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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Balance

I'm very much supposed to be writing a paper right now about Ernest Hemingway and our culture's obsession with an imagined sexual orientation binary, but just typing this sentence is pretentious and exhausting enough for me to put the project off for another hour. Instead, I'm squeezing every last bit of value out of my time by lying here, open-mouthed, increasing the chances of my already likely carpal tunnel by scrolling endlessly through Tumblr. So speaking of extremely addictive/pointless activities and the way my posture is giving me several excess chins, today I want to talk about self-improvement.

My best friend gets mad at me when I pile pressure on her by describing her as purely good, but that doesn't change the fact that she is. Even from far away, she makes a point to spread little wisdoms to me over the phone, and I have to share one with you. Both of us have a certain propensity for depression and a much stronger and unnecessary sense of guilt for being sad, and to combat these, she's recently tried to show me the value of balance. The idea, basically, is that moderation is the cure for everything. You can't expect your body and mind and soul to all work properly if you're only feeding one of them. Everyone has certain unique needs, and denying yourself any of them can lead to feeling off-kilter. I know for a fact that, every day, I require:

  • at least twenty minutes of exercise
  • a good dose of sunshine and fresh air
  • to write something for myself
  • to write something for an audience
  • a solid conversation with someone I love
  • fresh vegetables
  • eight glasses of water
  • to make something with my hands
  • and to have some physical contact with another person.

Still, I'm constantly sacrificing one or several of these because it's convenient or because I'd rather sit around and feel bad for myself. Inevitably, that feeling-bad-for-myself will soon turn to feeling-bad-about-myself and then to being-a-drain-on-other-people, eventually resulting in all-around Shit. And the thing is... I really don't like Shit. Depression breeds on itself, and if your natural defense system against it is already weak or holed, you need to make conscious, everyday efforts if you're going to combat the bastard. So balance. I'm working on balance.


Here's something I made with my hands to illustrate my determination to follow through with this don't-give-into-stupid-instinct-when-you-could-be-kicking-ass plan:


And to help me keep up the positive attitude, I'm going to end all my posts for a while with a new personal goal. This week: Balance. Making time to treat myself the way I need to be treated. What's yours? <3


P.S. Since we last spoke, I've posted a new video on my main channel, a companion video on my second channel, and a new (totally eccentric) Answerly video!

49 comments:

Kendall said...

I think I needed this today.
My balance is constantly out of whack because I have so much schoolwork that I'm nearly always either working on that or lazing around on the computer avoiding that, neither of which results in me feeling particularly happy. I keep feeling if only I could quit that pattern and make time for other things I need -- writing, exercise, more sleep -- then I would feel better overall. But it's hard, and it's so much easier just to stay in this little cycle.
Thank you for continually inspiring me with things like this, and also for making me laugh.

Emily said...

I think it's really helpful to make a list of what you want or need to accomplish every day. I read The Happiness Project and it really changed many of my ideas about what I want and need. I wrote a list of goals, or things I wanted to do every day. Now I take my vitamins and go for a walk every day, just to get outside. It's not a run because I hate running, but I try to make sure it's long so I get some exercise. I am also slowly starting to procrastinate less. My house has been mostly tidy for like a month, which is completely unheard of.

Krazy_4_Kelly said...

That paper sounds totally interesting, but I'm a sexuality nerd.

I totally and completely agree though! Currently, I'm in grad school for Marriage and Family Therapy and it's hilarious to me how many of the people in my cohort neglect taking care of themselves. For me to be okay and functioning, I need to either have time every day to read, watch a show, or talk on the phone with a friend. Yet whenever I talk to people in class who just tell me how much time they spent reading the textbook. In my opinion, I'm only a good therapist if I'm an okay and healthy person so I'd rather not read a chapter of the textbook right when it's due than miss out on doing something I need to exist.

I'm glad you wrote about this, Hayley, and I know you'll be able to meet that goal! My goal is to try and be a little more social this week. I'm really introverted but every once and a while I need to remind myself that I can have fun with other people as well.

EJ said...

This was exactly what I needed to be reminded of this week. Your requirements of a good day are similar to mine. This week I'm going to work on balance as well, but specifically balancing solitude with being social. Whenever I'm particularly anxious I retreat into my room and don't see anyone for a few days. Probably not really that helpful never to tell anyone what's so anxiety producing. So, this week I'm going to work on that. Thanks for giving me the kick I needed to start combating this Shit. I wish you the best of luck on your goal for this week.

Also, when you said you wanted to treat yourself the way you need to be at the end, totally thought of Parks and Rec. Treat yo'self.

Carrie said...

Thanks for this post! I like your goals and may steal a few. I am a firm believer in balance too!

