As the years go by, they tend to move quicker and quicker. There was once a day you couldn’t wait for your 16th birthday so you could drive on your own, then it was your 18th, then graduation, then your 21st birthday and before you know it you are fifty years old and can’t remember where time went.. Not that I would know quite exactly what being fifty years old is like, but being out of school for a year now has shown be just how quick time goes as an adult.
As my friends came back this fall for school and asked me how my summer was, all I could say was, “what summer?”. 2018 is the first year I have not been in school for any part of the year and it has been quite an adjustment. In school, I had a routine. One that I had been doing for the past twenty years so I had it down to a “T”. Moving over to the adult world, though, my life completely shifted. Finding balance has been exponentially harder, but I wanted to share just a few things I have done to make life easier and balance adulthood a little bit better.
When life gets crazy, staying organized is crucial to keeping your mind from being all over the place. I know that if I don’t have some manner of writing down everything I have to do, I will, without a doubt, forget. Personally, I use Google Calendar and A LOT of sticky notes and paper. I have the calendar on my phone and always keep the tab up on my computer to remind me to keep checking it. As soon as I make an appointment or have something I need to do I mark it in my calendar. Doing it right then and there helps me not only have to remember the event, but also not have to remember to put that particular event in the calendar.
As for sticky notes/paper lists, I use them for everything. I’m not exaggerating when I say that either. Everything from what I have to do today to next week to grocery lists to birthday ideas to activities I want to start and everything in between. I am constantly writing things down.
This is one area that has been a life savor for me. I used to prep all my food during high school, but have really neglected doing this since I moved. I recently started it up again and WOW, it simplifies my world immensely. Prepping food is an area that benefits you not only with adding more time throughout the week, but also helps your mental state. It allows for creativity to try new recipes and since you will be eating more wholesome meals you will have more physical and mental stamina.
Whether you prep every meal for the whole week or simply make lunch for the following day, it will benefit you in many ways.
Minimize added sugars
This is probably not a tip you expected to see, but added sugars can take a huge tole on the body, especially when consuming a lot of them. When you eat anything like a candy bar, soda, or even high-sugar granola and yogurt it skyrockets your insulin. Also, when a person eats a food with a lot of added sugar, the brain releases the “feel good hormone”, dopamine, which gives them that added zing of energy. Overtime the body becomes accustomed to it, telling the brain that it doesn’t need to naturally release as much of the hormone, thus causing a dependence on sugary foods (AKA cravings). Not only do you crave sugar more and more, it causes inflammation, affects your joints, and causes huge dips in your blood sugar. I know for me personally, when I have a lot going on and I eat too many sweets instead of whole foods, I become exponentially more anxious, jittery, frustrated, and inpatient to my surroundings, which is what ultimately causes me to not get important things done or be able to get the sleep I need.
Get up and Move
I know you all have heard this before, but there’s a reason for it. That’s because it is so vitally important to get your body up and moving around whether that is doing a five-mile hike, practicing yoga, lifting weights, or simply going for a walk around the neighborhood. There are so many ways to get your body up and moving to get blood flowing and refresh your mind. Even doing activities like running around the yard with the kids, throwing a ball for the dog, working on a vehicle, or organizing a room in the house. Especially when you are tired and groggy, moving around and increasing your heart rate will actually give you MORE energy! Sounds backwards, but I promise it’s true.
Eat whole, plant-based foods
Now, whole, plant-based foods are vitally important if you want your organs, muscles, hormones, digestion, and all your bodily functions to behave normally. Whole, plant-based foods are anything like potatoes, oatmeal, nuts, beans, corn, fruit, and vegetables. Basically, any food that can be eaten in its naturally form, unprocessed and unaltered. Eating this way is going to provide so many more vitamins and minerals for the body to function properly, because there aren’t any added chemicals, natural flavorings, dyes, or have the nutrients processed out of them. In turn, your stomach is going to feel 100x more satiated, your mind will be more at peace and you will be able to think more clearly.
Some meals that I love to eat are toast with avocado and tomato, oatmeal with frozen berries and nut butter, fresh greens with beans and avocado, or a big smoothie full of greens, berries, bananas, or whatever fruit I have stocked up.
Be easy on yourself
This is my last and probably the most important tip. It is so easy to get caught up in other peoples lives whether its in person or over social media it can look like they are perfect, have it all together, and are doing life better than you. Having this image of others can make it so easy to beat yourself down for feeling like you just don’t have enough self-control to stick to eating healthy, that you have horrible time management, that you don’t spend enough time with your kids or spouse, or that you just can’t get organized cause that’s not who you are. There are so many ways we can beat ourselves down, but I’m here to tell you it’s okay! Don’t beat yourself down for the one little thing you forgot to do even if it was a whole list of things you didn’t do. Learn to spot the positive and find the one good thing you did do whether that is eating an apple instead of a bag of chips or that you bought a calendar to get organized. Nothing good is going to come from beating yourself up for what you didn’t do. I can almost guarantee you wouldn’t be harshly critical of a friend who was having a hard time and feeling down. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. As long as you are taking tiny baby steps towards bettering yourself that is all that matters.
All in all, life is not easy. Props to all the parents out there who are doing all of this plus having a few minis running around to take care of. Like, really. Wow.
Nonetheless, life is a game of balance. It’s not easy walking on a tight rope when you can’t even walk across a log without falling. Just keep practicing on the log, though, and one day you will be able to walk that tight rope with more ease.
All the best,