This week, Imagine Hope Counseling Group is discussing the importance of balance in all areas of life and different ways to achieve balance. So far, we have covered the importance of balance in your physical environment, fun & recreation, personal growth & spirituality, significant other/romance, friends & family, and health & fitness. Today we will go over the last two areas: Money and career/school. Money: Having balance in the area of money doesn't necessarily imply that you need an exuberant amount, but rather the importance of having good spending habits, being able to take care of yourself financially, and living within your means (or cutting back when necessary). Many times, individuals are so consumed with making more and more money, they fail to see the negative impact this has on other areas of their life. More money doesn't solve an internal problem or fill a void that is caused by a lack of other things like friendship, genuine intimacy, or love, and it doesn't help with self-esteem and self-worth in the long run. Additionally, sometimes people who think their life is balanced just because they don't worry about money might be surprised to realize that they are actually out of balance in this area. Do you continue needing to earn more and more, just because you keep increasing the amount you spend and now become dependent on that amount in order to survive (even though you compromise other areas of life in order to attain it)? Do you spend more time at work and focused on earning money than you do with nurturing your relationships? This might suggest a lack of balance with money (or other areas as well).
Career Path and/or School: is one area of life that tends to consume a lot of our time. Many times, our job becomes such a big part of our identity that we fail to be fully present in the other important roles in our life. When we think about it, what's the first thing we usually ask someone upon first meeting them? "Oh... so what is it that you do?" It's important to recognize what other "hats" you wear in life, not only your career "hat". At a speaking engagement several months ago, my colleague was discussing the implications that job loss has on a person's self-image and the different ways to cope with job loss. One recommendation she shared was to work towards seeing yourself with an identity that isn't about "what you do". She presented the idea of introducing yourself using a life role other than career (e.g., instead of saying "I'm a therapist", saying "I'm an overly adoring and doting aunt to my baby niece"). At the same time, it's important to find a career (or school) path that feels personally fulfilling, since so much of our time each day is spent at our jobs (or at school). Do you recognize the different "hats" you wear in your life? If so, do you find balance in your identity with those "hats" and give them as much credit as your career? Do you find fulfillment in your career/school path, or do you find yourself miserable in your job/classes, but you do it because of the money you make or because your parents are telling you that's what you should do? These things could suggest an imbalance with career path or school.
We hope this week's blog helped you recognize any areas of your life that might be out of balance. We hope to see you again next week!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.