Last week, I talked about recognizing that something I was doing was creating sleep issues for me and trying to act quickly to nip that in the bud before it got worse. I recognized that too much time on the computer was causing sleep difficulties and I scaled back work on the computer and resolved that.
Because I took these steps, I thought my life was moving toward better balance.
This weekend, I recognized (upon reflection) that I was getting another sign that my life was moving further out of balance. Not because of sleep issues but for other reasons.
So I wanted to write about how hard I consciously have to work on finding and re-finding balance for my life to work as best it can.
Finding enough balance in one’s life is an issue for everyone. What I realize now, is that my injury created a tremendous imbalance in my life. My health and independence went out of balance, my career and my finances went out of balance. And the things that motivated and interested me and gave me joy in my life — my research, my work, my volleyball and my coaching kids soccer, as well as seeing my friends and family and having fun — went out of balance. It took me years and years to reach some semblance of balance around this and recreate my life. (More on this later …)
As I have recovered and re-wired, I have learned that one of the most important compensatory strategies that I have both practiced alot and still need to practice is how to recognize the signs when my life is betting out of balance before it gets too out of balance and falls apart.
In some ways, recognizing that my life is getting further out of balance is the hardest part. Once I can recognize it, I can enlist help or follow steps I have learned to get it back closer to balance. Often, things get out of balance and are headed further out of balance, long before I catch on. Or, like this situation, I rectify one thing, and think I am getting things back in balance only to find out that there was more compensation I needed to make to get things in balance.
So here was the wake up call that I got this week. I was asked to be the family member to pick my sister up at the airport since noone else could. Since others have had to pick me up for so long, (and since I thought my life was getting back in balance), I was happy to oblige and practice being comfortable with driving to the airport. Everything was going okay or so I thought.
Then, I parked in the cell phone lot to wait for my sister to get her baggage and be ready. I must have forgotten to take the key out of the ignition. So while I sat in the car waiting, I was unintentionally draining my battery. When I tried to start my car again, it wouldn’t start. So there I was at the airport unable to pick her up.
This whole process of draining one’s battery could happen to anyone.
I have learned from experience (draining my battery unintentionally has happened to me before) that when it happens, it’s a sign. Note to self! It means that things are getting further out of balance. When I have taken on too much unintentionally, I forget to take the key out of the ignition. When I am forgetful about the things I know I need to be conscious of, its a sign my brain is overloaded by my life.
Let me explain further. As part of my rehab on driving, I have had to re-learn all the procedures one needs to know how to drive. These things are automatic to most people as adults such as putting the key in the ignition before I put the car in gear and the reverse, putting the car in gear before taking the key out when I am finished. They are no longer automatic to me after my injury although with alot of rehab and alot of practice, many of these procedures are more automatic now. Like I don’t have to consciously think to put the kay into the car before I put the car in gear–thats automatic again. But I still have to consciously remember to put the car in gear when I am done, and to take the key out or the ignition.
Needing to get my life back in to balance happens alot. So I get alot of practice doing it. My life works better– I am more functional and my life is alittle easier to live and my mood is easier to manage–when I do.
Do you have a difficult time maintaining balance also?
Do you have experiences that you can recognize are signs that you need to pay attention to finding balance again?