Oh, balance, where art thou? Somewhere in the last four years (note the milestone here–four years ago was when my first son arrived!), I’ve lost hold of her. And in her place? Her evil sis, chaos, has entered. But, this doesn’t mean I haven’t fought–hard–to get my grasp back on balance. Sometimes I manage, other times I don’t. But any hard-working, super-busy mom–or any hardworking super-busy person–knows that balance isn’t something that comes easy. You have to work hard for it.
I’m far from figuring out the right equation (which is why my living room is covered in toys that need picking up, and I have a magazine article due tomorrow that will require that I stay up until midnight to get done), but I do have a few tried and true tricks that I use to keep some semblance of balance in my life. My list:
1. Exercise: While I had to temporarily give up running midway through my second trimester (it started to be very painful), after this new baby arrives in early February, I can’t wait to hit the pavement again. Running, for me, is such a mind-clearing outlet for me. There is no bad mood that a good run can’t solve. I’ve found that if I can work in a daily jog, my day improves by at least 50 percent.
2. Clean office, clean fridge, clean purse–repeat: This may sound nuts, but when one of these places gets messy, my brain gets a news alert that life is out-of-whack. I’m always shocked at how good I feel after purging the moldy cheese from the fridge or dumping out the receipts and bits of crackers (thank you to my 2 year old!) that have collected in my purse. And, about once a month I give my office a deep-clean. I swear, it makes me a better writer.
3. Keep life simple (translates into: “I have no life”): While I’d like to say I see my girlfriends often for cocktails and dinner out, or keep up with book club, or have dinner parties all the time, the truth is I’ve had to really scale back in the past few years to focus on the people and things that are most important to me. This makes me sound like a party pooper. Eeks. But, in truth, as a hands-on mama (who will soon have three boys under the age of 4) and more-than-full-time writer, I just had to clear the clutter. While I miss all the PR events, lunch dates, press trips (saying no thanks to a trip to Tuscany earlier this year was torture), girls-night-outs, etc., I do find peace in keeping my schedule simple. This helps me breathe.
4. Take a hot bath: When all else fails, I hit the tub. I find that when I’m up to my neck in stress, with no relief in sight, there’s nothing like a hot bath to recenter yourself–especially if that hot bath includes a glass of wine (or in my pregnant state–a cup of herbal tea), dim lights, a candle burning, and lavender bath salts. I emerge feeling like I haven’t lost it after all.
What’s on your stay-balanced list?
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