To whom it may concern

Finding my balance

I went to bed at nine o’clock on Monday night.

IMG_20130312_174430
Pretty much my life right now.

I slept right through the night until my alarm went off at six forty the next morning.

I think my body might be telling me something.

Now folks – I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, yammering on and on about how tired I am ALL THE TIME, and how I feel like a recommended serving of peanut butter spread much too thin across the English Muffin of life.

BUT I AM.

On Sunday night my husband turned to me and asked, “How many nights this week do you have nothing planned? And by nothing, I mean, no comedy, no volunteering, no training, no writing, and no hangouts.”

I sat there, struck dumb like a statue, my mouth hanging slightly ajar, like a broken garage door.

“Ummmm….” I said.

“One? If one at all?” He questioned me, exasperated.

(Said exasperation stemming from his concern for the current state of both my mental and physical health.)

Now, technically the answer was none (as I am in fact taking part in things every day this week) but I managed to fudge the numbers just enough so that I could somewhat confidently state:

“One. I have one night this week where I don’t have anything planned.”

“Oh yeah?” He asked. “Which night is that?”

“Friday,” I answered.

“Friday doesn’t count! It’s basically the weekend!”

Alas, I could not argue with this logic.

You see, I have this weird duality to me – part of me NEEDS to be constantly busy, to the point where I have activities and obligations pouring out of my ears.

I mean, I absolutely love every project and organization that I am involved with.

Too much time on my hands really does make me go all squirrely.

But on the other hand, I get to points in my life where I feel so utterly burned out that I start to feel as though I am operating on auto-pilot – flying through my days at light speed.

And if I don’t find a place to make an emergency landing I’ll run out of gas.

So now I turn to you my darling readers.

Do any of you have any tips or tricks for instilling balance in your life? Or do you too careen about at full speed, too enamoured with your passions to be able to operate at a more leisurely pace?

Do let me know.

Any advice you have will be truly appreciated.

And in the interim, I’ll be over here, cooling my jets. Before I go out in about, two hours.

The show, after all, must go on.

28 thoughts on “Finding my balance

  1. I am still mastering this myself – have a full plate this week – need to back off or say no or something is going to give and it might not be too pretty when it does – ha! I am trying to do no more than 3 things that need my attention on a given week. I make sure to get some exercise or gym time in too – just makes me feel better. Hang in there – Have a Great Day:)

    1. Thanks Ms. R – glad to know I am in good company as I venture down this road. :) It can be so hard to say no, and I think you’re advice of no more than three things is really, really good. I am going to focus on that as well.

      Happy Thursday! x

  2. Oh goodness, woman! I’m so glad you have the wonderful man of yours to check in and remind you to rest. :) It really is hard when you have so many good, valuable, and fun things going on. All the comedy gigs are exciting, the friend time, the volunteering, it’s all great!

    I struggle with the same thing, over-filling my schedule is a constant battle, as is learning to say “no”. It’s been a long process but having a wee pup in my life has made for a great excuse to come home and rest on the evenings. But in lieu of said pup, last summer I listed and categorized my interests and things that keep me busy on the evenings and weekends and started picking priorities. It might sound pretty scientific and cold but it really did help. I allowed myself to help with one church thing, volunteer with one humanitarian-focused group, working out in some fashion, have a daily creative outlet (usually blogging), only take on one writing project at a time, etc. to really help me pare down what was most important to me. And it’s been working! Plus I actually have the time and energy to really devote my best to each of those areas. I don’t know if that helps at all.

    Hoping you get the chance to relax, rest, and be rejuvenated so you can keep on living like a champ. Sending soothing thoughts and stress-free vibes your way! Big hugs and thinking of you, Dearest!!

    1. Ahhh, Ms. Audrey – you never, ever fail to bring a smile to my little heart. And FAB advice too!

      I am taking everything you say to heart – especially the planning and prioritizing. (The regular photos of Cobalt help too – I may not get to play with him in the yard, but goodness knows I love to see those snaps!)

      I am definitely going to work on keeping to a schedule and making sure I have enough me time in there to counterbalance all my other loves – if not, I won’t ever have the energy to engage with them!

