“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” - Thomas Merton
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “Ashley, how do you balance it all?” As a wife, mother, student, and fitness motivator, life can get a little crazy! I breathe it in and take each day one step at a time.
Prioritize. We all have crazy lives with appointments and deadlines. A person will find time for the things they deem important. The first thing is to plan according to what works best for you. If you’re a morning person, maybe get up a little earlier to get a workout in before going to the office. As a mother, I plan my workouts for after my husband gets home and I tuck my son into bed.
Prepare for life. I always have a plan B ready and waiting for when life throws wrenches into my schedule. For instance, an absent babysitter or forgetting what vehicle was left with the car seat. Yes, I have left people stranded with my child because I forgot to give them the car seat. Maybe it’s a Friday night and Ricky gets home late from work, since my gym closes early on Fridays, I’ll end up taking my rest day that night instead of my usual Sunday night. At the beginning of my fitness journey I was not versed in the art of having a plan B and it caused anxiety! It took months before I realized that it is okay to change your path when the destination is always the same. It may be the longer route but hey, enjoy the ride.
Goals. After prioritizing, you know what kind of time is left over to accomplish your goals. This is a tricky one! I know when I started my fitness journey I wanted to look fabulous in six months. Well…I looked much healthier that is for sure! I just was not realistic with my goals. Weighing in at the hospital right before having my son at almost 200 pounds, it was going to take more than six months. Set small goals that lead to your ultimate goal and this will lead you to success.
Patience. I’m sure all of you have heard the saying ‘trust the process’. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. It takes a minute for your body to respond to what you are asking it to do in regards to the demands you're placing on it. Yes, stepping on the scale and seeing the same number everyday is frustrating. Not seeing the kind of definition you expect after a week is frustrating. I had these same frustrations not even two months ago after I switched from bulking to cutting. I wanted my body to respond faster and be leaner overnight and ended up finding myself unhappy. Finally, I had enough of gravity’s judgments by means of the scale and I threw it up into the top of my closet, and it has been there ever since. Peace of mind starts by loving yourself enough and accepting where you are on this wonderful journey.
Rest days versus relaxing. Of course this is part of balancing life! Rest days are very important and underrated. I capitalize and plan most of my errands on these days. For some, rest days can create anxiety, at least it did for me in the beginning. I wanted to achieve my end goal faster. Not only did I not understand that rest days are essential for muscle growth, but they are also necessary for mental recovery. Relax on your rest days because you’ll need it for killing your workout the day after!
Mental health and me time. This is my favorite one. It’s the foundation upon which all of these pieces of the puzzle rest. With mental health, your body will follow. I have said this from day one. Stress, depression, eating disorders and other mental battles that all of us fight every day can creep in and leave you feeling helpless and alone. Do one nice thing for yourself every day. This can be anything! Personally, I love being outside with my son playing at the park or marking up my walkway with chalk, it really doesn’t matter. Sometimes it is a quiet night curled up binging on my favorite Netflix series. Don’t act like you don’t Netflix binge, everyone does it!So, how do I balance it all? With a happy heart and smile on my face, I take one step and one day at a time. That is all anyone can do. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. How will you balance your week?