This is not a typical post for me, it’s not about Acupuncture or Chinese Medicine modalities. It’s not about eating properly or exercising. It’s something that I have been working through myself the last few months – work-life balance.
The first building block for imbalance started about three years ago, I was in my third year of the Acupuncture program – now since I was at school the imbalance wasn’t undesirable yet. However, once I graduated, moved back to Stettler and started studying for my national exams…that’s when it really hit the fan.I kept saying “just until I’m registered”. I was studying 9-12 hour days, four days a week and working the other three. My social outings consisted of getting people to quiz me. At this point in time, this behaviour was a necessity in order to successfully pass all my exams. But after eight months of constant studying and work, it was becoming normal for me. So, once I became registered I began working seven days a week – with the odd day off of course. And what did I say then? “Just until I build up my clientele”. I did this for another year.
I have always been very aware of what I eat and how active I am, but in the whirlpool of building a career I lost sight of my physical goals. I started to eat not the best foods for my body which would translate into physical pain. Night shades (bell peppers, potatoes, etc.) create inflammation in the body, which for having arthritis is a really good way to develop unnecessary pain.
As my back began to hurt more, from unnecessary stress and improper diet, my work outs diminished. I felt I had ‘no time’ to relax or meditate. One day I was on my way to work in Wetaskiwin and had taken two Advil (I hadn’t had any NSAIDs since I was 18) for the drive, I felt almost ashamed that I had taken medication after how successful the holistic approach had been in the past. I asked myself, who am I?
I love eating healthy, exercising, acupuncture, outdoors and spending quality time with the ones I love. If it wasn’t for my love of acupuncture, I would not have been doing anything I truly enjoyed in life anymore. It was at that point that I realized that I wasn’t my priority. My physical, emotional, and spiritual well being had been put on the back burner for much too long.
So, right then I decided to decrease my working days to five days a week, make time for more than work in my life. We booked our 18 day trip to Thailand/Philippines the next week.
As some of you may know, I am in love with travelling. My perspective on so many things in life was developed while travelling. After being in my happy place for 18 days, it was a nice reset button. Don’t get me wrong – it is still a work in progress. I have to be very conscious about all my decisions. I began going to physio, chiro, and acupuncture on a regular basis. I used to say “My health needs to get back to how it was in Edmonton”. But in life you can’t move backwards, you can only continue on, slowly, one step at a time. It may not be easy, but it is always worth it. People usually need that breaking point in order to re-evaluate their lives, all breaking points are different for each person and for each phase you are at in your life. Mine right now is taking medication to do something that I have complete control over. But what if we didn’t have to reach our breaking point to change…?
So today, take a minute to evaluate each part of your life and see if you are truly happy with how much you spend on each; spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, relationships, etc. Be conscious of your choices, evaluate your happy scale on a regular basis, not just when you are saying ‘Hello!’ to your breaking point.
This was my experience, and I will leave you with a quote from my favourite book (The Four Agreements). “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.”
Do your best, and love yourself. The rest will come…