Yesterday a reader pointed out that balance is important not just in health but in all aspects of life. I couldn't agree more. Health is a big thing... but it's not the only thing. I once heard it said that a good life depends on four areas - work, family/friends, spirituality, and health. Think of life as a table with four legs. You can get by (for a while) missing one leg. Neglect two legs and you'll soon be eating off of the floor.
In the same way that the four pillars of health are connected, so are the four areas of life. Focusing too much on one area will have negative effects on the other three since our mental, emotional, and physical resources are limited. This is where balance comes in. It's challenging because we live in a society that values extremes.
I used to follow the sport of bodybuilding. Talk about extremes! It was common to see someone rise quickly in that sport only to flameout a short while later and proceed to vent about how miserable they were. I would see this theme play out over and over again. It makes sense. Bodybuilding isn't even balanced in terms of fitness. So of course when you broaden the scope to health and then life, the balance is totally out of whack.
Life doesn't always roll at a steady pace. Sometimes circumstances force us to come out of balance. Sometimes pursuing a goal will require us to sacrifice balance. That's OK as long as we remain mindful of the imbalance and maintain our intention to right the ship once the storm has passed. Periods like this can actually strengthen our sense of balance.
Check in with yourself regularly. Am I happy at work? How are my relationships with friends and family? Am I growing as a person? Am I making a contribution to this world? These can be tough questions... but they must be asked. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living".