Confession. I took a break. A one month break. It was a break from life. It was all planned, and it included my family, so I didn’t lose my mind or anything because we were going on vacation.
We went on a 32 day road trip. We packed up our truck, arranged care for our animals, and we hit the road, visiting 9 states and multiple National Parks.
It really was a vacation. Yet, I cooked, I cleaned, my husband worked, my kids argued and bickered. We just upended our lives and took it on the road. What changed was I almost totally disconnected from all things electronic. I popped on to Facebook here and there, I responded to time sensitive emails, but that was it.
I turned my computer on 2 times in 32 days, I used my pad, maybe 5 times the entire trip. This is coming from a person who spends 8-10 hours on electronics daily. I work online, I manage social media, I blog. And for the 8 weeks before we left, I’d be on the computer, some days 12-13 hours, working ahead. Needless to say, I burnt myself out. Hard. I’d given up all forms of exercise in order to write. I didn’t even watch TV before our trip because I had no time.
Best Laid Plans
So, when our vacation hit, I brought my computer with the thought that when Dan worked, I’d work. And that didn’t happen. No one time. What did I do? I read and hung out with my kids. And the truth was, I didn’t miss the computer, I didn’t miss Facebook, I didn’t miss my online games.
Sometimes we just need a break. Whether it’s from work, whether it’s from our kids, our spouse, diet, exercise, we need a break.
These last 32 days have been glorious, yet I’ll be the first to admit the pendulum has swung so far the other way – from obsessive nonstop on the computer to not using it at all. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in one facet of my life, only to ignore other areas.
I need to find that balance – the balance between managing the lives of my kids (their school, their health, and their activities), to my health, to my work, to my friends and family, to my spouse. Those are a lot of things to balance.
Finding that balance also means realizing that you can only do so much for the people in your life, and that if they’re important, they’ll meet you in the middle. It’s letting go of what you can’t control. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to better balance my life.
Well, they’re high up on that priority list for several reasons. One, I want them to participate in things, so I’m driving them for a few more years. I also realize that my time with them is flying. We have one more year until high school for two of them, then I’ll blink and they’ll be gone. Yes, it really works like that.
Heck, we have to live with each other after the kids are gone, so we better find a way to get along. Not only that, we need to be able to know how to interact and socialize without kids, because soon, it’ll just be the two of us again. Not getting lost in the chaos (as we already have once) is paramount.
What’s next? Work? Health? Friends? Other Family? I don’t have the answer for that. I just know they’re all important to me. I’m learning to let go of the people who make me feel unimportant and things that aren’t rewarding in some way. It’s one of the ways I’m trying to balance my life, especially as the new school year looms ahead.
5 Ways to Find Balance
Identify What’s Important
What are you trying to juggle? Not everyone has kids or a spouse or a job. Some people have school, pets, volunteer duties. We all have different lives with different pulls. What are your priorities.
What is it you want to accomplish in these different areas? How can you get there. Make big goals and set smaller steps in order to create a path towards those goals.
Is it social media? Binge watching TV shows? Overextending yourself volunteering for things? Or even hesitation because we’re afraid to ‘fail’? Find your distractions and identify them, become fully aware and create a plan to say NO to things that aren’t helping you reach your goals. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
Determine which things are most important to you and make those the priority. Don’t forget to put YOU on that list. How do you WANT to decompress after a busy or stressful day? Make time for those things as well and they should be near, if not at the very top of your priority list.
There are time when certain areas of life are going to take priority over others and suck up more time and energy. Keeping a flexible mindset means you adjust your needs to the moment while remember this is temporary. Keeping a priority list means you can shift things around and keep the most important things up at the top. Maybe you have to say no to exercise while caring for a sick child. It’s okay. Life happens.
Having Patience While Trying New Ideas
Finding balance. Such an easy idea, and so much more difficulty and convoluted to try and implement. It doesn’t matter if you have kids, a spouse, whether your work or stay at home – everyone is being pulled in so many directions in day to day life.
With all that being said, I loved every single minute of my break. But, I’m refreshed and ready to get back to my life, with maybe a few more balances in place. It’s not perfect, but hopefully it’s better than before.