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Mental health moment: Finding balance

In this weekly series, Lois Didyk, MGH social worker shares her “mental health moments” to help keep us moving forward

In times of stress, we look to find balance. We know that balance is important because it helps us regain some control and achieve well-being, so we can adapt to what’s going on around us.

In other words, balance helps keep us well.

These days we’re hearing a lot about the importance of maintaining balance. Our time, our routines, our food, our online activities, our exercise. Yet this is easier said than done when the activities we normally rely on may no longer be available to us.

Start with your daily life

Take a moment to think of your daily to-do list. Now write down today’s to-do list: all the things you need or want to accomplish before the day is done.

Go ahead, list them.

Now ask yourself: Of these activities, which ones feed me, make me feel energized and hopeful? (Maybe your morning meditation, helping others, working on a craft project, play time, going to bed early…)

Next, ask yourself: Which of these activities drain me, leave me tired and depleted? (Maybe working extra hours, too much time following the news, too many chores, not enough friend time, under-stimulating the brain…)

Do you have the right balance? 

Use this moment to take stock. Is this the balance you need today? In other words: Do you have movement to balance sedentary time? Do you have creativity to balance boredom? Do you have rest to balance fatigue? Do you have distraction to balance worry?

Balance will look different for each of us, and it will look different every day. But we usually know when we’ve got it. And we usually know when we need to make adjustments.

While we can’t control everything around us, we do have influence over how we balance our daily to-do list. By striving for balance, we are building our well-being and our capacities. This makes stressful times more manageable.

Start today

So what do you need TODAY to get realigned? Start with just one thing. Then commit to doing—or letting go of—that one thing on your to-do list.

It doesn’t take much to tip the balance one way or the other. Let’s take a moment to tip it in the right direction!


Lois Didyk,MSW, RSW, is a social worker with Michael Garron Hospital Mental Health Services. She has worked for the past 30 years with Community Outreach Services and more recently, with the Mental Health SCOPE Program.