Self-care is, fundamentally, about bringing balance back to a life that has grown imbalanced from too many commitments or responsibilities.

Robyn L. Gobin, The self-care prescription

School was one of my favorite things as a kid. I loved two things about it: eating school lunch and recess. Let’s talk about recess.

Recess was synonymous with freedom. It was the time that I didn’t have to sit still in my desk either listening to the teacher or working through an assignment. Recess was my time to do what I wanted. On the playground, there were so many activities to choose from. There was tetherball, foursquare, wallball, handball, and dodgeball. There were chalk drawings, swings, monkey bars, and hopscotch. And of course, there was that one play structure only the weird kids played with: the seesaw.

Frankly, I never understood the seesaw. The seesaw is essentially a long plank balanced precariously on a triangular fulcrum. Kids sit on opposite ends and by taking turns pushing off the ground with their legs, they teeter-totter back and forth from low to high. Oddly enough, the point never is to have the seesaw perfectly balanced in the middle. This has always puzzled me. Was this not a tool for us to learn about physics? Why else would it be such a fixture of schoolyards?

As an adult, it all makes sense now. Quite obviously, it teaches us about balance. Everything we need to know about it, we’ve already learned from the humble seesaw. The wisdom is as follows:

  1. Balance is dynamic. People talk about work-life balance as if once you find it, you’re set for life. This is certainly not the case. Limiting yourself to a 40-hour work week or a 128-hour me week is boring. Visualize that as just two kids sitting there, plank parallel to the earth. A Zen-like embodiment of physics for sure, but no movement and therefore no growth nor progress. It’s okay to swing up on one-side as long as it comes back down. It all evens out in the end.
  2. It’s between you and others. It’s sometimes hard to remember that you’re one of the participants in this game of balance. As magnificent as it is to rocket somebody up to new heights, don’t forget that it took effort and energy from you. Take care of yourself and don’t regulate yourself to an emotional low.
  3. Play with kids your own size. This game is all about give and take. If somebody or something is already encumbered, they won’t be able to take. Albeit, they’ll have plenty to give. As a result, one side of the seesaw will be eternally grounded, with no way for it to rise to the occasion. The opposite is true. The anemic will have nothing to give and therefore be uncomfortably suspended against their will.

I hope these insights will help you find healthier balance in your life. If it has, weigh to go!


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