I don't actually remember a time in my life that I could say I felt truly "balanced". I have always felt more like a juggler or a plate spinner.
Giving just enough of my time, energy or attention to keep the ball in the air, or the plate spinning.
A lot of women are waiting for that glorious day sometime in the future when they will magically have more time, more freedom, more availability, more money, and then they will be able to take care of themselves.
But just when you think that one plate will be removed from the act, another one appears. That is just life. There will always be something. There will always be competition for your time and energy.
So we have to decide that we are going to learn how to care for ourselves anyway. We have to decide that we are important enough to get that time, important enough to be made a priority in our own lives.
You cannot make time.....
You have to take time from something else.
And, ladies...hear me when I say this.... it is okay for you to take time for yourself, for you, for something that benefits you! It is not selfish.
Ok, so I promised to share some things I do to keep my plates spinning. They aren't very sexy, but here they are:
1. Make a list of your priorities, then make a list of the things you spend your time on. Review your past week and write out what you did all day, each day. Then you can tally up the amount of time you spend on different activities and compare that to your list of priorities. Do they align? Do you dedicate time for the things that you think are important to you? What things are you giving time to that are not a priority? Give yourself permission to let go of things that are sucking up your energy and time and not serving you or moving you forward toward your life goals.
2. Prioritize sleep- this means sleep hygiene. No screens 1 hr before bed, I do some deep breathing or HRV meditation, or listen to a guided manta meditation while laying in bed. I also take a powdered magnesium supplement before bed which helps with relaxation. I guard sleep time for myself just as much as I do for my children.
3. Learn to say "No"- It is not your job or your responsibility to make everyone else happy- read that twice, please. It is sometimes helpful for me to think that every time I say "no" to one thing, I am saying "yes" to something else. When I say "no" to picking up an extra shift at the hospital, I am actually saying "yes" to spending time with my children and husband. It doesn't make you a bad person to have boundaries. Don't set yourself up for failure by over committing and over scheduling. Cut yourself some slack- you can't do it all- you weren't meant to.
4. Make wise choices for nutrition- Your brain and body function from the nutrients you put in your mouth or on your body. You put high-grade gas in a high end sports car, right? Do you want your body to run like that, or like my 2005 Toyota Corolla on the cheap gas? The basics are simple: eat more veggies, drink more water, eat less processed food and less sugar. Whatever small steps you can take matter.
It is not all or nothing!!
- Aim to have 2 cups of veggies with every meal. Yes, that means breakfast too. Organic is great, but if that is not an option, then conventional veggies are better than no veggies. Fresh or frozen is best.
- Drink water- keep a refillable cup or bottle with you to sip throughout the day- don't wait until you feel thirsty. Try water with or without ice, with lemon, orange, cucumber or lime in it. Some people drink more water when they drink it with a straw- find what works and do it.
- Aim for good, lean protein, preferably organic and pastured or grass fed. You should be aiming for around 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight (~0.36 grams protein per lb of body weight). That's about 60 gm of protein for a 175lb woman.
5. Movement- This does not have to be hard or take an hour or more at the gym. Just do something. Getting this activity will help balance your hormones, reduce stress, and increase your energy. (caveat for those with autoimmune disease- you may not be able to tolerate intense activity, stick with gentle movement like walking, stretching or gentle yoga)
- Tabata workout- 4 mins plus a couple for warmup before and stretching afterwards- just look on google or pinterest for a plethora of tabata workouts (no equipment required) and you can download a number of free apps that will do the timing for you.
- If you have any issues with urinary incontinence or diastasis recti or low back pain since having children, I highly recommend Momma Strong for recovery and workout plans- 20 mins a day in your home or even many 5 min workouts- it's only $5 a month and well worth it.
- Yoga videos on YouTube. I love Yoga with Adrienne, and there are many, many more that you can subscribe to.
6. It's okay to put down some of the plates, or even to let one fall- you are human. You are only one person, and despite what messages you may get from society and popular media, you cannot do it all, all the time. There is a season for everything, and rather than try to balance 10-thousand things at once and lose your mind, focus on the things that matter most right now. There will be a new season in your life and that may mean a shift in the plates that you keep spinning. Don't beat yourself up over the things that you didn't get done- instead give yourself a pat on the back for all that you DID accomplish. Make a "done" list instead of a "to-do" list.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Remember, it's not about being perfect, every step you take, every choice you make, every bite you take matters, and if you make a poor choice, you can always make a different once the next time.
If you think you would like a more personalized plan and an in depth assessment of your health, I'd love to work with you one on one. You can schedule yourself online or call the office at 804-505-3010.