Finding Balance in Life, Work, and Self-care

Day after day I delve into the depths of emotion and mentally map out points of connection in people’s lives and how this web of connectivity sometimes creates clear paths and sometimes create repetitive traps in their lives.  I absolutely love the honor of being invited into these individual’s lives to symbolically walk with them. Hour after hour I sit and engage. I walk to the waiting room and then back to my chair, with short intervals of moving to my desk a few feet away to handle the mounds of paperwork. Physical movement is minimal.

Old shoes, shorter daylight hours of the winter, more work waiting when I get home, a good movie on television tonight……..all wonderfully rational reasons why not to go for the hike/walk, in which I love to do but had become aware of how it had become lessened over the past year. There is nothing like it when I am out amongst the trees or being enveloped by the mountainous backdrop of the front-range prairies. Yet, breaking patterns silently engrained through unaware or ignored repetition can create a barrier of inertia that is breakable but only with purposeful choice.

Too many times I sit with clients that state reasons why they cannot make the time to do the things they love because they have to do the things of life: work, clean, kids, along with a host of many other reasons. Everyone has a different story and different rationalities for living these stories. When one looks for the reason she cannot do something, she will find it, only to affirm her barriers. When one looks to find a reason she can do something, sometimes it may be difficult to see, but she will find it. In doing so she strengthens her resolve as to her power, her choice, her worth. So often we play the martyr role, which is limiting our true worth and enjoyment of this life. Sacrifice is admirable, but balance is better.

If I hike all of the time, I do not pay my bills and am not fed physically. If I do not do therapy with my clients, I take away something that feeds me emotionally through service to others, connection to my community, and living a compassionate life through my calling. It is easy to rationalize the importance of either, but it is vitally important to find balance in the domains of life that ultimately feed one another.

I feel blessed to have the problem of balancing these things that are amazing influences on my life. However, both can be detrimental when taken to extremes. I serve my clients best when I care for myself.

What do you do for self-care?