Shout outs this week to new patrons: Ken Harry, Mike James, Sarah Clarke, and Thomas Mazzolla. Thank you for your commitment in helping me to reach my goals and succeed in my recovery, education, and career. If you’re reading this and you’d like to help support this blog and its’ author, the best way you can do so is by signing up for a pledge at our Patreon. Even small amounts help. Thank you so much, folks!
And with that, let’s get into our topic for the week.
Balance is something many of us strive for, and yet, it often eludes us. In our busy lives we can fall into a cycle of doing too much or doing nothing at all, a life that is entirely being or a life that is entirely doing.
As someone who struggles with a mental health disorder that involves black and white/all or nothing thinking, I am certainly no stranger to this. I’ve always had a tendency to fall into a way of existing that was either all in or all out. I am either off or on, going or staying, relaxing or going full force into my work. At times of stress, this is even more notable, and has certainly been the case this summer as I have struggled to get everything in line for the fall semester when I start classes up again and will be more involved in coursework and the learning process.
Here is where you might expect me to say that I managed to find a healthy rhythm, that I’m back now because I’ve found balance this summer, because I managed to find some equalizer between the relaxation and down time I need for my health and sanity, and the work I need to do to be successful in my education and career goals. However, it’s precisely the opposite. I have not found that great equalizer, have not found that balance, that calm space in which I can stand between working too much and not at all. This summer has been a whirlwind, and one in which I have had so much to do and so little time that even when I was relaxing, a large part of my mind has always been with the work I need to get done.
Of course, theoretically, I know some of the steps I can take. I am after all pursuing a career as a clinician. I know the benefits of mindfulness, and I know that regular mindfulness practice can help in calming down a busy, restless mind. I know that regular exercise can do this too. These are just two options of many. And yet I am still here, still struggling to take a moment to pause and just breathe.
It seems I would have started this post with some kind of conclusion in mind. And while I didn’t, maybe it is this: Sometimes, our own lives can get ahead of us. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to practice those behaviors we know will lead to a healthier, more balanced life for ourselves and for those around us. Sometimes we know what we need to do but still can’t find a way to get ourselves to do it. Maybe sometimes, it is enough that we acknowledge this and take small incremental steps towards it, even if our brain isn’t quieting, even if the urge to work is still eating away at us. Maybe it is enough to simply sit and be. Whether that is through reading, playing with our pets or our kids, taking a bath, working out, or watching a show. Our minds do not always have to be in the same place our bodies are. Maybe, at times, it is enough that we are simply trying to put our bodies in a state of relaxation and recreation so that our minds can hopefully follow.
Recovery is often like a pendulum, going back and forth until it finally settles and then perhaps starting over again. Recovery is not a destination, it is a mindset. It is a commitment to waking up and trying again, every day, to pursuing a better and healthier life for ourselves and our loved ones in the process, no matter how many times we fall or make a mistake.
It is the commitment that ultimately matters.
Moving forward in recovery and wellness together,