The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

by Dr. Marla Reis

You know the story of the shoemaker with no shoes? Well, I was reminded of that lesson of imbalance and lack of self-care over the past week.

As many of you know, I have a private psychology practice, and I recently opened a new Mindfulness and Integrative Medicine studio called Zen Mind Space. 

‘Experiences over things” is a mantra I repeat often, and I truly believed that I subscribed to that idea as a lifestyle, regardless of how busy my life looked. So, as I sit here in the Providenciales airport waiting to go back home to my truly beautiful, blessed life, I’m reflecting on the following insights:

INSIGHT 1 - No matter how much you try to convince yourself that you’re committed to your self-care (because you know it’s of utmost import), self-care is an action. 

You have to have a plan and implement it.

So while I was preaching to the choir about the importance of mindfulness in mental health, I quickly realized that I was not a member of said choir. I was, at most, in the audience and attempting to live vicariously through orchestrating others in their voices of self-care. 

If I were my own client, I’d call bs.

INSIGHT 2 - Don’t hide your imbalance, lack of awareness, and dysfunction behind random moments of mindfulness and wellness.

In other words, don’t fool yourself into believing you’re not a control freak, over-giver, perfectionist, workaholic, helicopter parent, or any other extreme behavior, simply because you schedule in some time to have some fun. 

When I scheduled my trip to the Ts&Cs back in December (after not having taken time to rejuvenate since we opened Zen), I somehow thought it would be a good idea to leave on Sunday and come back home on Thursday, even though everyone else on the trip was staying through the following Sunday. 

I’ll go back to work on Friday, I thought. It will be good, I thought. 

It wasn’t until Wednesday that I was able to fully settle in to vacay mode, at which point I felt truly exhausted and not in the least bit ready to return to reality. 

Which leads me to....

INSIGHT 3 - You can if you want to.

This is my favorite truth. 

I know that if someone were sitting in front of me in my office weighing the benefits of extending a vacation with loved ones or any other meaningful experience - versus going back to work for a day or two - there would be no question as to what the most self-loving and life-affirming decision would be. 

But we all tend to fool ourselves into believing our made-up limitations, restrictions, and rationalizations about why “we can’t.” We fall into the scarcity mindset.

Even me.
That’s why it’s so important to continuously commit to deepening your mindfulness practice and challenging those old beliefs and scripts. Commit to intentionally making decisions that lead to a meaningful life.

Ask yourself: “Am I in the audience, or am I singing?”

And then sing.