I have been a bike rider for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a bike parked in my garage, even after I married and had children, and grew older. At some point every day, I was pedaling around our neighborhood.
The day came when I had to give it up.
In 2014 I was struck by vertigo. What a horrible, helpless feeling. Even when you’re lying in the middle of the bed, you’re certain you’re going to fall off. And the nausea hits you out of nowhere. And if you’re driving at the time, woe be unto you.
I was diagnosed with labrynthitis, a viral inner ear infection. No cure. That wasn’t an option. I was taking care of three grandchildren.
I started thinking, ‘What can I do to help with balance?’
And the only thing that came to mind was yoga.
I went to Amazon, found a ‘Yoga for Beginners’ DVD, featuring Barbara Benagh, and began doing yoga every day, a practice I continue to this day.
One of my favorite lines comes from Barbara’s instructions about “standing poses.”
She explains how standing poses—even ‘mountain pose,’ which is simply both feet on the ground, weight evenly distributed—strengthen and help with balance.
“Feeling the quiet mind that is always the product of balance.”
Balance means a “state of equilibrium, equal distribution of weights.”
Equilibrium: synonyms are ‘steadiness’ and ‘stability.’
How do we maintain our balance, especially in times of added stress?
Before I list my helpful hints, let me add: Due to my temperament and upbringing, I am deeply invested in time management and organization. I have to be careful this trait in itself does not throw me “off balance.”
Having said that, I offer these tips for your consideration.
- Tend to yourself. Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Comb your hair. You’re going to walk past the mirror sometime. If you look at yourself, and think, ‘Not bad,’ you’ll have more confidence to keep moving. That, plus, your family is looking at you, too.
- Tackle the hardest job first. Is there a chore particularly irksome to you? Do that task first. All others will nudge more easily into their place on your schedule.
- Divide your day into one-hour increments. If your schedule is piled up with must-be-done-today tasks, set a timer for one hour and get busy on that “hardest job.” Work doggedly on for that one hour. When the buzzer goes off, take a break, no matter what point you’ve reached, and do something less difficult for the second hour. And get back to the difficult task later.
- Reward yourself throughout the day. After you complete a task, take a break, and have a snack. We’ve long been told it’s best to eat several small meals throughout the day. Fit these into your break times.
- Admit some tasks are not going to get done today. Designate a time to stop working at the end of the day. Think back on your successes and then reward yourself again.
The key word is “balance.” You can’t go through life always telling yourself ‘no,’ or always telling yourself ‘yes.’ You can’t give your attention to one “task,” and ignore all the others. Divide and conquer works in so many areas.
“The quiet mind that is always the product of balance.”
And by the way, I’m happily back to bike riding again.