Balance is a precarious thing. Living a life in balance is a challenge for most of us in the 21st century, with the demands of careers, family, a fast-changing world, information overload. Add chronic illness into that mix and living a life in balance becomes both more crucial and more challenging.

The elements are the same, whether you are ill or well. All of us need:

  • sufficient sleep
  • exercise
  • plenty of water
  • enough, but not too much, nutritious food
  • ove, laughter and companionship
  • relaxation and rejuvenation
  • challenging work
  • spiritual fulfillment
  • to be heard, known and understood
  • to know that we are making a difference.
  • With these elements present, and balanced, in our lives, human beings can live healthy and fulfilled lives, on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. When these elements are lacking, or out of balance, we see problems arise. For someone without chronic illness, those problems may not show up right away. They may take years to manifest. For those of us with chronic illness, lack of balance triggers us into attacks, flare-ups, and deterioration of our conditions.

    I have to confess I have struggled quite a bit with that balance lately. Like most of us, hard economic times have had their impact on my business, and I have tried to compensate by working harder and longer. To the extent to which this means I am more focused and get more done with my working time, it’s not a problem. The issue that I see is one that most of my clients experience as well, that of being unable to stop. I know I can’t work through lunch or on beyond 5:30 without real immediate consequences to my health. Trying to sustain that level of focus without rest breaks is one of my biggest Migraine triggers. Knowing that if I keep pushing now I may lose the whole day tomorrow is usually enough to stop me, but not always. Do you find it hard to maintain balance right now?

    I picture us standing on the center of a see-saw. In calm weather, we can learn, through time, to balance pretty well on the center of that see-saw, training our muscles to adjust to little fluctuations and shifts of weight, to keep us in balance most of the time. If a big wind comes up, the muscles we have trained and the balance-ability we have developed just aren’t sufficient to the job any more. I think in the current economy we are standing on the center of a see-saw in a big gusty wind. We need to strenghten those balance muscles now more than ever! We need them more than ever!

    Many of us are facing realities in which we must do more work to survive, or go back to work, or do different, more difficult work. I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer here, but remember you must relax, and breathe, and have balance. Don’t forget you can join us on Monday evenings for relaxation teleclasses. It won’t help if you work so hard it makes you too sick to work.

    - Megan

    Author's Bio: 

    Megan Oltman is a migraineur, an entrepreneur, and a Migraine Management Coach, helping migraineurs and people with chronic illness manage their lives, keep working, start and maintain businesses, and live purposeful lives. She also practices as a professional divorce mediator. Over the years, she's been a practicing attorney, a free-lance writer, and a business coach and advisor. Megan has a free Migraine management course, The Six Keys to Manage your Migraines and Take Back your Life, available at Her writings on Migraine and more tools for managing life with Migraine can be found at