I have found that most of my twenties and early thirties my balance was off. Balance to me means not taking anything to the extreme. For a long time, I either worked too much, worked out too much (I was always training for some race), maintained a strict diet,for a very short period drank a little too much (more in my twenties) and was an extreme friend or partner (always going above and beyond). I tried so hard in each of these that it was impossible to get it all right. And I usually ended up resentful and exhausted. I kept hitting walls. And I couldn’t figure it out. I kept saying I want more work/life balance but I didn’t know how to actually do it. I thought it meant working less. But I kept feeling drained in most areas of my life.
I now have come to realize it is about working smarter and making sure the things that give you energy outweigh the things that deplete energy. So basically make sure your tank is full enough to keep you going. And when it feels depleted…make sure you know what will refuel you. For me, it is about making sure I find time for the things that give me energy. Then everything else suddenly becomes more manageable (and I am more pleasant).
Sometimes that could be work, most of the time is playing- time with friends, family, journaling, yoga, working out, etc. But now, I don’t do races nor am I the best in the room at everything. Instead I am more relaxed and have figured out how to make it about the experience. Enjoying the moment of it and the escape. I’m still competitive at times, but I’m also laughing. And I am no longer the fastest, fittest, or most intelligent. Some of that is age that has humbled me…some is realizing it is too exhausting to be perfect. I hope that I carry this on when I become a mother and wife.
Maintaining balance is harder than you think. It is easy to tip the scales too much in one direction. Very easy. So keeping this in mind is key. Or at least recognizing the signs when it is happening (as it is impossible to be mindful 100% of the time).
So if you are dieting, have dessert every once in a while. It is all about moderation. We all know this, but we all get burned out and stressed out. And that leads to anxiety and breakdowns in relationships with your self and others. So remember….know what brings you energy and make sure you have enough of it in your life. It can be as simple as accomplishing chores, reading a book, an evening walk, etc. Do some self discovery. It took me awhile to find me energy refuelers! What are yours?
Great read and so much truth here, Caroline. Thank you for your willingness to show up for yourself and to share your journey. I’m so glad our paths crossed on LD weekend! I follow Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of “Raising Happiness” and “The Sweet Spot,” who writes a lot about finding flow in your life. Your post made me think of an article she wrote for Huff Post that I share with my coaching clients who struggle with mistaking productivity as self-worth. You may find it interesting: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-carter-phd/you-will-never-find-workl_b_9426136.html.
Take good care of You! xo
Thank you so much for reading my blog and for the tips! Really appreciate it and loved meeting you. Hope to see you again soon! xo