Rose24 said...

I think it's admirable that you're admitting to yourself that change needs to happen and on top of that, you've made attainable goals that will lead you to become happier. Good luck Hayley and I can't wait to be updated on the progress that your balance method will provide :)

Stefan said...

it's good to get good at this stuff in college or younger if you can. I often think that I wish my mom forced to me to clean up more or be more organized. now as an adult I need to be awesome at my job and advance my skills and I have a kid coming and figure how to stay awake and do all the things I need to do.

I hope it doesn't sound too depressing but it's fun trying to keep up even if it's sad when I know I will miss stuff. stuff I want to read or watch or play.

this is when I start talking about how science needs to hurry up so I can live forever. thanks again HGH.

Molly said...

Balance is a good goal. One that I very much need in my life.

Anonymous said...

in light of the mike situations..hold strong Hayley

Katie said...

This is precisely what I needed to hear today, thank you for the words of wisdom.

Elizabeth Jayne said...

My balance system needs more balance. My goal is to go to the gym at least three times a week. And to try to become less frustrated by my family.

Miranda said...

Excellent! I know of so many people in my life who need to hear this, including myself!

kira902k said...

God, this is so accurate to my life. I really do need to find that balance as well.
Beautiful post, Hayley.

<3

Kara said...

Balance sounds good. For me, the two things I most need to learn to balance (well, just to do at all) are exercise and social interaction. Because it's so easy for me to ignore them, and then it's really easy for me to feel like crap all the time. Sometimes writing about how terrible I feel makes me feel better, but it really doesn't solve the problem. So, huzzah! Balance! We'll see how this goes. Thanks for the reminder, Hayley.

CeliaAnn said...

I've been constantly giving into capital-S Shit lately. And then of course all I do is lay around and think about how much I hate myself for just laying around and it's horrible. Pushing myself to accomplish anything at all is so much harder than it should be. However, your words, and face, and presence always inspire me. Thank you.

Bridget said...

Oh man, such great advice that I needed to hear! My goal for the rest of this week is to be social because unfortunately since I started college I've retreated into myself and have only made a few friends due to some sort of recently developed anxiety on talking to people in general. So this weekend I'm going to drive over to my cousins apartment and we're going to have a girls day and watch Memoirs of a Geisha! haha :)

Stephy said...

Hayley, I have no words. You and the other 5AG are amazing people who helped me through a really rough time in my life, and continue to help me. It's your honesty and openness and strength and just everything that make me want to grow up to be like you, even though I'm older than you. Your self-awareness, your eloquent way of expressing yourself, the bonds you form with the people around you. I know I'm rambling, and I'm sure that this doesn't make a lot of sense, but I have to share. I'm not going to dump praise and such on you. You're not perfect, the strongest person, the best person, the whatever. But that's why I'm a fan. Because you're real. Keep the balance, Hayley, and keep it real. And thank you for sharing with us.

Cindy said...

While I'm not new to your blog posts, this will be the first time I've commented.
Truth is, I may have possibly been stalking your blog up until a little past your 100th post. It seems I couldn't keep reading the rest, but I think you're a rather awesome person. I've watched your videos before and find you hilarious, and now that I've found your blog, you seem that much more amazing. I don't know where I was going with this, but somehow I've felt that I've learned so much. Not just about you, but about every and anything. There were various topics that I felt I understood and related with, and you managed to bring it out in your posts. It gives me that extra boost to blog myself. Though I'm not on blogspot... Anyway, that's my little random comment.

Relating to this post, I think balance is definitely what's needed in our lives. I've always admired those with the ability to stick with their moderation of things, and their balance of life. It's something I hope I too can achieve, and become one who people can secretly admire and learn from as I do from others.
But, well, I mainly came here to spaz about how awesome I think you are, and how much I learn from you. I just like how easily one can pick up life tips from your posts, and, well, yeah. Thanks. (:
I'll still be following your blog too, so it's not like I'm just going to disappear after posting. So, yeah, thanks for being you. (:

Anonymous said...

On Tumblr you can just hit the "j" key to scroll down post by post and the "k" key to scroll up post by post. Save your wrists!

Sidsel said...

I have been so lazy lately - been sitting on my couch eating shit. Already skipped three classes in the only three week old semester. I have been digging myself up for a week but now I'd like do dig a little faste, and what better time that just after pancakes for breakfast?

Steph said...

I'm doing an essay about the sexual orientation binary too! Only mine's on bisexual erasure not hemingway =p But it sounds really interesting.
I find balance extremely hard to do, I put so much presure on myself to do essays and everything so the only time I take off is to procrastinate, and unfortunately exercising makes me worried that it's taking up too much of my time, when I waste that time procrastinating anyway! Silly. I'm going to tryyyyy to procrastinate less and instead save my time up where I would procrastinate to do something fun or useful rather than just hang around on tumblr.

