The thought of attaining perfect life balance — in every area of our lives, all the time — is a lovely idea. The only problem is the fact that human perfection isn’t possible this side of eternity. At the same time, we do suffer mightily when our lives get completely out of whack.
So, there’s a reason we aim for getting plenty of sleep at night and for doing our best to get some form of daily exercise. Just as there’s a reason to drink lots of water throughout our day and do what we can to consume a healthy combination of proteins, carbs, and fats.
These are worthy goals, but we’re also not automatons who can do all of this perfectly every day. And yet, we pursue these healthy habits because we know they’re good for us, and because we know that when our lives become imbalanced in an unhealthy way, not only do we suffer for it, but everyone around us suffers for it, too.
I think the older we get the more we realize that we really do need to care for these vessels of flesh we inhabit.
I realize that, for some of us, there are very real health challenges that may prevent us from being able to do everything we’d like to do health wise. Two summers ago when I was recovering from surgery, there was no way I could exercise. My body needed time to heal. But slowly, as I recovered my strength, I could return to my daily walks.
Lots of articles on the Internet offer advice on how to actualize a perfect life balance. One article I read offered “37 Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance.” My goodness, who can remember 37 tips? That would overwhelm anybody.
Instead of linking to such listicles, I’ve gathered three other links for you today that I thought offered some interesting takes on this subject. (The idea of “second sleeps” was fascinating to me because that’s totally me!)
“Regarding Time, Light, and Second Sleeps” by A.W. Workman
“It seems that we in the West have sought to become completely independent of nature when it comes to our methods of time management. We use man-made items like clocks, calendars, checklists, and technology to find a steadier time-trellis than we feel that nature provides. But many other cultures, including those in this corner of Central Asia, still approach time management the classic way — that is, by relying on the stimuli of nature and the power of the body’s internal memory.”
“The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep” by Stephanie Hegarty
“By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness. [The historian Roger Ekirch] attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses — which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.”
“Not Everything Doable Is Sustainable” by Chris Hodges
“If we want to restore balance in our lives and improve our physical, emotional and spiritual health, then we need to make some changes in our choices, habits and routines. Our margins — the space between ourselves and our limits — have grown smaller and smaller. Often our bodies send us signals to slow down, rest and recover in order to restore healthy balance to our lives. But we tend to keep ignoring those signals and pushing through until a health crisis, panic attack or severe depression forces us to slow down.”
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You can read more in the #ThreeOnThursday series here.