Getting your balance back

10 March 2015

I am passionate about my work and love my family. Sometimes my life gets out of balance trying to juggle both, and find time for myself.

Does this sound familiar? How do you know when your life is out of balance? What can you do?

I want to show how person-centred thinking can help – both on a personal level, and also within teams.

The last few weeks have been excellent from a work perspective – we held two great events that were both fully booked  and launched two new books, including one at the National Children’s and Adults Services conference in London.

At the same time, I felt my ‘balance’ slip. It was the ‘little things’ that gave it away for me. I was catching late trains home from London, grabbing a bag of crisps and perhaps chocolate as I carried on with emails. I noticed that I wasn’t sleeping as well, drinking a glass or two of wine every night; and skipping my exercise or yoga. My iPhone became an extension of my body and I lost count of the time I looked at my most recent obsession, Twitter.

In the support planning process there is a great question at the end – ‘How will we know that we need to review this support plan?”. In our personal lives, another way of asking that question is ‘How will we know that things are not going well for you?”. The things I have just described are my way of knowing the answer to that question

I want to get sharper at noticing when I start to get out of balance so that I can do something about it before it gets too bad. It’s a bit like the Johari window for me – there are things that I notice that others may not (the extra junk food and Twitter obsession) and then there are things that others notice that I may not be aware of.  For example, my husband Andy notices that I am irritable and I don’t do my strange ‘opera’ singing around the house. I wondered what the other people in the office or team notice about me when I am feeling more stressed? What would I want the team to do if they did notice?

In my journal this week, I used the following questions to help me think about this and what I wanted to do about it:

  • How do I know when I am feeling out of balance or stressed?
  • What do I notice?
  • What might others notice?
  • What gives me energy or makes me feel good?
  • What drains my energy or makes me feel out of balance?
  • What can I change this week?

I know that there are similar approaches used in WRAP (a process used in mental health services) and other approaches to relapse prevention that have useful questions like these.

My action plan for getting more balance this week is to make sure I am doing some exercise three times this week; not looking at Twitter after 5pm; taking 10 minutes in between meetings to breathe; going to the cinema with a friend and doing the photobook I have been meaning to do for weeks.

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