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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Seeking Balance and Staying Whole
(10 Ways to Make it Happen)

It was a Sunday evening. The end of a week packed with countless hours at my computer churning out articles for editors, teaching, and adding multiple tasks to my online calendar. Meanwhile, my social calendar was sorely suffering. I had nothing lined up in the way of fun, and I was frayed and bored senseless. I had been “all work and no play.”


So much so, I found myself frantically surfing the Internet, reading strangers’ “blogs” in hopes of living more vicariously through them! I had to laugh at just how crazy things had gotten, even for me.

Though I was proud and pleased with what I had accomplished professionally, and I loved my life, something was missing.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had “let my hair down,” slept in late, or treated myself to frivolous pleasures. What I was missing was balance…

How about you?

In your corporate climb, have you forgotten to “stop and smell the roses?” In your frantic pace, have you neglected to give yourself a little pampering or TLC? If so, it’s bound to take its toll; either on your soul or your psyche.

Balance has always been crucial to a holistic and healthy existence. Think about it. Doctors often speak of the importance of a “balanced diet.” Of how it’s essential to balance those ice cream indulgences with some fresh fruits and vegetables, and other vitamin sources from the major food groups. Even nature operates on a yin and yang system.

Take personal inventory. Are you living in sync? Do you enjoy a dynamic career, but lack a personal life? Do you have a healthy bank account, while maintaining an unhealthy self-image? Are you living in excess? Smoke too much, sleep too little?

If you’ve been operating out of whack, here are 10 ways to get back on track!

1. Make a Date with Yourself
That’s right..whether it’s a Friday night “unwind” with a bottle of bubbly and a Blockbuster movie, time spent luxuriating in the escape of a warm bubble bath, or getting lost in the pages of a good read, do it! And make it a regular habit.

2. Keep Connected
Don’t let valued friendships and family relations fall by the waist side, from being busy. Studies show that people with strong social networks live longer.

3. Set Priorities
It’s impossible to do everything that competes for our attention on a daily basis. Decide what’s most important, do it well, and tackle the other stuff on an “as needed” basis.

4. Learn to Say "No"
As simple as it sounds, some people are simply overwhelmed due to addressing the needs of everyone else. I used to be one of them! It’s impossible to be all things to all people. Sometimes being a little selfish goes along way toward self-preservation.

5. Seek Simple Pleasures
If you’re on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t have big fun or take a “time-out”! When I’m at wit’s end, and penny pinching, I get so much joy from listening to my jazz collection and just having a good meal at home

6. Have Good Friends of the Opposite Sex
My female friends are near and dear to me, but oh how I love the fellas! There’s something about our philosophical and psychological differences that adds richness and humor to my world. It will to yours, too!

7. Maintain a "Spiritual" Foundation
Whether you pray to Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, or some other deity, acknowledging and embracing divine order will give a sense of peace, perspective, and purpose.

8. Don't Neglect Your Health
Preventative maintenance assures that you’ll have the strength and well being to keep the other areas of your life in order…longer.

9. Lighten Up!
It’s true that “laughter is the best medicine”! Tune in to some silly sit-coms on the boob tube to lighten your mental load. My personal favorites? King of Queens, Bernie Mac, Two and a Half Men, The Office, Girlfriends, MAD TV, and Saturday Night Live.

10. Realize that Perfection is an Unworthy Goal
Give yourself permission to not be perfect at everything. So what if you’re not! The world won’t come to an end. Just devote your best effort to each day and live life to its fullest!

Be balanced and be blessed. Until next time...

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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