Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How I Balance It All

pancakeSTACKER Blog x kara nixon photography

Some people ask how I balance it all - work, love, family, friends, my blog, the gym... the list goes on. Truth it, it's hard. There's no universe in which I am able to do everything. Well, not everything all at once. I've taken endless breaks on this blog - just search "I'm back" in the search bar, and I'm sure at least ten posts will pop up (hahaha). I've taken a break from the gym (and had the pounds to prove it, lol). I've gone weeks without seeing my friends (and have some angry "WTF" texts to show for it). I've even gone too long without giving my parents a call (and have the "Hello, where are you??" voicemails saved to remind me of it). Balancing everything is hard (and I'm not even raising a family - it's just me!). There's no secret. But, in between it all, I've found some ways to make things work. Note, I don't claim to be an expert and some days my sanity hangs on by a tiny little thread. But, I figure we're all going through it in various degrees, so we might as well talk about it together.

pancakeSTACKER Blog x Kara Nixon Photography pancakeSTACKER Blog x kara nixon photography pancakeSTACKER Blog x Kara Nixon Photography pancakeSTACKER Blog x Kara Nixon Photography pancakeSTACKER Blog x Kara Nixon Photography pancakeSTACKER Blog x kara nixon photography

Hobo Crossbody c/o (here, in a different color), Everlane Muscle Tee c/o, Suede Varsity Jacket via Lulus.com, Sunnies, Steve Madden Slip-Ons

Photos by: Kara Nixon

Write it all down. 
I am OCD and anal and Type-A and whatever else you want to call it. I told you how I get myself to the gym on a regular basis, so this one should come as no surprise. If I don't plan my day/week/life, then I can't get things done. This is a fact. I actually tried to be spontaneous and free-flowing last year by not owning a planner. Please note that I've purchased the same Moleskine planner since the beginning of college (TEN YEARS AGO, OMG), so this was a really big move in the spirit of "going with the flow." It did not work. Did you see how few posts I wrote last year? Seriously - go look. Turns out, I do, in fact, need to schedule things because that's my Myers-Briggs type, anyways, so why try and change who I am? It helps me, personally, to plan things out, so I know where my time is going. It helps me to look at my week and see what I'm allocating my time to, so I can make an assessment as to whether or not I'm being balanced. I'm crazy, so I also color code, so I can see things from a visual, at-a-glance perspective. It helps me and maybe it can help you, too!

Say "no." 
I talked a little about this in my first post of the year. Saying "no" is hard. I don't like to hurt feelings and I suffer from a minor case of FOMO, so I like to do all the things. But, doing all the things is hard. Time is valuable - once it's spent, you can't get it back. So, if I'm not really into something (ahem, if it's not bringing me full on, smile-heavy joy), or the only reason I'm saying "yes" is because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings, then I'm saying "no." A little harsh, maybe, but being a "yes" woman is hard, and sometimes you just have to do you.

Take a break.
I said it up at there at the beginning of my post, but I'll say it again here because I think it's worth reiterating. Taking a break is so necessary for your sanity, whether it's a break from work via a vacation, or a break from activities until you can get your bearings back. If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's a sign that you're off balance in one aspect of your life, so a break is key to getting back on track. The best way to avoid burnout is to take breaks often and before things get too crazy. I like to plan weekend getaways or staycations just to keep myself sane. Vacations away are obviously nice, but I am sensitive to the fact that not everyone can just take a break from work and clock out for some PTO. If you happen to be one of those people, schedule a weekend for yourself, where you can stay home and enjoy the things you love by yourself. Just some good ole solo time is amazing for revitalizing the soul. I tell people I'm busy and just do all the things I love during my me-time (cleaning my apartment, taking a nap, practicing some yoga, etc.), which may sound super boring, but it's amazing how good I feel after I GSD. I am lucky in that I am able to travel, so I try to take advantage of that by planning a break away at least once a quarter. Even if it's a short weekend trip to somewhere nearby (Palm Springs is literally my favorite relaxation destination), it gives me something to look forward to, which helps with my mental well-being. Finally, I don't do too much of this, but I think it's necessary to take a "mental" sick day every now. Just like your body needs time to heal, your mind does, too. So, I'm throwing this one out there, because I think there's too much taboo in taking a day just to keep things straight. Do it (within reason) and don't feel guilty. You're your best self when both your body and mind are well.

Ask for help. 
I don't do this one too often, and maybe if I did more of it, I'd feel less neurotic from time to time, ha. In fact, my boyfriend is always reminding me that it's okay to lean on him sometimes. Maybe it's the only child in me, but I like doing things on my own. The problem with that is that it's not sustainable. You can't do it all at once, and that is a fact. You can do anything you set your mind to, but with everything else in life, it's nice if you have someone there to help from time to time, too. And of course, asking for help if you don't know sometimes just saves you time because maybe whomever you are asking knows the answer or knows how to do it easily, or whatever. Point is - a helping hand saves you time and sanity. Just don't forget to pay it forward later!

In the end, we all prioritize and balance things out in our own ways. The most important thing is to remember that we're all only human. So, think about why you are doing what you're doing and if you're really enjoying it all. There's no point in balancing it all out, if you're having fun, right? 
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