February 10, 2014

Finding a New Balance

Finding Balance | Grown-up Shoes

(Gorgeous photo from *Nishe on Flickr; she has so many other pretty ones to check out)

Oh, hello again!

The past few weeks have been a little nutty with the new job (which I’m loving!), a rough cold and wrapping up some freelance work in my free time. It’s sort of wild how quickly the days go by now.

I wake up most days at 6:30 to answer Grown-up Shoes emails, stretch a little and do small freelance things like send files or email with the web developer of a project. It’s really hard to get up that early, but once I’m up, I feel great and answering emails makes me feel productive, especially because they’re usually fun and nice to read. I love having my tea, making breakfast and listening to NPR before work so I try and give myself a full hour to do that and get dressed  (7:30-8:30).

Then I go to work and typically get home no later than 7 or 7:30, when I start dinner and just hang out with Adam or go to my parent’s house to see them or meet up with a friend for a drink. I really try hard to keep the evenings as personal time to relax and unwind. No computer, no email checking.

It can feel very regimented, especially coming from the more loosely scheduled freelance world I was in before. It’s my goal to use some of my free time wisely and effectively, and to let some of it just be time to rest, relax and play so there’s a good balance. I’ve come up with a few tricks to do just that and I’d love to hear yours too.

Exercising in the morning. It’s my goal to work out three times each week because it really makes me feel so much better during the day. Yoga, walking, short jogs. I’d like to try and mix it up and keep things fun—that’s always been the key to consistency and sustainability for my workout routines. It can’t be boring or too intense, otherwise it’s doomed! Likewise, I just don’t exercise after work. As soon as I’m home all I want is a glass of wine in my hand—no chance of changing into workout gear!  I’ve come to accept that about myself and just work around it:)

Round Two Recipes for Dinner. I almost always have lofty dinner plans for us. And then I end up not cooking them because it’s too much work and I’m exhausted after work. My goal moving forward is to make yummy, healthy meals where one of the main ingredients can be used in a different way later in the week. This week we made our favorite slow cooker chicken tacos, and just reused the chicken in a really delightful green chili tortilla soup later in the week. When I started the soup, our chicken was already cooked and seasoned, so all I had to do was prep and sautee veggies and simmer them in broth before adding it. I want to find more recipes like that! Roasted veggies, ground turkey—anything healthy and versatile that can be changed into salads, soups, quesadillas or protein bowls is fair game.

Planning outfits the night before. It can take me forever to get dressed for work in the morning. It’s tough to try and look professional, fun and cute five days a week! I’m trying to think out my looks the night before to save time and stress in the morning.

Meditating, stretching and deep breathing. When I’m stressed, I often overlook simple relaxation techniques in favor of other, less relaxing things. TV! Instagram! Online shopping! But the truth is the things that make me feel the most relaxed are the ones that don’t involve any distractions. Simple stretches, diaphragmatic breathing, meditation practice. I’d love to try and do one of these things everyday to keep my head clear and my body more relaxed.

Getting out there. Some of my girlfriends just started up a book club and I’m so excited to be a part of it. I love being part of a club or group, especially when there are some new people in the mix who I don’t know well yet. It’s energizing and fun to make new acquaintances—not to mention reading some good books!

Leaving time for play. In the middle of all of this planning and scheduling, I’m also leaving time for hanging out. Unscheduled, unplanned fun. Sleeping in, making waffles, spacing out, taking a long bath. I love time for dreaming, thinking and laying around and I don’t want to overlook that in my desire to have everything so regimented.

I’d love to know—what do you do to keep your busy life in order? How do you really relax after a long day? Thanks for reading and sharing!

7 Comments

  • Camille  / 

    As always, I love your personal posts. This one made me feel so incredibly normal! I always feel more balanced when I am in the midst of a really good novel. But I can’t read in the evenings anymore . . . because I, too, need that glass of wine and a handful of truffles to transition to my non-work life. So now I get up a little earlier to read one chapter of my novel each morning while I enjoy my cup of coffee. It’s made all the difference in creating balance in my life. Thanks for sharing! :)

    (Reply)

    Ana Perkins / February 18th, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Love that. All about finding what works for you. It feels good to know that it’s an ongoing discovery for most people:-)

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  • Patti  / 

    meditating, stretching and breathing: a must do <3 oh, and making waffles : ) – Patti

    (Reply)

  • Nomadic D.  / 

    Love this. Finding balance is really what it’s all about. I mean, Life, in general, capital L. It’s so difficult to do, and just as hard to maintain I find, because even if you find balance for a specific point in your life, circumstances change, we change, so we have to be able to adapt and constantly find the new balance. I’ve recently started meditating as well and though half the time I fall asleep (!) I think it’s going to be another great tool in my balance kit. Can I ask how you do it? Do you follow a guided meditation recording or just sit quietly on your own?

    http://www.nomadicd.com

    (Reply)

    Ana Perkins / February 18th, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I do have a few guided meditations which are great—a couple are by Dr. Anne Webster. I find those really useful when I haven’t practiced in a while to get back into the swing of things. Then, once my practice is back, I just sit quietly for about 20 minutes:-)

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  • Candice  / 

    thanks for sharing your personal practices! I loved reading about them and agree that morning time is so sacred.

    (Reply)

  • Kelly Colchin  / 

    The round two dinner idea is genius. Gonna get on that!

    (Reply)

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