Finding Balance

Finding Balance
Steve Albert

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it’s become clear that that we are many months away
from any sort of return to “life as usual.” It seems that each day brings new, unpredictable
challenges, and it’s difficult to make plans or predict what the coming days – or day! - will look
like. Moreover, COVID-19 is not the only matter weighing on our minds; we are also dealing with
social unrest, the upcoming election, and the forest fires in our region. I’m told that “getting
plenty of sleep” is particularly important these days, but how do you sleep with so much on your
mind?

It’s difficult to find balance in our lives these days, but we must strive to do so for our health and
well-being. There’s a lot of advice about what one should focus upon, and I’d like to comment
on three things that I think are particularly helpful. First, slow your pace. Second, adhere to a
schedule. Third, stay active.

Slow your pace. Most of us are used to filling our days and have high expectations for
“productivity.” It can be extremely frustrating when we feel that we aren’t accomplishing all that
we expect to accomplish. However, it’s unrealistic to expect that we can maintain the same level
of productivity during the pandemic. If you’re working from home, you are likely not in a
workspace that is designed as effectively as your office. You may have children at home,
attending school remotely. You may have new duties and responsibilities to attend to. We must
adjust our expectations and understand that we will operate at a slower pace than usual given
the multitude of challenges that we are addressing. Be kind to yourself and understand that it’s
normal to be less productive than usual.

Adhere to a schedule. Routines are very important to help both children and adults deal with the
stress of the pandemic. Moreover, a schedule can ensure that you are living a balanced life. If
you are working from home, schedule your work day, as you would in the office. Ensure that you
have time for lunch, breaks, and tasks such as checking email and returning phone calls.
Schedule down time. This might be alone time, for self-care, or it might be social time to catch
up with friends or be with family members. Schedule time for other tasks, such as cleaning the
house, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc. This prevents important aspects of your life from
getting lost in the disruption of the pandemic.

Stay active. Try your best to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Exercise is
good for your heart and your mental health, and it also helps you to maintain a healthy weight
and cope with stress. If you have been back to the MJCC, consider coming in for a workout, a
personal training session, or a swim. If you’re not ready to come to campus just yet, join us for
an on-line group exercise class or a virtual personal training session.

These are challenging times, but we can find balance by lowering our expectations of ourselves,
establishing a routine with scheduled times for what needs to be done, and paying attention to
our needs for regular exercise.