Does your life ever become out of balance?

Sometimes that might be because your role has changed, such as when a family member becomes ill and you are thrust into the role of caretaker.

Life can also get out of balance when taking on new responsibilities at work, or when studying for a difficult exam, or even when you find that you are carrying more than your share of the weight in a relationship.

Sometimes you cannot point to a direct cause but one day realize that you have been living life as if on autopilot and have not stopped to notice the parts of your life and wellbeing that need attention.

Many people tell me about their challenges in giving adequate attention to certain aspects of life without neglecting other needs.

In fact, I find that working out a balance between “being” and “doing” has been a primary task of my adult years.

In Biblical terms, this means working out the differences between the Martha and the Mary within.

In secular terms, it is to balance work, family and friends, leisure activities, and health or exercise or any other aspects of life that are important.

Sometimes facing an ongoing medical challenge can cause adjustments in your lifestyle.

My husband Mike says his life is out of balance as he waits for surgery for a back problem that has limited his ability to enjoy the things he loves to do, such as golf.

Other family members are facing life-threatening illnesses and must put other priorities to the side while undergoing treatments.

To help determine how much you are attending to the various aspects of your life, it helps to make an awareness wheel.

Draw a circle and divide it into six pie-shaped pieces.

Label those pieces Wants, Emotional, Spiritual, Friends & Family, Physical and Intellectual.

Begin with the Wants section and ask yourself, “What do I really want for myself in the coming months?” Write in your deepest wants.

For the other five pieces, write in what you have already done for yourself in the last six months, in each area.

After assessing your answers, go back to the Wants section and see if there are any additional goals you want to add.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when life gets out of balance:

  • What is my load, and why is it so heavy?
  • Is my situation time-limited?
  • Is it in my power to change any aspect of my life right now?
  • What really matters to me?
  • Do I need to put the past to rest?
  • Am I making choices that enhance my life?
  • What choices drained my energy today?
  • Have I accessed all the resources available to me?

Remember, all of us are human beings, not human doings. Accepting that is the first step toward a more balanced life.

Mary Bieda, MS, LPC is a licensed professional counselor and pastoral counselor in private practice in Old Town Bluffton.