      Happy Thursday my friend! x

  3. Sounds like you waste a lot of time talking to your husband. After a few years of marriage, you’ll tire of each other and you can use that wasted time to address doing the things you enjoy. ;-)

  4. Finding balance is always a struggle when there are so many interesting things to check out. I am beginning to find it as I streamline friendships to only those that I truly enjoy. I make time for a small group of people I adore and I make time for the Fashion Mister and I to have time for just the two of us. In the early days of blogging I would spend hours and hours on the pc, however that often meant too much info in my brain and not enough sleep. So now, no touching the computer after 10:30. AND most importantly…Pajama Days! Even if they are only planned for once a month, I make sure I get them.
    Cheers,
    Laura
    xx

    1. Pajama days! YES. I must start to take part in these post haste.

      Your advice is spot on! Turning off, focusing on the things and the people who are most important…making sure I have time for myself. I like everything that you are saying! Now to focus on the implementation part…

      You’re a doll Laura! Thanks for the great note. x

  5. I like to think of life as like a good piece of chocolate. Savor it and make it last as long as possible, because otherwise it’s just going to be gone faster and the flavor doesn’t linger as well as when you just let it melt.
    Also- making priority lists sometimes helps me cut the least important things.

  6. I’ll tell ya, girl. Something I’ve learned over the years of my overly busy schedule is that life is what you make it. There are so many things demanding your attention, offering this and that, when you may or may not be in the place to accept it. I guess it boils down to discretion; how to decide that which is beneficial to your life and that which will run you dry. I know a lot of times it’s hard to figure it all out yourself. It’s absolutely awesome that you have a man by your side seeing you in so many different areas of your life. Praise God for such companionship!

    1. Ms. Rachel, you speak the truth – on many fronts! I am indeed lucky to have such a supportive caring partner (and I do hope that I provide the same for him!) Going forward, I am really going to work on saying no, and also choosing what is best to take on now, what can wait, and what I don’t need to take on. Discretion indeed!

      Many thanks for your lovely comment. Happy Thursday! x

  7. Well – look at penciling some time in for yourself like you do all your other activities. So if someone asks you if you’re free Tuesday night tell them you’re busy from 7-9. And make sure you plan to do nothing at all – enjoy the quiet. Once you get used to it, you’ll realise what a treasure it is!

  8. Oh Vanessa! Balance is definitely the hardest part of life! I too like to stay busy and if I find myself with idle time I get really anxious. But yes, I often get burnt out and saying “no” is so hard for me to say! I think when I’m about 80 I’ll finally sit down and take it easy!

    1. Can I sit down with you? I’ll make strawberry lemonade and lavender shortbread. :)

      It’s heartening to know that I am not the only one who feels like this – we should probably all go on vacation. Together. Right now. x

    1. Yes, running is totally my zen. Anytime I get a chance to strap on the the runners is a good thing. I just have to remember this, even when I am training for a long race.

      I also love cleaning! It helps me get into such a good head space. Like, literally clearing away clutter helps detangle my brain.

      And your last comment totally made my heart smile – this is why my mum always tells me to do! She just calls it yoga breathing. Love! x

  9. running izz. uv coarse, da bomb.
    and … yer prawbleghm is … methinx … too much intensity! the balance could be something like … but DON’T do as i did, but you should appreciate the BALANCE, even if it was tilted towards the lazy sighed:
    (apalloh geez in advance as i suspect yoove hurd thiss): many (7) years ago i had lapsed into the habit of falling asleep in front of the teevee practically every night, drooling in my beer.
    i then decided i needed a NEW “senior citizen” hobby. it was either shuffleboard or ice-hockey goalie. after taking up my new hobby, i lapsed into the habit of falling assleap in frunttuv the teevee SIX nights a week (with aforesaid drooled-in beer in hand). i’d awake, grin, realize that i had achieved a sort of balance: ONE NIGHT A WEEK OF SHEER TERROR, balanced (almost eeek!wallee) by the 6 slothful nights.
    balance. it could be the INTENSITY of your endeavors which makes it rough.

    1. How about shuffleboard goalie? Do people even play shuffleboard outside of Florida?

      Man, I could totally deal with some falling asleep in front of the tv. And hey, I think you are waaaaay to hard on yourself. You are one of the most active people I know! And I think that deserves a few naps, and a few beers. More than deserves!

  10. Finding balance is, truly, one of the most difficult things about life.

    There is no magic answer. But, when I am feeling particularly burned out, I ask myself “Am I working toward something or am I running away from something?” Often it’s the latter.

    Women have a tendency to “over” do. Sometimes you have to say, “No.” If you are exhausted, it’s okay to give yourself permission to scale things back a bit. No one will think less of you. You will, no doubt, be missed, but someone will pick up the slack.

    I have learned, as I’ve gotten older, to do less, but to do it well. I don’t think anyone could have convinced me that I should do this when I was in my 20s!

    I am confident that you’ll figure it out,you’re a smart cookie!

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