Keeping Your Life in Balance
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2001
Whether we are physically and/or mentally ill, whether this is long-term or terminal, it is important that we make what is left of our time in this life the best it can be. Forget about all the should-haves and could-haves that have slip through your hands, and deal with the here-and-now. You can make a difference now, that can lead to better days in the future, no matter how long you have.
Often your perspective in life’s balance gets skewed because of your disabilities and/or our impending death. You need a guide to help you see where the balance needs to be in your life. This is true of anybody. This balanced perspective will give us more peace, joy, and understanding in our lives, both here and in the hereafter. This is just a matter in understanding what needs to come first in your life.
To keep your life in perspective, use the five finger priority method.
- God comes first. Talking with God about what needs to be changed in your life, is a must. Being spiritually fed is important to keeping you spiritually and emotionally well.
- You come next. When you take care of you, you will have the emotional and physical energy to take care of the remaining priorities. This means taking the time for good nutritious meals, exercise at least three times a week, and get enough rest at night and during the day!
- Family is third in the list of priorities. Time with your spouse and each of the children, separately, is important. This may be as little as five minutes per day. This is a must! A date night once a week with your spouse is also a must if you want to keep your marriage alive.
- Church comes fourth. Church responsibilities are important, but they should never overpower the importance of your relationship with God, taking care of yourself. It should never come before your families needs.
- Community. It is important, but comes in last.
Many people get stuck concentrating solely on their problems and forget the rest. Others, fill their lives with too many things from the last three items, hoping to be able to run away from the first two items on the list.
Whenever the priority list is forgotten more trouble will enter into your life. You must take time to replenish your spirituality by communing with God, read the scriptures, and surrounding yourselves with uplifting music and other good literature and activities.
Next, you should never put off taking care of yourself. There must also be time to exercise and have a good diet. Make second on your priority list. You need time to replenish yourself through relaxation or play time. This may be relaxing while watching the sunrise or set, painting a picture, taking a class, or reading a favorite book for just a few minutes per day.
When we replenish ourselves we are ready to tackle the problems of the day, help others, and do our best. We are unwise to think we can do well at anything, if we have not taking care of the first two priorities on our list.
When you're the best you can be, with all that is thrown at you, no one, not even yourself can expect more. That is a hard lesson to learn. Many people, no matter how hard they try, feel that they should have done better. They should have foreseen the future and stopped unwanted events from happening. This is not possible. It is possible, however, to manage our moments, minutes, hours, and days to eliminate many failures and more problems from happening.
When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
Since your time is valuable, you cannot afford to fumble around wondering what you should do next. Make three lists:
- Things that must be done and by when.
- Things that need to be done.
- Things you'd like to do.
Before you go to bed, make a tentative list of what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. The list should include time with God, exercise, good diet, and free time, to breathe for you. Time for family is a must. Then add in the must-do's of the day and some of the need-to-dos to fill in the rest of the time.
Remember that you do not have to wait until the last minute to accomplish the must-dos in your life. Procrastination limits what you will be able to accomplish with the rest of your life. Do not let procrastination rob you of precious moments. Do not over-due. Take small steps towards your goals.
By small things great things may be accomplished!
By marking all the must-dos on a calendar, you can see at a glance, the days in your life that will be too full. By planning ahead, you can move items back or forward to less full days. If this is not possible then do ahead what can be done to elevate the stuffed days. When this is not possible, prioritize what really needs to be done by you. Delegate the rest to other people.
When you have a calendar of events planned for your life, you will be less likely to take on more than you can manage. Also you are active in some manner, you will be less likely to concentrate on your problems.
If your schedule is full-up you can say, "No, my schedule will not allow that this week." In this way you will know that you are doing your best and have no reason to feel guilty for saying, "No!"
When you are doing your best, no one, not even yourself, can expect more of you. You will be managing your life not allowing fate or others to do it for you.