This week’s column is guest authored by Barry’s colleague, Joanne Dowds MISCP.
Last week, the last full week in September, marked the autumn equinox, when night and day are balanced in perfectly equal length.
This means it is, by any definition of it, autumn.
Autumn — the season for pulling in, for lighting fires, swinging back into the routines of work or school or college.
Work has definitely kicked back in at full speed, for me anyways, and with equinox, where balance is present in the sky, balance in life is on my mind.
What does balance mean? Technically, balance is defined as the ability to hold yourself within your base of support, being able to stay standing despite all the forces working or conspiring against you.
It is a question for each of us — what are those pushes and pulls on your time.
What is it that supports you and what is it that is making you work harder to stay upright?
Today, we’re all balancing light and dark, sun and moon, male and female, good and bad, the chaos of political turmoil and the energy in school age environmental campaigners. There is a quote about the world arcing towards good, but sometimes when I’m scrolling through Twitter while watching the news channels, I feel the pervasive heaviness of the events of the day.
Morphing into a current affairs addict/my dad isn’t good for me, as there is a difference in being informed and being made anxious.
There are lots of things I do to manage this anxiety. I have no social media apps on my phone. I exercise, make good food choices and sometimes just treat myself to a few extra hours in bed.
Recently, I wasn’t the last one home from a friends’ dinner which is so unusual that my mates thought I wasn’t in the full of my health! I just wanted a few more hours in bed — is that a sign of ageing?
I was being more mindful of what I wanted to have, namely energy for the following day.
It is interesting that your state of mind can affect your physical balance.
These last few weeks I have been hectic and my phone has borne the brunt.
It has been misplaced, dropped, crackled, dipped and nearly put through a washing machine cycle. It is still functioning but it carries the scars of my busy mind.
Balance is a system you can train. Gradual, stepwise challenges can strengthen it.
Balancing yoga poses focus the attention to bring your mind into the present.
Balance is so important as we age that is recommend in physical activity guidelines for older people — but hey, why wait?
What can you do to be more balanced in your life? Noone is one thing all the time. People are complex — just because you run doesn’t mean you can’t love an evening on the couch. Just because you attend yoga classes doesn’t make you a vegan.
Balance for me is a monitoring of my energy levels, an understanding that Saturday bedtime can be 10pm or 3am and I'm lucky that I get to choose. Balance is about making choices that best suit your needs at that moment. Rest and activity. Wine and water. Sleep and shape throwing. Brolly and sun cream.
Local physio and Newbridge AC member Barry Kehoe offers advice to runners of all levels. See www.kehoephysio.com