What’s one thing that every parent, student, spouse, caregiver, entrepreneur, and salaried or part-time employee (so pretty much everyone who has to juggle working for a living with multiple responsibilities) is always striving to achieve?
Balance. Or more specifically, work-life balance.
It’s a term that often gets thrown around in lifestyle and career magazines and in the blogosphere, and one that I always have trouble defining. A few years ago, entrepreneur and former Facebook market development director (and Mark Zuckerberg sibling) Randi Zuckerberg famously said (well, tweeted) that in order to be successful in life and business, you can only pick three things to focus on out of the following five important categories: friendship, work, time with family, fitness and health, and sleep.
I have to disagree with Ms. Zuckerberg. I believe you can make time and focus on the first three (friendship, work and time with family) by giving the last two (fitness/health and sleep – I’d also add mental health to that list) your attention every day. It’s something I’ve done for the past five years, and it has allowed me to run multiple races and qualify for the Boston Marathon, become physically and emotionally stronger and more flexible, start and grow a personal training business on the side, advance in my communications and writing career, maintain longtime friendships and make new ones, and foster and grow healthy and happy relationships.
So how do I do it? How do I balance everything while finding the time and energy to work out, eat healthy and set aside time for passion projects and self-care every day? (more…)
I’m often asked by my online coaching clients how to stay motivated to work out and how not to “fall off the wagon” when it comes healthy eating. Like most of us, they know what they need to do to lose weight and how to get healthier, but fail in the execution of even the most well-thought-out plans. Although having a personal trainer or nutrition coach can help you with the what and how, they can’t help you with the why. That part — which is the hardest part when it comes to being a happy, healthy human — is entirely up to you.
Not only is it up to you, it has to come from within you. From a place buried deep down inside that you might only see glimpses of now and again during shavasana at yoga class. Or when you experience a runner’s high on the trails in the forest. Or when you’re playing with your kids. Or when you’re laugh-crying over beer at the pub with your best friends you’ve known since middle school. Or when you’re watching your dog run full-tilt alongside the ocean at the beach. Or when you’re hugging your parents.
Those experiences. That feeling. That’s the surprise secret to motivation and consistency when it comes to eating right and exercising
(I know that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. But just bear with me here… there is a point, and I will get to it :)) (more…)
On an individual level, we’re busy taking care of our families, doing chores, running errands, working one or two jobs and trying to find time to fit in fitness, healthy eating, time with loved ones and self-care.
On a societal level, we’re devouring information, sharing and consuming everything and anything, and trying to deal with what’s going on in the world today; some of it good, like complete strangers showing up to a lonely young boy’s birthday party thanks to a viral Facebook post or a puppy and a duckling who’ve become the best of friends and whose shenanigans are shared on YouTube for all to see… and some of it bad, like the recent horrific incidents involving our own species in the states and all over the world.
It’s overwhelming. It’s despairing. It brings out the best in some of us and the worst in others. And it can be almost too hard to handle. (more…)
You know you’re probably not on track with the goals you set out for yourself in January when you can’t even remember what they are.
Since we’re half way to 2017, I thought I’d review the goals I set out for myself earlier this year to see how much progress I’ve made, and whether or not I should revisit and revise my goals for the year. A lot actually changed in January after I set out these goals (moved in with Matt, started a new job, secured some consistent freelance, got a new puppy), so I’m not too upset by my progress so far… which is essentially nada.
My happy place. I always make time to get out in nature with the dogs.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about balance, and my constant struggle to find it. Especially right now, with the month of May being full of birthdays, camping, trips and other activities. My weekends are pretty much booked full for the next two months. Part of me is excited by all these fun things and experiences I get to be a part of, but the other part is wondering how I’m going to find the time to take care of general chores, tackle yard work, write blog posts, write my regular freelance articles, help my online fitness clients, work at my 9-5 job, and make time for family and self care.
According to the American Psychological Association, busyness is the reason why the majority of American’s have high stress levels that interferes with their health, and as author Scott Dannemiller points out in this Huffington Post piece, the majority of the stress we experience is brought on ourselves:
Dr. Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist, has studied stress and its effects, and found the root causes to be two types of busyness. Though he doesn’t give them official names, he describes the most damaging as busyness without control, which primarily affects the poor. Their economic reality simply does not allow for downtime. They have to work two to three jobs to keep the family afloat. When you add kids to the mix, it becomes overwhelming, and the stress results in legitimate health problems.
