Five tips for finding balance
Since last I wrote, I went on vacation with my family, then came back and started my new job at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. It's a pretty big change for me and a fun challenge as I get acclimated and into the swing of things. The picture here really is a note I wrote to myself at work, so you can see I've got a lot on my plate!
I'm glad I made all the changes in the summer when home and family doings are a bit more laid back. Once the school year starts, there will be lunches to pack and lots of driving kids around to clubs and practices and rehearsals and more. As always, I'm striving for that perfect work-life balance. I need to replace the incidental exercise I lost when my commute changed from public transportation to automobile. I want to resume my regular contributions here and on Facebook in a revised but relevant and helpful way. I look forward to getting around to cooking more and sharing the recipes -- I've been eating a lot of raw veggies from the garden and while it's healthy, it's not too blog-worthy. I also need to put some parameters around my consumption of gluten-free convenience and snack foods. My workplace has an entirely gluten-free kitchen (not too many places can claim that!), and the prevalence of empty refined carbs in my life has risen dramatically. Temptations abound.
The nice thing is that I'm generally able to acknowledge that the current unbalance is temporary. And I'm happy to share some of my strategies for feeling okay even when there is more to do that hours in the day.
1) Take a few minutes to plan. Some mornings I wake up with all kinds of stuff swimming in my head and I spin in circles. On those days, I'll write down even the smallest thing and it helps me get focused and moving. My list may include the smallest thing, but if I write it down, it's captured and I can move through the items more linearly rather than stopping and starting tasks simultaneously.
2) Listen to uplifting or entertaining recordings when you are held captive somewhere. For me, my captive times are when I need to spend time in the kitchen making meals for the day and when I'm in the car on the way to and from work. I listen to Ted Talks on topics I choose, podcasts, and audiobooks. I find that this puts me in a pretty good mood and activates curiosity in me and gets me ready for the day better than listening to music or the news.
3) Exercise. 20 minutes to run, bike or even take a lunch hour walk helps by getting me outside and breathing deeper. There are loads of studies and research that indicates that both these things are very good.
4) Take some time to dream big and imagine cool future scenarios. This is good for when I first wake up, but it also works at work. It's easy to get so caught in the day-to-day that we don't take time to picture where we want to go and we just get swept along with where things are already going. The mental game starts with, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" It doesn't matter if you don't pursue every idea. You will likely hatch some idea you do want to pursue.
5) Write. It doesn't need to be readable by anyone else. Get a notebook. Jot random stuff down. Make yourself write for an entire page anything that comes into your head. Write letters to your future self. Imagine yourself 5 years in the future living out your dream and write a letter full of advice to your current self. Just write and give yourself some freedom to get some ideas out of your head. I know it doesn't sound like it'll do much for you, but give it a try. What can it hurt, right?
I plan on using all of these tactics more in the next month. None of them take long or cost anything. There is no risk. Why not go for it?