It's easy to get lost in the rush of everyday obligations and to-do lists. But finding balance amidst the craziness is necessary for our sanity. Thank you to Lindt chocolate for helping me to share this post with you.
The last five weeks have been a whirlwind of happy activity surrounding the #HealthyNewYear challenge that I’ve been hosting with Liz. If you’re just jumping on board, be sure to join our challenge Facebook group. And since this is our last week of the challenge, we have an amazing giveaway for you (scroll down for more details).
After focusing on five different challenges…hydration, exercise, portion control, adding whole grains and boosting protein…we wanted to take a step back and put the spotlight on something that tends to get lost when we’re adding in exercise and changing our eating habits.
This week’s challenge is all about Finding Balance.
With two boys, a husband, a full-time job and various other responsibilities, finding balance is something I struggle with on a daily basis. While there are so many joys and rewards that come with family activities and work, sometimes I just need some “me” time.
Balance means different things for different people, but for me it’s about having time to do something for myself and lowering my personal expectations occasionally. We can be our own worst critics and each day I strive to give myself a break here and there.
Here are some of the ways I try to achieve balance in my life:
Exercise in the morning
Even though it can be a chore to get out of bed at 5am, finishing a run by 6:30am allows me to do something for myself before the demands of the day start piling on. On my runs, I get to catch up with my friend, work up a good sweat and breathe some fresh air…all before the birds start chirping.
I’ve learned the hard way that if I mandate a “No chips, no chocolate, no treats of any kind” policy, I’ll have a personal rebellion on my hands. There has to be a little food fun once in awhile, right?
But there’s a trick. I need the good stuff…the best salt and vinegar chips I can find and the best, high-quality chocolate. Have you ever had Lindt EXCELLENCE with a Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate or the LINDOR truffles (when that smooth center starts to melt, so will you...I promise!)? Holy heck…if you haven’t tasted them, get yourself to the store right away. One square of really good chocolate or one truffle in the evening is often all I need to feel satisfied, as long as I eat it slowly and really savor the rich, creamy flavor. Dang, now I’m craving chocolate.
Early to bed
Putting on my pjs and climbing into bed with a good book right after my boys go to bed is something I’ve been doing more and more. And let me tell you – it’s heavenly! Escaping into a story, rather than working at the computer, allows my brain to relax, which leads to a better night’s sleep and an escape from the reality of my to-do list.
Enjoy the small moments
The older my boys get, the more poignantly aware I am of the moments that my husband and I have with them, as well with our other family members and friends. I find myself trying to capture snapshots in my memory - sights, smells, sounds - to be stored away for years to come. It's so easy to get lost in the rush of the passing days and to forget to slow down and really enjoy the moments that we have together.
This is one of those “easier said than done” scenarios. My mind thinks that I should be able to be the most understanding, the best wife, the most prolific blogger and the most efficient housekeeper everyday. Yeah, not going to happen. In fact, it really never happens. And I have to be okay with that. Cutting myself a little slack and realizing that I’m human stops me from losing a piece of my sanity.
So, what do you to achieve balance in your life? Does it involve some self-enforced quiet time, a little treat at the end of the day or time with friends? Let’s hear your ideas!
Be sure to head to Liz's post on Living by the 80/20 Rule!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lindt Chocolate. The challenge is sponsored by Lindt Chocolate, Sabra Dipping Co., Bob's Red Mill, Blendtec, QSquared NYC and United Dairy Industry of Michigan. All opinions are my own.