Lucy said...

My balance is:
At least 8 hours of sleep (preferably more)
An hour of being my myself, doing something relaxing i.e youtube, reading, watching TV
Sunlight
Exercise
Doing some work so I don't feel like it was a wasted day

Christina said...

It's so easy to forget/just not do those simple things that do make you happy. For me it's exercise, I know it makes me feel so great after I do it, but I am so bad about actually doing it!

Thanks for this little reminder, Hayley, and I will remember to think about my balance each day like you are. :)

caliowin said...

This post has come at a good time for me. It's good to be reminded of balance. University is not treating me well at the moment and has lead to extreme anxiety which isn't good for my health. The situation got so bad I became phobic of the labs and therefore now can't get my work done! :S Taking positive steps forward now with the help of my personal tutor and the School of Chemistry, which should help reclaim so balance in my life. Been so caught up in worry, fear and feeling sick that I forgot that in the grand scheme of things, university is not that important. My health and happiness is more important.

Amie said...

Hayley, I can't express to you how much comfort this blog brings me. I feel such a sense of solidarity and closeness with you, which sounds ridiculous considering I don't even know you! Thanks for being here for all of us.

Cate said...

I really don't think there's anything I needed to read more than this right now. You're always so insightful and this post in particular really hits home with how much I've been prioritising work and other people over my own happiness and health lately. I'm going to set about making my own list right now! Good luck with finding your own balance and thank you :)

Amelia said...

I heard that a great way to achieve balance in life is by reading my blog...

KateyMatey said...

This is a perfectly timed post.

My balance is completely off at the moment, hopefully after writing down key points I can improve it. Thank you!

Also, a good dose of Tina Fey/Amy Poehler should definitely be added to your list.

Jade Elizabeth said...

You are a wonderful human.

Maggie said...

i could definitely use some more balance in my life right now. i <3 you hayley. :)

Sarahalala said...

Oh, Hayley, I so hear you with the balance thing. On the day you wrote this, I was at the dentist, getting a lecture about taking better care of my teeth. Sometimes (especially with a tendency towards depression/other chronic health issues) it seems like it is so hard to balance even the most basic of things. Getting enough but not too much sleep; taking super good care of my stupid difficult teeth; getting enough exercise; seeing friends; keeping on top of chores/bills/responsibilities; finding time for spirituality, etc. etc. It seems like every time I get one thing under control, something else gets out of whack. Balance is my goal every week. Thanks for letting us know its your goal too; it cuts down on my guilt, feeling as though I'm not alone. :)

(And try at least alternating fingers when you scroll so that you irritate the various tendons evenly, instead of always hurting your poor pointer finger...)

AmyK7 said...

Thank you for the inspiration. I'm going to try my best to do this too. <3

Brianna said...

A few friends and I are doing something similar. We are doing one new thing a week this year and posting videos, of course. In the past two months I've done more fun activities than I did throughout all of last year. (Ceramic painting, learning to bbq, got my tongue pierced and today I pet a cheetah!) My balance is pretty much just trying to get closer to finishing everything on my list this year.

eveningsky said...

So, would watching TV count as something for one's mind or one's soul then? I know it's definitely not good for one's body..

Kathy Schneider said...

That's really great Hayley. I'm really proud of you for taking steps to work on your depression. Good for you!

David said...

Your reminders to keep in good health have made me decide to take up running!
Which is actually quite hard since I'm so unfit that whenever I finish I always feel like throwing up.
But I'll make it through.

Thank you <3

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you around the internet more lately: more blogging, personal videos, answerly - it's great! I'm not one of those people who gets all angry when people don't do weekly videos or whatever, I understand you have a life. Just letting you know it's great to see you more frequently.

Nicci Weasley said...

Awesome. That word says it all.

Julia Rose said...

Goodness!! I tried to reply but it got SOOOO long I think I'l post it on my blog as an actual entry! It's been so long since I've done that! Somehow, Hayley, you just give me the inspiration to write. Thanks for making me think about that. The list I created was a good exercise for me. Thank you. If anyone cares to see my list, please visit me at talesofteenagewasteland.blogspot.com

Sewn Branches said...

i'm supposed to be writing a paper on the matrix, blade runner and how the films reflect, reinforce and challenge identity construction, traditional stereotypes and how we categorize Others through visual cues.

... but i'm going to keep reading your blog instead!

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I am enjoy reading your blog, thank you very much! And I will keep reading!

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