So exactly what am I referring to when I say a balanced life? This question can be answered in a number of ways and it is largely dependent upon your situation. I will attempt to relate it to the lives of those with whom I work with on a daily basis-adolescent youth. I feel that this is a crucial time in a young person’s life to grow into a balanced person. Speaking to youth, you are on the brink of adulthood and with adulthood come numerous responsibilities and decisions that you will have to address. If you are able to be a balanced young person, then there is much promise for you in all of your future endeavors.
Balance can be defined as a state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest.
This is the balance that I am speaking of. In life you are confronted with a number of decisions on a daily basis. From things as simple as what to wear, to the more complex things like whom you surround yourself with. Regardless of the decision, each action has a consequence, which will usually be as minor or as serious as the decision itself. In explaining to me what he meant about moderation, mi padre would say “Too much of anything is a bad thing.” I grew to agree with this statement wholeheartedly.
I will recite some examples of how this can be true in life. In the realm of religion, if a person has faith regardless of their denomination then it can serve as a positive source of strength and stability in the way they live their lives. To the contrary, if religion is the only frame of reference from which you make decisions then you potentially close out a number of other points of view. In taking religion to the extreme one can become fanatical. Sadly enough, far too many people have died in the name of religion.
In applying this balanced philosophy to education, if a student faces extreme pressure to perform academically, whether it is self-inflicted or comes from parents or guardians, it can result in a student becoming limited in their scope of life. Please understand that I am not saying school and academics aren’t important, I am simply saying they aren’t everything when it comes to the development of a young person.
Some things that I have witnessed when students are under pressure to get straight A’s include: emotional breakdowns, rebellion against the educational system and parents/guardians, and a lack of social development. A person may have graduated with honors from high school or college, but without the proper social or people skills they may find themselves being hampered by the lack of these skills.
One way to develop as well-rounded student is to apply a balance between academics and extra-curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities including athletics, clubs, and student government can provide great opportunities to enhance social, leadership, and teambuilding skills.
The idea of having balance and moderation in life is simple enough to say but walking-the-walk is another story. Here are some ways you can help foster balance in your life.
Step 1-Prioritize: Think of all of the things that you do. List them and put them in order of importance. Now take a look at the list again and indicate how much time you dedicate to each in a week. Are the things that are most important getting most of your time? If so that is good.
Take a look at the list again and think if there is anything missing that you would like to implement into your life. Some suggestions for things that may be lacking are hobbies, exercise, and something I like to call me time. “Me time” is just what is sounds like, you doing something that you want to do by yourself.
Me time is important because it allows a person to rejuvenate, refresh, and refocus. Me time can be spent doing anything that you normally don’t get to do, and it will take some planning because in our hectic lives there is a reason that we normally don’t get to do whatever it is you choose to do.
Step 2-Plan: In order to fit in all of the things that you do or want to do, it is crucial to plan. You want to develop a routine and by doing this you will be more likely to accomplish the things you set out to do. One great way for developing a routine is by using a planner. I didn’t start using a planner until I was in college and I wish I would have started much earlier because time management is something that will reward you greatly.
At the high school where I teach, all of the students are provided with planners. If your school doesn’t provide them then you can go to most dollar stores and pick one up cheap. Once you have developed a schedule and routine it is important that you make adjustments, when needed. Remember, life is not always predictable so there is a good chance that you will have to deviate from the routine from time to time so be ready to be flexible.
Step 3-Act: Now that you developed a routine it is time to put it into practice. It’s a must to recall that you are doing this to grow into a balanced person. The more you work at these skills the more you will become like a chameleon and you will be able to adapt to a number of circumstances, situations, and environments.
Step 4-Re-evaluate: From time to time and as your life situation changes, it is important to re-evaluate steps 1 through 3 to make sure that you still have that balance.
These are some things that I feel will further your ability to be balanced and healthy, both physically and mentally. Exercise, this is not only a great way to be healthy it is also a great stress reliever. It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, lift weights, play sports, or have an aerobic routine just do something.
Read, there are always two sides to a fence and looking from the other side is a good thing to do. By reading not only do you exercise your brain, but you also can stay informed about what is going on in your community, the country, and the world.
Use common sense; life will present you with endless temptations and how you react in the face of temptation will define who you are as a person. You are smart and know right from wrong; I am a realist and know that there are a lot of things out there that you can get caught up in. When you find yourself in situations remember to use that thing between your ears and behind your eyeballs, tu mente. I know it’s rough out there in the world and thus I wish you the best in finding the right balance. ˇHasta la próxima vez!
I would love to hear from you about my column please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about. You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ˇGracias por tu apoyo!