Chicago Fitness & Recovery Center

Balancing a Busy Life by Coach Laura

Membership and Day Pass in Chicago - EDGE Athlete Lounge

Let me first say that I find it curious and intriguing that I ended up writing on this topic. I do not feel I am experienced in “balancing a busy life,” nor do I feel I’m particularly qualified to write about such a matter. In fact, I’ve mastered “busy life,” but the balance piece I’m still working on. However, I do think I’ve made some progress this past year. In fact, yes, year one with a baby forces you to rethink, reevaluate, and renegotiate your priorities in a whole new way. You have no choice but to focus on the basics in life, namely survival. So, I had to let a lot of other things go those first six months or so of my son’s life, which had me anticipating training again like it was the greatest Christmas gift of all time. When the time came to get back at it (which is different for every woman postpartum!), I both literally and figuratively dove right into a structured and demanding training plan. In reflection of my season, I met all of my physical goals, but I realized that I lost a lot of other things in the process. This caused me to really consider what the “new normal” of balance looks like in my life during this new season. 

 

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I’ve found that my previous secretly held, maybe even unconsciously held, mindset that I can “do it all,” just isn’t true and doesn’t hold up anymore.

 

Instead of “doing it all” I really like the phrase “living abundantly.” To me, this means to lean into the things in life you’ve carefully and wisely chosen to invest in during the season that you currently find yourself in, that bring you joy. Living abundantly doesn’t mean you can do everything really really well, but it does mean that you get to explore the world of picking and choosing creatively what means most to you during a particular time, and investing there.

 

I’ve found these concepts to be helpful for me in finding a balance that works well for me and those closest to me: prioritizing, time management, experimenting, communication & support, and reevaluation.

 

PRIORITIES

My priorities have remained fairly similar over the years but there is an ebb and flow to which priorities win out over the other priorities…you know, the priorities of the priorities.  These can change based upon so many variables. I think it’s important to embrace this type of change, especially the things that are out of your control, and trust that you’ll be OK if things get shifted around a bit for a time. Probably the most important part of determining your priorities is communicating them clearly with yourself and those closest to you, and acting in a way that honors those choices. And then of course, you need to own them, guard them, and breathe life into them.

 

We’ve all heard so much about time management…that we get 24 hours in a day and what we choose to do with those hours is up to us. Some of us could work on finding those pockets of time that we are wasting to replace them with the priorities that we really want to own and live in. It’s important to be willing to change or tweak your daily routine/schedule so that you can do the things that matter most to you, or that you say you are going to set out to do. 

 

However, I also know some of us are really good at time management and still can’t seem to find the hours in the day to get done what we want to get done. To those of you that fall into this category, I would say, it could be wise to rethink your priorities. Maybe you need to let go of something for a season if you literally can’t find the time to do it. In my experience it serves us better to do less things that we find satisfaction in being able to do well, than more things that we just can’t seem to do completely, or thoroughly, or in a way that makes us proud. As painful as it may be to say goodbye to something for a season, it actually might open up the space you need to experience more joy and freedom.

 

EXPERIMENTATION

If you are struggling to determine the best balance of activities and commitments (including training!) in your life based on the season you’re currently in, experiment! Give yourself the permission to cut something out, give more to something else, or try something new. Case study: I was pretty burned out after my triathlon season this year and entered my off season a bit early. I experimented with trying a Master’s swim team and found out that I love it, I’m learning a lot, and I’m improving. This swim team was just what I needed to find a new focus that still challenges me athletically, but is a bit less time consuming than my previous training regime. However, joining this team meant that I let go of some of my previous priorities. I’m not running or cycling as much right now and it would be easy to feel guilty about that (chronic triathlete problem), but I’ve decided I’m choosing to lean into swimming and telling myself that it’s a great choice. If we are constantly living in the uncertainty of our choices and regretting the things that we aren’t doing or can’t do, we’ll just be chronically dissatisfied, and that’s just no way to live.

 

COMMUNICATION & SUPPORT

It’s important to have people in our corner (especially as athletes with crazy training schedules!), and we need to honor that and respect them so that they stay there! We should also use them, because if they’ve chosen to be in our corner, they probably honor and respect us too. I wouldn’t be able to train the way I do without my husband in my corner. This means he honors the value that triathlon brings to my world by supporting me to get my workouts in. But we’ve found that in order for this to work well, I need to consistently communicate my needs with him in regards to my training schedule so that we’re clear with each other and there’s no unnecessary confusion or upset about how we’re spending our time. Likewise, though my husband is not super into endurance sports, he has other things that are life giving to him that I’ve got to tune into and provide the space and support for him to do. And, it’s always a win to express gratitude towards those who are fueling your fire to help you do the things you really want to do. Bottom line, communicate with the special people in your life your gratitude, your needs, and why something matters so much to you, so that you make it as easy as possible for them to remain in your corner, and you can share in the joy of being each other’s fans.

 

REEVALUTION

As athletes, it serves us well to regularly reevaluate the balance (or non balance) we’ve created in our lives. The “balance” we create has a direct impact on our emotional, mental, and physical health, not to mention the health of those we are closest to. This type of reflection can be a helpful tool to both celebrate what we’ve done well, and show us what we need to tweak in the future to make life better for ourselves. Some of the questions you may consider asking while you reevaluate may be, “Am I feeling nourished by how I’m spending my time?”, “How are my relationships going with the people who know me and love me most?”, “What might I benefit from adding to my schedule/daily routine?”, “What might I benefit from letting go of from my schedule/daily routine?”, “Is there something I feel I’m missing?”, “Is there something I’m grateful that I gained?”, “Am I both giving and sacrificing right now?” 
Contemplating the answers to these questions may provide some guidance for where you’re headed on your next adventure while living your “balanced” life. 

 

In closing, one last thought: don’t compare your balance to anyone else’s. You may have heard the phrase that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and I’ve definitely found that to be true in my life. There’s no formula to find your most balanced life, but if you choose to engage in the concepts above, maybe you’ll find yourself a bit closer to living YOUR most abundant life.

 

Find out more about Coach Laura here

 

 




Request Information Now!