In life, we can all get burnt out, especially when running a business. At Business Link, we talk to entrepreneurs every day and so many of the tell us they don’t have enough time in their day to take care of their business and other life responsibilities. The obstacles that get thrown at you in your personal or business lives can get overwhelming, but it’s important you remember you take care of yourself first. I believe it is important that we try to balance our life. My favorite line I like to use is, “Some days I eat salads and go to the gym, some days I eat cupcakes and refuse to put pants on. It’s called BALANCE!” How can we achieve balance in our lives? By using the Medicine Wheel.
The wheel has always been in direct relationship with the Creator. It looks like a circle, and within the circle are the four quadrants or areas. A lot of people know them as the four directions. The number four has many significant meanings for the Aboriginal people. Within the four directions, there are all the sacred teachings of four.
In the universe there are four directions–East, South, West and North. There are four winds; four seasons—Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter; four types of creatures that breathe—those that fly, birds, those that are four-legged (the buffalo), those that are two-legged (humans) and those that crawl (insects). Also, there are four elements on earth—wind, fire, water, and air. The directions used in the wheel are always read clockwise because that is the way the sun moves, rises, and sets. I, however, will suggest a way to use the medicine wheel in a way to help balance your life and your business. Here is a picture of the medicine wheel that focuses on your health: your spiritual health, physical health, mental health and emotional health.
4 Quadrants of the Medicine Wheel
- Spiritual Health: I understand that the readers of this blog post will have different spiritual opinions, and some may not consider themselves to be spiritual at all. That is okay. In this case, spirituality means the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. This can include praying, meditation, ceremony, smudging etc.
- Physical Health: This can include exercise, taking care of personal hygiene, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and so on. You can indulge yourself, but do not overdo it as it can affect your emotional and mental health as well, not just your physical. When one is of the medicine wheel is off balance, the rest of our body/life is not balanced so we start to feel off. That’s why it’s important we don’t overdo anything while not depriving our body of nourishment. Plus: treating our bodies can be good for our other aspects of health, too.
- Emotional Health: This includes laughing with friends and family (laughter is healing medicine), having a support person you trust to vent to (friend, family, therapist etc.), crying when you need to avoid emotional outbursts, asking for help/support, writing a diary of everything, letting a friend or family know you are thinking of them. A good quote to remember is “Don’t let your emotions distract you from your goals and what needs to be done, control your emotions or they will control you.” Remember you can’t control anyone else’s actions or opinions.
- Mental Health: This includes getting fresh air, talking to counsellor, talking to friends and family, and writing in a journal. I like to suggest writing 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things I’m worried about, and 3 things I can control. This method helps us re–ground our self to remember to worry about things we can only control and to remember what things we can be grateful for in our lives.
When running a business, we can easily lose focus on any one of the four quadrants here, then we start to get stressed, create burnouts, etc. To avoid this and to achieve balance, it is essential to address the needs of each of the four states of being physical, emotional, mental, and spirituality. Neglecting one aspect of our self can throw us off balance and help us lose focus on our goals, business, family, your health etc.