Lack of balance, quite literally poor posture and lack of attention to the load my back and shoulders were regularly carrying, resulted in a neck strain. Since our bodies are so interconnected, one of my arms started going numb, tingly and painful at regular intervals during the day. This discomfort demanded that I address the imbalance. Instead of carrying heavy bags which pull my shoulders forward, I now use a back pack or a cart to transport school books. With the help of a physiotherapist and her practical exercises, that area of imbalance is pretty much resolved.
|Free range stock photo|
I cannot blame anyone else for working me too hard; it is my driven personality that focuses on being "productive." I did not learn this from my parents. Growing up on a farm, lunch and breaks were always taken together as a family with Dad there too. Conversation and fellowship were just as important as the Gouda cheese, sliced ham and home-made bread. However, already then, part of me felt that an hour-long lunch was extravagant and that taking a nap would prevent all the work from being completed. (I did not realize then how a nap gave my parents the stamina to keep going with the demands of a busy farm and busy kids.)
I cannot blame my job for this lack of balance either. It precedes my employment as a teacher. In 2008 when I was a stay-at-home mom and occasional supply teacher, I entered a writing contest for my local newspaper. As one of over a dozen chosen for a Community Editorial Board, I was required to write an opinion piece each quarter about an issue that had a local connection. Due to my intensity and concern about having my writing be placed out there for the scrutiny of thousands of people, I developed a case of shingles around the time of my first deadline. My husband sometimes reminds me of this incident when I am working too hard.
My greatest ally in the desire to live a more balanced life has to be my husband. He provides subtle accountability just by his gentle presence at home. Because we try to have a time of devotions and prayer every night before bed, I don't stay up later than is good for me. When I'm worried about something and can't sleep, he's never upset when I wake him up and ask for help. He reminds me that I can't add more tasks to my life without subtracting something. He encourages me to take breaks from computer work.