Lat week I wrote a post called Metal Methods which included a section about balance. After a few years of trying to balance the scales I wanted to share my experience of doing so.
The Google definition for balance is:
“an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”.
This made me chuckle but in itself it is very true. Harnessing your mental health can enable you to remain upright, steady and able to cope with the stresses of everyday life.
I talk a lot about harnessing your mental health rather than controlling it. Controlling it is about trying to make your brain work to someone else’s rules – “one size fits all”. No two types of car work the same so why should we apply this rule to the most complex part of our body – our brain. Harnessing your mental health is about using lots of different methods to enable you to live with you mental health. I talk about methods that helped me in this post here.
To gain balance you have to measure the different weights in your life. Weights include, work, exercise, family, friends, money and enjoyment (at no point weigh yourself on scales EVER! It will encourage you to compare yourself to others and you are an individual).
Once I felt more capable of dealing with my mental health and could include more things into my life again I knew there was a need to balance the scales. I call these scales my Life Scales.
If I have a weekend of processed food and alcohol, which is total acceptable to have fun despite having mental health issues, then the following week I know I need to look after my body with good food, water and lots of sleep. Enter the famous quote “everything in moderation” and the balance of Life Scales. If I was out every weekend then my brain would start to shut down again.
Listening to you body is the key here. If I spent every waking moment in the gym it wouldn’t be good for me. When my body needs a rest I go home have a bath and an early night. Your body knows best, don’t let those voices in your head or what other people are saying influence how you look after yourself. You know what is best for you body.
I personally find that things are easier to balance if I am looking after my body through a good diet and exercise. Since leaving university I now rarely drink and this has helped me a lot. Yes I miss the mad nights out but I no longer get hangovers every week and end up binging on Domino’s. My body and brain are working in a more healthy way. Don’t get me wrong I still have the odd night out maybe every 2-3 months. Maybe try a month with no alcohol and see if balancing the scales is easier.
Learning to enjoy life whilst also looking after yourself is a skill to develop. There is no right or wrong way to do it. After all a failure is only truly a failure if you do not learn from it. Remember do things in moderation but do not live life in moderation.
I would love to hear about how you have learnt to develop skills on living with mental health – please comment below with your story.