I want to bring everyone back to the playgrounds of years ago and focus your mind’s eye on the good old teeter totter! I remember with glee the sense of the up movement and then the jarring impact when going down it would hit the ground. Like much in life and relationships, laws of physics can guide us and teach us positive lessons. The strongest, steadiest state of a teeter totter is when it is finely balanced with the fulcrum keeping one steady in the middle.

This image helps me personally when I feel the pull of too much work and too much on my task list, creating an imbalance between work and play. That refrain plays over and over and over in my office with both adults and teens describing their daily lives. Far too regularly choices seem to favor “getting things done” and being over scheduled, rather than taking time to relax, play, exercise, sleep, be with friends and family. That tendency to tackle tasks, rather than elevating “down time” or “Self Care” to the same position, drains us physically and emotionally.

As adults we must teach our children and teens how to work to achieve balance and to not deny the importance and critical “refuel” that steady fulcrum gives us. It is not healthy to work, work, work and not play. Many teens today feel pressured to achieve and create “resumes” that will gain them college entry. It is my fervent belief, and the research shows us, that healthier teens who practice self care and embrace balance in daily living succeed academically, that they have stronger relationships, self report less anxiety and depression.

Balance is key. Play hard, work hard. Keep the teeter totter balanced at the fulcrum!