In 2015, rather rather than set resolutions that fade quickly, I’ve devoted a month to focusing on each of the following areas of my life: exploring solitude, getting healthier, networking and career-building, nurturing the relationship with my husband, and maintaining the ever elusive work/life balance. The fact that October is ending and I’ve only managed to have a monthly focus for five of the last ten months is a testament to the need for October’s devotion to balance.
I have never been very good at living in balance – I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. However, I’m finding as the year goes on that keeping that balance – busy time followed by down time; productive time followed by rejuvenating time – is the key to my happiness. This month was good for me. It was very busy, but rather than spiraling into a bad eating, no sleeping zombie, I managed to get everything done (in this case, teaching my normal classes at the college as well as directing a show that opened last night) and did it while feeling healthy and happy.
Here are a few things I learned this month about feeling balanced, healthy and whole:
- Thanks to my Fitbit which tracks not only my steps, but also my sleep quality, I can confirm with certainty that I do not do well with less than 8 hours of sleep. If I have less than 8 hours for several days in a row, my brain is foggy, I’m anxious and I lose functionality (not to mention my sense of humor).
- I’m fairly certain I have a dairy allergy. Only an allergy test will confirm that. Regardless of whether its a full-blown allergy or just a sensitivity, I feel better when I don’t consume it.
- On the subject of food, I’ve basically been living sugar, flour, dairy and alcohol-free for the month. Yes, I’ve lost a little weight, but more importantly I don’t feel bloated and cranky all of the time! And that, in turn, helps me to feel more centered and calm.
- Saying “no” has become easier and is crucial to keeping sane. I tend to take on too much. For someone who tries to do it all, making peace with either asking for help or just saying no to things has been a God-send. And, the more I do it, the easier it gets.
- I enjoy reading books. Yet, somewhere along the way I learned that laying around on a Saturday reading was a “waste of time.” I’ve reclaimed that pastime for myself! As a society, we get trapped in the notion of constantly being productive. Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that regularly pausing and enjoying solitude isn’t just a luxury. It’s vital for anyone wanting to live a happy, healthy, productive life. Books are one of my ways of relaxing. Now to continue embracing my lazy Saturdays without guilt!