Creating Inner Balance, by Chris Vasiliadis
Feeling like the harried pace of your life is unsustainable? Concerned that you’re setting yourself up for inevitable burnout? A common thought to turn things around is to start exploring options for work-life balance. However, if your life is chaotic and you begin from that place, you’ll likely create more chaos. Instead, what I’ve found is a more powerful first step: begin with creating inner balance.
When life feels like it’s swirling around us, and your attention is being perpetually hijacked, it can be challenging to avoid getting caught up in the frenzy. Many grapple for a sense of control. The reality is, change is constant – even at the level of the cells in our bodies. Nothing is permanent or lasts forever. Every moment is different. Nature reminds us of this phenomenon: the next time you’re outside, look up at the sky and notice the cloud formations changing before your eyes. Further, consider the ocean’s rough seas or surf, and the tidal changes.
Yet, somewhere deep below the ocean’s surface, the water is still.
Instead of trying to control the external, which can appear like grabbing onto pockets of air at times, begin with fostering stillness within you. It is from this centered and grounded place that you start to create space, give yourself breathing room, and increase a capacity to consciously respond, versus impulsively react. It provides a way for you to clearly see options: multiple ways to view a situation, build the muscle of intuition, silence the ego and hear the voice of your inner wisdom. It’s like tuning a radio away from the static and locking into a clear channel of transmission.
Keep the fires of your self-care stoked. If you don’t know where to begin, start within, as everything evolves from that place, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Being most effective in accomplishing what’s important to us, in both work and non-work parts of our lives, requires that we hone our skills in attaining inner balance. Yes, you can even be balanced at work! Think of it as having a sanctuary within that you can always return to, and is accessible no matter where you are or the situation in which you find yourself. When was the last time you visited this place?
Example paths to inner balance:
- Moments of conscious breathing and stillness. This could be anything from taking a few deep in and out breaths at certain intervals, when triggered, at various transitions during the day, or focused breathing as part of a consistent meditation practice.
- Experiment with meditation alone and in groups. There are countless apps along with online and in person courses. Various meditation centers and groups offer opportunities to mediate with others. If you work in an office, consider starting a meditation group among your coworkers, and/or try meditating as a group at the start of a meeting. If you meditate on your own, test out different time periods, locations and times of day to settle on the optimal routine for you.
- Reflection time. Allow for reflection at the end of each day, week and/or month. Check in. Recognize what’s working well, acknowledge growth and learning, and choose a next set of intentions.
- Remember who you are. Deeply. Beyond the metaphorical hats you wear and the roles you play, who are you at your deepest level? Your humanness, your soul, your spirit. What will it take to show the real you in more moments of your life? How can your life be an authentic reflection of your inner truths? (If you need inspiration for this part, check out the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor: wonderful film on Fred Rogers and how he lived his life.)
- Explore possible frameworks. For added structure, you may find a particular book or construct helpful to further instill your inner balance, and provide direction. Examples include guidance from a spiritual or self-help book, an inspiring memoir or podcast, or creating your unique approach on your own or collaborate with a professional coach.
- Play with noticing. Notice how you are at different points of the day, in conversations, in reading and viewing different material (from the news, to programs, movies, and videos), witnessing your surroundings, consuming food and beverages. What thoughts run through your head, what emotions pop up, how does your body feel? How will you decide to process what arises for you, and select your next move? In what ways can you manage this moment, so the next moment is not destructive?
Attaining inner balance is one of several foundational elements to help you avoid burnout. Learn more about how you can avoid burnout and elevate your energy, while experiencing the wonderful amenities available at Release Well-Being during a 1 day retreat on Thursday, November 15th. Learn more here.