The second type of busyness also results in health problems, but it is a sickness we bring on ourselves. Like voluntarily licking the door handle of a preschool bathroom or having a sweaty picnic in the Ball Pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
It’s busyness we control.
I definitely think I self-create the majority of my stress. (more…)
Since I powered through a lot of freelance this week I might actually have more time to do fun things this weekend. I’d like to buy some more plants and herbs for the patio and tidy up outside a bit more before BBQ season… maybe go to Home Depot, or maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond but I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time… (more…)
Raise your hand if your morning routine goes a little something like this:
Crap, I’m already running late for work because the kids are fighting/my hair is just NOT working today/I have nothing to wear/I lost 10 minutes of my life to Facebook/the dog just puked all over the carpet. *Looks in fridge* I guess I’ll just take this leftover spaghetti from last week to eat for lunch because I have no time to make anything else. *Opens container, notices something growing on it* Never mind, I’ll buy lunch.
And then similarly, your work day goes something like this:
It’s only 10 a.m. and I’m starving. Ohhh sweet, someone bought a box of doughnuts to the office! *Chows down on a Boston cream and gets back to work* How is it 1 p.m. already? I have so much to do, I really don’t have time to grab lunch. I’ll just see what’s in the vending machine/snack shack. *Buys a frozen Lean Cuisine* I guess this is healthy enough, it says ‘”lean” on it… and that looks like a piece of broccoli in there. *Unwraps and heats up Lean Cuisine, eats it at desk* Ugh, it’s only 3 p.m.! I’m starving. *Heads to vending machine and buys a bag of chips and a chocolate granola bar* Hopefully this will tide me over until dinner! *Gets home, feels ravenous. Eats cereal from the box while deciding what to make for dinner*
When you have a busy life and an even busier job that entails sitting behind a computer for most of the day, making time for healthy habits can be hard. Not only is it tough to take a break, get up and move around, but making healthy food choices can also be challenging.
Because most of us nine-to-fivers don’t always have the time to prepare roasted kale chips or homemade protein bars, I’ve come up with a list of snacks you can prep in a pinch and bring to work with you that will keep you fueled throughout the day until dinnertime. Bonus: You’ll save a ton of cash by bringing your own food. (more…)
I have random pieces of news to share that you may or may not be interested in, so what better way put it out there than with a Five Things Friday post?
My profile is finally up on Get Out There Magazine’s website, so all (50? 60?) of my articles are linked at last. I’ve been writing for them on a regular basis since 2015, from general fitness articles to web promotions to content for other event sites they manage. Even though it takes up a good chunk of my time, writing consistently helps to keep my skills sharp and builds my writing resume. Plus, it’s fun to research Canadian-based endurance events and activities, such as wine runs, food runs and naked yoga classes, haha.
Now that the Phoenix Marathon and my winter vacation has come and gone, I sat down over the weekend to plan out my soring fitness program – essentially my workouts and meal planning from now until the summer. I finally went for a short run on Sunday, two weeks after the Phoenix race, and it was a total slog. Nothing hurt, which was great, but my legs felt like lead. It probably didn’t help that I jumped right into strength training this week and was feeling a bit sore.
Although there’s a small part of me that wants to sign up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st to attempt to qualify for Boston again this year, I know my body (and mind) needs a break from those epically long Sunday runs. I could probably train without increasing my mileage too much, but I really miss feeling strong and fit from those four-day-a-week strength training sessions. So, I’ve decided to forgo the BMO Vancouver Marathon and to set my sights on the Goodlife Victoria Marathon again as a qualifying race this fall. Yes, that means I won’t achieve one of the goals I set for myself in January (well, just the year that I get to run Boston – I still could technically qualify this year). And I’m okay with that. I feel like this year will be a year where a lot of things may change and goals will shift accordingly. I’ve already experienced several big changes so far this year that will probably affect my 2016 goals that I’ll share at some point on the blog (don’t worry, it’s in a good way!). (more…)