For those of us in the northern hemisphere, I think it’s safe to say it’s finally Spring! Emerging from the winter months to spring warmth, light, and flowers encourages us to get back in balance.
Maybe you didn’t notice you were off-balance. The sunshine and new life outside may have distracted you. But if you pay attention to your body, you may notice:
- You feel energetic, and yet lethargic. But Spring shouldn’t make you feel tired, right? Have a listen to this podcast about Spring Tiredness and you may change your mind.
- You’re connecting with so many people to get together but also pulling back and withdrawing from all the stimulation. Connecting with others brings contentment but also feelings of being overwhelmed!
- As the old expression goes, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going.
Changing seasons means change, which means instability and unbalance. It’s perfectly natural although it may not feel perfectly comfortable.
How do you avoid depression and anxiety, and get back in balance?
During change and transitions, it helps to pay attention to what feels balanced. I use the word “balanced” intentionally. It may feel good to stay in bed all weekend, but that is not balanced. If you do that, you will start to feel isolated, lonely, and disconnected.
On the other hand, going to gathering after gathering during the weekend is not balanced either. By Sunday evening you’ll feel tired, overstimulated, and possibly not really ready to return to work on Monday morning.
Instead you want to pay attention to being balanced. You’ll know you’re in balance when you feel calm in your surroundings and connected to others in a way that promotes joy and happiness.
Being in balance is an abstract concept though. Even if you’ve felt it, it can be hard to know if you feel balanced overall in your life, not just in a moment.
So let’s bring this abstract concept to life with a tool I call Color Me Happy.
Use the Color Me Happy tool to get back in balance
Color Me Happy is a concrete way to visualize the balance (or lack of balance) in your life.
Sometimes it still amazes me how powerful the act of attention is. Simply paying attention to something, or noticing it, can be a driver of change.
This also works for restoring balance to your life. Color code how you’ve arranged your life, and you’ll find yourself noticing all the ways you can adjust your life to feel more comfortable.
The instructions are fairly simple. Grab some paper and colored pencils (or crayons, markers, or highlighters) and let’s get coloring!
Step #1: Write down the different areas of your life you want to get back in balance
All of us lead varied lives. Work, home, family, and exercise are just a few to get you thinking about yours.
Think about these different areas of your life and write them down. Most people have categories like this:
- Health (emotional/physical/fitness/nutrition/wellbeing)
- Social: Emotional Connections: Family Friends and others
- Love: Giving and Receiving: Significant Others, Pets and Animals, Your Giving Self
- Purposeful Work:Your passion, What you feel called to do paid or volunteer or hobby.
- Financial Stability: Your personal definition of security, money goals to promote well being.
- Physical Environment/Home: Order and beauty to support calm as you go out in your life
- Being and Enjoying Time: Active resting- those activities you do that recharge you.
- Personal Growth and Development- changing habits, improving interpersonal skills, reading to learn more about you in your life to make positive changes.
- Spiritual well being: Where you connect to a larger picture of your in this world. Activities that Cultivating Calm, Compassion Connection with the larger world. (not necessarily religion but maybe walk in nature for example)
Now assign each of these activities a different color.
Step #2: Ask yourself, “How satisfied am I with this part of my life?”
Now you want to rate your satisfaction with each area of your life.
Here are 2 examples.
- For me, I’d put my Work at a 5. I’m satisfied with my work, I’m content, and I have enough of it in my life.
- I’d also put my Being and Enjoying Time at a 5. I value that time and want it in my life. When I get to do it, I’m very satisfied.
Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. You only need to think about content you feel with this activity in you life not how often.
Step #3: Start coloring to see where you can get back in balance
Get out your calendar for the last week. A calendar that shows an hourly breakdown is helpful, but not necessary.
Now color in the time you spent in each area. You may have overlap. For example, if you cook a healthy dinner and eat it with your family, that may satisfy your Health, Love, Social and/or Being and Enjoying Time areas.
For the perfectionists among us, you don’t need to be exact and accurate. You just want a rough idea.
Once you’ve colored in your calendar for the past week it’s time to step back and evaluate the balance in your life.
Step #4: Evaluate your color balance
What do you learn from this visual snapshot of how you’re spending your time?
When you see how the color of your life’s choices balance out consider these questions:
- What do you learn from this visual snapshot of how you’re spending your time?
- When you see how the color of your life’s choices balance out consider these questions
- What is your reaction to the colors of your life?
- Is there areas you feel content in?
- What are your takeaways about how you spend your time in these areas?
- What is the first change you would like to make that you can effect on your own?
- Where do you need the support or cooperation from others to make a change?
This is a tool to give you a broader perspective. With the color evidence staring you in the face, you can start to readjust your priorities to get back in balance.
Unhappiness you’re feeling at this time of changing into Spring could be directly related to the balance or lack of balance in your life.
Step #5: Use your colors to plan for an in-balance future
Take one color at a time and adjust it to fit your needs better. One day at a time, one area at a time, one color at a time goes in the direction to increase meeting your own needs.
Try coloring in your next week as you want it to be. Then look at where you can make small adjustments to get back in balance and back to happiness. Try using a priority pole. Do this weekly until you get in your groove.