Balance…I talk about that concept frequently. I guess if I had a theme word (is that a thing?) it would have to be balance. I kind of feel like my whole journey, the essence of my life, is to find, and maintain, balance.
Funny that a quick Google search for 'balance' brought up this image of tree pose. This was the pose I posted on IG this morning for my PAD Challenge today. This is my favorite pose and it is at the heart of this entire blog. So fitting for today's post. See my photo here (Photo shown from tinybuddha.com)
Balance not just between all the must-do’s and the want-to-do’s and the should-do’s but balance in everything. Balance between the mental and physical, between motion and rest, between childlike optimism and adult like pessimism (realism).
For me, it is all about balance.
Some days it’s a struggle. Some days there are far more must-do’s and should-do’s and not enough time left for the want-to-do’s. Meaning, some days adulting gets in the way of all the fun stuff. I think that is true for most everyone with a job/mortgage/kids/car payments (you get my point) and my point is not to say that I am any different than you or that my struggle is any different- it is not. At the core we all have responsibilities and we are all making sacrifices. It’s just the way it is.
I write this post more to talk about what I do to find the balance. That sounds funny right? Having to work to create balance? That seems like something that should come naturally, and maybe for some it does, but for me I have to work at it.
At the base of my normal day-to-day life, and even more so now when I am also wedding planning, there is a good amount of routine that helps keep things going. This routine stems from years of working on good habits. My routine is based around meal planning, preparing meals at home during the week and packing my breakfasts and lunches, scheduling time for activity, scheduling time for homework, and then penciling in the other weekly necessities such as grocery shopping/chores, time with E, Gordie and now M and any special events happening that week. I try to map out as much of my week as possible. For example, if I know that one night I will be out at an event during the week (Bernie Sanders volunteer meeting, tap takeover at the bar, etc) what will be my plan for dinner? When will I workout that day? What time do I need to be home? What time do I need to wake up the next morning?
Sounds like a lot right? It kind of is. Well, at least I should say that a lot of thought goes into how I plan my day. Ultimately by taking time to think about these things I feel better prepared and less stressed – which keeps me feeling balanced and in control.
That being said, I don’t plan every moment of my life out. That would be too rigid and too stressful. I always have chunks of time, even full days on the weekends, where I am open for anything- including doing nothing. Now most of the time E and I choose to spend our free time either out at the beach or downtown on our bikes but there are times where we just stay in and watch movies or Netflix- just vegging out. Both are really great options- even if the latter takes some convincing on my end. Does anyone else ever feel guilty for spending the day doing nothing? That happens to me a lot lately (just because I have so much going on with the wedding) but I do remind myself that downtime is not only a good thing, it’s a necessity.
I think in life it is all about understanding the long-term as well as the short-term when it comes to balance.
Eating a whole small pizza sounds good in theory and there are definitely times when that is exactly what I want to do. But the reality is that is an ‘in the moment’ feeling. I know that the better option is a few slices of pizza and a salad because I will feel better physically later and I also know it is a choice that supports my long term goals. This choice leaves me feeling better in the now and in the future.
Hitting snooze ALWAYS sounds like a better option at 5am than getting up and working out (even though I love my morning workouts) because honestly what is better than a nice warm bed? Especially when it is super dark outside and no one is drill-sergeant style forcing me out of bed. But I know most every day, getting up and exercising will make me feel energized and ready to take on the day. There is nothing better to me than the feeling of accomplishing a goal before the sun even comes up. This choice leaves me feeling better in the now and in the future.
On the flip side, it is also important for me to know when to take rest days (the body needs to heal and recover) and when to take time for self-care. When the to-do list is out of control I still need to make time for a hot bubble bath or some time with a good book. Being ‘ON’ all the time does nothing for my mood, my stress levels, and for the most part- doesn’t help make anything better. Trust me, I am seeing this a lot now as I am getting grumpier every day and the littlest of things have been setting me off. This is my signal to RETREAT! This is the time I really need to focus more on letting go, unwinding, and turning off that damn monkey mind. That choice will leave me feeling better in the now and in the future.
Trust me- I’m working on this one. I know it is my biggest struggle right now so I am intentionally scheduling in self-care and relaxation each week now. I have a whole day planned for Sunday that involves a ton of relaxing activities to help me get back in balance.
Sorry this post was such a brain dump. As you can see, I have had a lot on my mind lately. Writing is cathartic (when I make time for it) and helps me better focus as well as better relax. Weird how that works, right?
Love and hugs,