I have to be busy.
Maybe it started in high school. I spent my time well into the dark hours working on a newspaper deadline or at theater rehearsals. In college, my time was consumed with my sorority, part-time job and other organizations. Now, I’ve continued my involvement in the community, freelance writing, the sorority and work.
I recently sent out a Snapchat photo of my calendar.
Outlining my work schedule, social life and the different organizations I’m involved in, the image was quite terrifying (and colorful). The questions started pouring in.
“Do you ever get tired?” Yes.
“Do you get good sleep?” Sometimes.
Until recently, I tried juggling it all; sacrificing my weeknights and weekends for everything I could fit in. Then I hit a wall.
“There are buckets to life, you know,” my sorority sisters said during our monthly boarding meeting. “You have to figure out which buckets are important to you and try not to overflow.”
They were right. They saw it in my face – the wall that was screaming for help. I loved all of my projects, but I stopped having a social life and practicing self-care. I began to resent my projects and my mental health took a turn. I was no longer happy. So I made some changes.
I Rearranged My Schedule
I switched a weekend volunteer shift in order to free up my Saturday, and it has helped tremendously. Now I have one day out of the week where I don’t feel to be somewhere at a given time and maybe can sleep in a little. I also created a set routine for the week: Mondays are my writing nights; Tuesdays are for the gym; Wednesdays are for Dean; Thursdays are my social nights; and Fridays are my “me” nights. While it’s subject to change, I at least know what’s in store every week.
It sounds harsh, but I had to rethink some of my memberships and my involvement. While it’s unfortunate as I loved spending my time in the community, I had to weigh which organizations/projects were most important to me. I was fortunate enough to have their understanding and have the opportunity to give and support in other ways.
I Have Dedicated “Me” Time
As I mentioned earlier, my Friday nights are for unwinding. Usually people are out and about being social, but I like getting home at a reasonable hour to make dinner and unwind on the couch. By Friday, I’m usually exhausted from the week’s adventures. These couple of hours I spend on my couch or curled up in my bed set me up for a great weekend.
I’m Practicing Self-Care
Self-care means something different for everyone. For me, it’s my faith. I grew up in the church and in a very faithful home, so reconnecting with God has helped me feel lighter and better. I also have been making the effort to stop feeling guilty for saying “no” to people or feeling like a failure for not being able to do it all. Alas, I am human and I cannot do it all. Without the guilt, it’s been so much easier to do the things I enjoy and want to do, even if it is just spending a night in watching a movie.
While I haven’t 100 percent mastered the art of balance, I’ve gotten to a great start! How do you balance the buckets of life? Any tips?