Hi Everyone! I hope that you all had a nice, restful long weekend like I did. It was everything I needed and more; the perfect mix of activity and downtime. I went to bed early, I slept in, I went to yoga, I walked my dog, I watched the entire first season of Homeland for the second time (yes, it’s that good), I saw two movies, I caught up with good friends and ate ice cream. All the good stuff. I accomplished more normal, “real life” stuff in one blissful, three-day weekend than I usually do in a month’s worth of weekends.
See, the thing is, one of the challenges with juggling two full-time careers is that my days are packed so full that by the time Friday rolls around, I am usually so exhausted that I tend to collapse in a heap on my couch, dozing off to whatever DVR’d shows I didn’t get to watch earlier that week. After five “typical” days in a row of waking up at 5 or 6 am to head to the gym to train clients (and hopefully squeezing in a few minutes to work out myself), and then heading into the city for my 9-to-5, followed by training or teaching classes in the evenings, the last thing I want to do by the time the weekend rolls around is to make plans and add more things to my calendar.
Now I want to make it very clear that I am NOT complaining or whining about how busy I am; I choose to fill my days in this way and am truly happier when I’m working hard. I am more professionally fulfilled right now than I have been since I graduated from college 2004, and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities that I have worked my ass off to pursue. I also realize that I am very, very lucky to have stable employment that I enjoy. I only mention how busy I am because it helps bring into context the real point of this post, which is to tell you something I’ve noticed as I’ve been working to establish more of a work/life balance.
One of my struggles has always been that I take on so much, and while it’s worked for me professionally, it’s definitely affected my social life in a negative way. I end up making so many plans, feeling guilty that I haven’t seen X person in 3 weeks or so-and-so in a month, filling up my calendar so quickly that before I know it, I get overwhelmed by it all and want to crawl in a hole just to avoid it. Social plans start to feel like obligations, and I really, really don’t like feeling that way.
The thing is, I do this to myself – I create that overwhelmed feeling; no one else makes me feel that way. It’s just in my type-A nature to sometimes take things a little too seriously and put too much pressure on myself, and so it’s nice to take a step back from that every now and then and remind myself to chill out. Because the thing is, whenever I actually do take a step back and allow myself to just go with the flow – either by making plans on a whim if I’m feeling up to it that day, or doing something low-key like meeting up with someone for a workout or coffee rather than scheduling a dinner weeks in advance, or by doing nothing at all if that is was I really feel like doing – I realize that I have so much more energy than I thought I would have, and I end up feeling more refreshed than I would if I spent the entire weekend on the couch.
So instead of making a bunch of plans that were set in stone, for the last month or so I’ve tried to take a more relaxed approach to fit in friend time and to spend time doing things that I really want to say yes to, and I have to say that it’s gone really well so far. I recently even said yes to trying two new-to-me workouts, and so I wanted to tell you guys a little bit about both of them.
The first is Moksha Yoga, which my good friend Katie introduced me to. They have studios around the world, but only recently opened one here in NYC. Katie raved about their hot yoga classes, and even though I’ve always been intimidated by hot yoga, I decided it was finally time to get over the fear and so I went to check it out with her. I ended up LOVING the class and have even gone back a few times, bringing other friends along, too. I definitely recommend checking out their studio if you get the chance – everything is pristine yet comfortable, and the instructors are all really kind and great at giving an easy-to-follow (yet still incredibly challenging!) class.
The second was that I finally took a Refine Method class last week, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile now, thanks to reading all about it for the past several months on Dori’s blog. From what I read, I knew I agreed with founder Brynn Jinnett’s approach to exercise, and so I’ve been really eager to check this class out. But of course I had put it on the backburner for months because I was always “too busy,” until last week when I finally felt compelled to sign up, and so I did and took a class with Dori the very next day. The class was everything I was hoping it would be, and exactly what I needed. As a trainer, I’m learning that sometimes it’s nice to have other people lead me through a workout for a change, and after pushing myself harder in that workout than I have it months, I left feeling content and pleasantly sore the next day.
These experiences have reminded me that saying yes to plans doesn’t always need to be stressful; even though I’ve technically done more stuff, I feel happier and more balanced than I have in awhile. I’ve tried new things, I’ve spent some quality time with friends, and I’ve gotten in some good workouts along the way. And I haven’t even had to neglect my couch and DVR all that much.
How to you achieve balance in your work and social life? Any tips to share? Since I have less time for my own workouts these days, I’m finding that workout dates are an excellent way for me to be social and stay committed to my health at the same time. Which fits in pretty nicely with who I work for, right? That’s my idea of the perfect professional/life balance, if I do say so myself.