It’s the penultimate week of our latest online course and this week our resident guest blogger Sophia discusses her own real-life experiences of the Intentional Health Online Course. As we discuss a balanced life, Sophia discusses how she feels her life is pretty well balanced but still found lots to learn whilst on our course. We’ll now hand it over to Sophia to explain week 9 in her own words.
Getting Intentional: Week 9
Before delving into our theme of ‘A Balanced Life’, we kicked off as we always do by going into breakout rooms to debrief on the previous week’s session. Now, a word on breakout rooms, because I’m not sure I’ve explained them yet! Each week the leaders assign us a breakout room and it’s a bit like Blind Date because you never know who you are going to get until you are in the ‘room’ (I was going to use the term ‘Russian Roulette’ but that wouldn’t be fair because everyone in our group has been lovely to pair up with!). It’s a good chance to get to know the other people on the course, especially those who are quieter in group discussions that you might not hear from otherwise. The allotted five minutes of breakout room time always seems to go too fast, so that must be a good sign!
So, the session itself. To explore a balanced life we watched a video; completed a questionnaire to rate ourselves on various aspects of our life; and did an activity where we looked at how full the various buckets in our lives are, to see if we need to make changes. If I’m honest, I found the questionnaire helpful, and the time afterward to reflect on it, but I didn’t do the bucket activity (mainly because I feel pretty well balanced at the moment, so couldn’t see the need, plus it overlapped with our break time and I prioritised making a cup of tea instead!).
These activities helped to demonstrate that in order to have a healthy balanced life, you need to build in margins (for example, if your work bucket is too full, it can easily spill out into other areas of your life — like family or rest time — so you need to be intentional in factoring in those margins. Otherwise, when new things crop up, you can soon end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed). This makes sense to me; I’m grateful that in my current life stage where both of my children are now in school, yet I’m only working part-time, that I feel like I naturally have those margins and so can fit in rest and play more easily!
We had some interesting discussions around the topic, especially looking at the barriers that stop us from investing in ourselves more (others’ needs; our priorities; guilt and not wanting to feel selfish; cultural and employer expectations). But we recognised that if we are to love others as we love ourselves, then we need to love ourselves! Playing might sound frivolous, but doing something you love, can help you be the best version of yourself. And as an aside, it is worth pointing out that both play and rest will look different for different people, and that is right and good!
This took up quite a lot of the session, so we ended up only having a whistle-stop tour of sleep (which was a little disappointing as I was looking forward to that!), and then we spent a short time looking at alcohol intake. I was less interested in that section, but there are different people within the group with different needs, so it might have been particularly helpful to someone else. I did like the poll we did to work out how many units were in different drinks (and I was thankful that they were anonymous so you didn’t get shamed if you got an answer wrong!).
The irony that the session on a well-balanced life did not have an especially well-balanced pace was not lost on our leaders, but they said they’d much rather do it the way they did — prioritising our comments and discussions and then only whizzing through the bits that we could read through later in our manual — as we ‘make the course’ (their words, not mine)!
We are loving these write up’s by Sophia and her honesty. She really helps us to learn how we can develop the course better and help even more people on their journeys to a happier healthier life.
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If you’d like to learn more about living a more balanced life and take part in the same course as Sophia you can join our next course online here.