Thursday, October 14, 2010

(Don't) Stop Til You Get Enough

I'm not a party animal. I'm also not a homebody. I'm somewhere in between (a tyan? a mebo?).

I like to have balance in my life, and that means making time for relaxing as well as working, watching tv as well as cleaning the house, hanging out with friends and spending time alone. I go a little nuts if I have too much of either side, i.e. too much time at home or by myself, or too much time out with other people. I need to temper each side with a little of the other to stay sane.

There are times when I wish I were a party animal, or that I was one of those people that can go and go and go and never (seemingly) take a break. I see people like that and I think "how the bleep do they do that?!"

But when it comes right down to it, balance is something I feel everyone needs. Maybe not as much as I do but in some measure. The fact is, those people that seem to be "doing it all" with so much ease will burn out eventually. It may not happen right away and they might not see it coming, but it will happen.

I've been in that place, feeling burned out, and it's not fun. It's also not healthy and makes you feel and look like crap, not to mention affects your performance and threatens the quality of time and effort you give to all those activities you are (ironically) racing around trying to get done. I also have friends that do this and they are some of the most unreliable, hard-to-get-a-hold of people I've ever met (although I love them). What good is it checking off all those things on your "to-do" list if you only talk to or see your friends (or have fun) once in a while, read: when all your to-do's are completed.

On the other hand, I know people who are "all play and no work", that never seem to do anything productive with their time (except drink and maybe stalk people on facebook...oh and eat all their parent's food) and I don't agree with this either. You know you can never rely on them for anything, except maybe relying on you for something.

I sympathize with both sides, but never want to be too much of either. Hence the need for balance.

This all being said, I would categorize myself as a "busy" person who likes to have her hands in many pots, To be honest I'm always doing something even when I'm doing nothing, if that makes any sense, and I get bored very very easily especially if I'm stuck inside or away from people for an extended period of time with nothing to read, watch, or listen to. However I've gotten a lot better at saying "no" to things I know I won't have time to contribute to. Nothing is worse than committing to something and then not being able to follow through, you almost always let someone down and feel shitty about yourself.

I also recognize that not only am I full of contradictions, I'm not perfect (I know, I was as shocked as you). I get lazy and procrastinate as much as the next person and I'm the WORST at starting things! It sometimes can take me forever to get to things that are not immediate priorities. I just try my best and recognize when I need to get things done and when I need down time.

Putting this into practice, I literally try to plan down time and "do stuff" time into my week - if I know I'm going to be out Tues and Wed night, I make sure I keep Thurs night as a "night in". Even if I haven't scheduled a relaxing evening or day, I pay attention to how I feel and if I get a portion of my tasks done and I'm feeling tired, I take a break. Even if it just means sitting and reading a magazine for 20 minutes, or grabbing a glass of water, it's still helpful to inject that little bit of tranquilizer into the moment and sloooow things down.

Obviously, there are some tasks and responsibilities that can't wait; they need to be done when they NEED to be done, not when I feel like it. Also, don't think I'm some kind of neurotic, OCD nutjob that schedules every minute of every day of her life (my condition is getting a lot better thanks to my new meds *I kid, I kid!*). However, it's important to realize that some things CAN wait, and you're not some kind of failure if you don't check every item off your list all at once. Give yourself a break.

I don't always practice what I preach but I try to give myself a break whenever I can. For the most part, this is how I try to live my life - with balance. And you should too - unless you have a questionable past, I'm assuming you are human (like me) and we humans can't do it all. It's ok to rest and relax once in a while - in fact, we need it.

Some of the things I do when I have a lot of energy are: housekeeping, blog or write articles, take a workout class (have tried Zumba a couple of times and love it!) or go for a walk, go shopping, put on funky music and dance my butt off and/or sing at the top of my lungs, go dancing/to the movies/out for supper, lunch, or coffee/to a fun event/on a quick roadtrip (with friends), make plans and lists, etc.

Some of the things I do when I don't have so much energy and want to relax: read (books and magazines - currently reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and the latest issues of Vogue and Lucky - and the Saturday Globe and Mail if I happen to get a donation from mom), watch tv (current favs include Dexter, Project Runway, ANTM, Grey's Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, and Oprah once in a while - judge me all you want but her Farewell Season shows have been amazing so far!) or movies, take a yoga class (this could also go in the above category), kick around on the interwebs, grab a coffee at Chapters and wander around, call or email a friend, paint my nails, listen to jazz or classical music, etc.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to lay on the couch and watch tv. Yesterday I worked a long day, completed a writing test for a job opportunity, and went to choir last night so I've earned it!

What do you do to keep balance in your life? Are you someone who likes balance or not?

8 comments:

Camila said...

Balance is incredibly important and I try to make sure I don't work too hard (since I lean towards that side of the scale). I try and make sure that when I'm spending time with my family and friends I am truly present. I also take time to get outside, move around, and sit in beautiful places to just reflect on life.

Kim Humes said...

You're so right that being present is also really important. I'm very prone to always looking ahead and not enjoying the moment enough, but I'm getting better at that. Even if you take downtime, if you're not really "present" in it, you're not going to get the most out of it. Thanks for your comment!

KaelaQLC said...

I'm EXACTLY like you when it comes to balance - I look at my calendar for the week and if I have plans two nights of the week I don't make any more plans. Andddd really I try not to make more than one night of work plans. Partially because I'm editing my book, partially because I need to have time to do that and relax. I definitely feel like I'm becoming more of a homebody as I get older.

Kim said...

This makes me think back to your post on personality type - turns out you and I share a first name and an extremely rare personality type. Our similarities are again evident in your post here...I'm very much a 'balance' person. I hate doing too much, but I hate doing too little. Funny how that works, eh?

Kim Humes said...

Kim, I honestly think we were separated at birth!! lol. That's too funny. One of my best friend's is also named Kim and I think we are LESS similar than you and I, and I've known her 10 years! hah

Kim Humes said...

Kim, I honestly think we were separated at birth!! lol. That's too funny. One of my best friend's is also named Kim and I think we are LESS similar than you and I, and I've known her 10 years! hah

Kim said...

This makes me think back to your post on personality type - turns out you and I share a first name and an extremely rare personality type. Our similarities are again evident in your post here...I'm very much a 'balance' person. I hate doing too much, but I hate doing too little. Funny how that works, eh?

Kim Humes said...

You're so right that being present is also really important. I'm very prone to always looking ahead and not enjoying the moment enough, but I'm getting better at that. Even if you take downtime, if you're not really "present" in it, you're not going to get the most out of it. Thanks for your comment!

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