life, where we typically must display a serious persona, and is driven by outcome, outcome, outcome, play serves as a much-needed outlet to let go and show our goofy, fun and relaxing side. Why? Just because ….
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