Striving for Balance

Life doesn’t always move us in the directions we want to go, and sometimes it takes us to places we never imagined we’d find ourselves. Navigating this world can be difficult enough without unexpected roadblocks, but we humans are capable of adapting in ways that are equally surprising. Even so, finding balance on such uncertain terrain can be tricky.

I had no choice but to shift gears after COVID-19 hit my household in early 2021. Almost overnight, I found myself overwhelmed by normal day-to-day tasks. I simply had no stamina. Slowly, I regained my energy, and after about 8 months, I felt like my health was returning to normal. Then, only a few months later, I caught COVID-19 for a second time. Once again, my daily “spoons” stripped down to a minimum, and I crawled through my days. Slipping back to such a low again was devastating, but I also knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, painfully long as the darkness might last.

With each day so limited, my priorities needed to shift. For example, I learned quickly that I needed to let go of my obsessive need to keep a spotless house. I’m still unable to keep up with as much as I’d like, but I know from past experience that post-COVID syndrome doesn’t last forever. There will be a time when I have the energy once more to keep up as I once did. I got there before, and I will get there again. I’m well on my way.

For the time being, I have no choice but to find as much balance as I can in this teetering world. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve personally found solace in simply acknowledging that this one point in time doesn’t define my entire life. We’re allowed to have good days and bad days — and we’re allowed to have long stretches of bad days. Eventually, for most of us, the good ones do return.

Self-compassion can be difficult to muster when we’re struggling to stay afloat. Who has the fortitude to feel good about themselves when the dishes are piling up and the normal load at work has become astonishingly crushing?

If you’re finding yourself stuck in this rut, ask yourself how you would treat a beloved friend who was in your position. Would you be encouraging, or would you tell them simply to give up? Our mental dialogue plays a vital role in how we approach every problem we face. If that inner cheerleader has yet to be summoned, we’re more likely to view what’s ahead with anxiety and pessimism. But the future is filled with possibilities, and we only open ourselves to a tiny portion of them unless we learn how to rewrite that negative script into something more balanced. Every little step toward getting back on track is a victory — so make sure to celebrate every little milestone. When life knocks you back, sometimes you must claw and crawl our way back up. What’s important is that you’re moving forward and refusing to give up. Every tiny bit counts.

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