social life

A Healthy Balance and Some Confessions

There’s been a lot of stuff going on lately in my life. I feel like I’ve been holding a lot of stuff back from this blog of late and I want to explain the best I can. First, let me say that I hate those oh-so-cryptic Facebook updates or Tweets that are vague and alluding to something going on in someone’s life that they aren’t sharing. I don’t want to do that with my blog but the truth is, there are some things that I just won’t talk about here. At least not right now. So I apologize for some vagueness in this post. Maybe soon I can be more specific.

I’ve been feeling like I’m not on the right path for awhile now. Despite this realization that I might want to do something else, I’m pretty much stuck where I am for now. With Michael unemployed, I’m definitely not going to be leaving any jobs to go back to school–especially since I haven’t decided yet what I want to finish my degree in. Feeling stagnant is not a good thing, though. So I’ve been focusing on other things in my life. Changing my workout routine to add more strength training is a new project that I can focus on and I’m a project type of person.

I’ve started taking a medication that supposedlyΒ does not cause weight gain as a side effect and yet I’ve been anxious for a month now because I’m paranoid that I will gain weight. I’m trying to be super diligent with my calories, continue my fitness and hopefully the scale won’t reflect a negative change. Then I stepped on the scale a few days ago. It wasn’t my normal time of the month that I usually weigh-in and it also wasn’t first thing in the morning. The scale showed a 2 pound gain. Seriously? It was so deflating.

Now when I look in the mirror I think “WHERE?” Where is that 2 pounds?? I’m going to wait and check again next week at my normal time and cross my fingers that it was just a fluke.

I’ve also been feeling unbalanced for awhile. I feel like my life is a lot of “I should be doing ____”. Like I go to work, I go to the gym, I do house chores and whenever I DOΒ have downtime to myself, I get lost in Netflix (currently mowing through “The Tudors”). This is not a healthy balance. There needs to be more fun, more spontaneity and more downtime in my life. I’ve been struggling to find this balance for awhile and I’ve been trying to make more plans with friends.

A few days ago I got together with a good friend I haven’t seen in a long time. We text a lot back and forth but neither of us are very good at actually making the time to hang out. Tim knew me “before” I lost the weight and was always supportive and encouraging. He reads my blog but never comments–instead texting me his comments. πŸ™‚

I was in the green, ha! I met Tim at a restaurant downtown for happy hour and Michael joined us. We went to the Red Star Tavern. It was a really cute and HUGE place and worth a try if you’re ever in Portland. The best part: their happy hour runs from 4-8. I like those hours.

The happy hour prices were decent. The menu had a lot of different kinds of things. I ordered a glass of the house red and only had one (trying to limit my liquid calories).

We discussed a million things but the bulk of the night was dissecting The Walking Dead. Both Tim and Michael have read the comics so they were cryptically discussing it, teasing me with no spoilers, and making me crazy! I am definitely going to read the comics.

I ate an order of the ham and brie sliders. They were pretty good but lacking something–I think a different kind of cheese that was melted or creamy would be better because it was a tad dry.

Michael and I split an order of the shredded BBQ beef sliders and maybe even an order of jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon. What I wish I’d gotten was the mini cheeseburger that Tim got. Look at this thing:

I was so happy that I made the time for happy hour, even if I’d been feeling down and tired with my couch beckoning me. We ended up hanging out for over three hours that night talking and I felt like my soul got a boost. Downtime. Spontaneity. Socialization. Taking the time to take care of myself = much better mood.

QUESTION: How to you create a healthy balance in your life?

No Social Life?

The common questions I receive from readers is usually one of two things: 1) How did I get started? and 2) How do you balance your work, workout and social life?

It’s hard, that’s for sure. Creating time for all of those things is often a challenge and sometimes things have to be eliminated. Living a busy life is a blessing and a curse: it keeps me from sitting on my couch on the weekends and stuffing my face from boredom AND it can be exhausting trying to fit everything in.

Obviously, work is essential. I have to pay my bills. I spend my 8 hours a day at work and I get creative with my time. I use my breaks and lunch hours to do things I enjoy like going for walks in nice weather (extra exercise) or I read a book, or work on writing MY book. Finding an hour here and there is often just enough time to do something fun and decompress before heading back to work.Β Time management helps a lot.

The second most important thing in my life is two-fold: my fitness and my boyfriend Michael. He’s an important part of my life and I need to make time for our relationship. It helps a lot that we like to cook together and that we like to do ACTIVE things together (like biking, hiking or snowshoeing). Doing fitness together on the weekends helps keep us connected and I get my exercise in.

Michael and Me

My friends are pretty understanding of what my workout schedule is like and areΒ accommodating. And honestly, Β a lot of my friends are super busy too and they plan their social activities far in advance as well.

I prioritize fitness and plan my SOCIAL life around it. Sure, that might not sound like as much fun but I always fit both things in. It just might not be an immediate gratification kind of thing. My life is pretty structured–even the fun stuff is scheduled into my calender. So last minute “Hey want to grab a drink tonight?” kind of plans sometimes don’t happen often.

Girl Time!

I make plans with my friends on a routine basis. Β I’ll get a pedicure with my friend Star about once a month or every other month and we frequently get together for a homemade dinner (her place or ours). Β My friend Robyn and I liked to meet each other at the gym and workout together. She’s way into fitness too so that helps! Two birds, one stone!

Robyn and Me

My other friends — Anna, Kat, Ember, Sam, and several others are good happy hour friends. It’s fun to meet up for some one on one girl time. Then of course, Michael and I have couple friends that we see together. The couple “date nights” are often game nights, homemade pizza night, movie nights, happy hours, or in the summer time–group hikes!

Some things had to go by the wayside. I rarely take the time to do things like watch TV or paint my nails. I definitely watch more Netflix during the ugly winter time, but as a whole TV is less of a priority. When I take the time to sit down and read, I usually have help. πŸ™‚

I prioritize the things in my life because it all has value. I need down time with friends. I need down time with Michael and the kitties. I also need time to myself (the gym is great for that).

QUESTION: What are your priorities? How do you balance your social life with everything else?