Adding Balance to My Overachiever Personality

I started today off with a long walk followed by a smoothie with berries, local goat’s milk kefir, and cilantro (first meal of Eat Local Week). Sunday mornings are one of my favorite times – such a calm time of the week where I like to review the past week and prepare for the next week.

I am definitely a goals-oriented, type-A, and overachiever at times. I like to do everything all at once. For one, I trained for a marathon during the last semester of college while also applying for dietetic internships and staying social. During my internship, I was no longer in classes, so I just took it upon myself to read nutrition books or listen to nutrition podcasts. Can’t get enough learning. Now, as if starting a new job isn’t enough, I’ve taken on babysitting, as well as continuing blogging and getting involved with new projects.

I really enjoy having a goal to work towards, which is why I love training plans for races. For my marathon, I literally got so much pleasure out of crossing off a workout on my training plan (type A, I tell ya). In order to work towards my goals, I have a little bit of a post-it note problem. I have post-its on my computer, desk, and use the stickies and notes apps on my computer and phone.

The problem is sometimes I have too many goals all at once. I know that when working with patients on health and nutrition goals, small changes at a time like eating breakfast is the way to go. Over time, all the small goals stick and become major lifestyle shifts. Changes are more likely to become habits if they’re manageable rather than a huge overhaul of your life all at once.

I know that I need to work on balance in my life, so for the next month, that is my only goal. I’m not training for a race. I’m not setting any goals to blog a certain amount of times each week. With my new job, I just want to be able to balance my work and life routine.

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Balancing on a Boston rooftop

In order to stay in balance, I know that I need to move in some way each day. No schedule necessary. One day, I may pull out my yoga mat. Another, I may lace on my running shoes. Another, I may go for a walk. Staying active is stress relief and just gives me a sense of clarity. Staying as healthy as I can with nutrient-dense food, enough sleep, and managing stress is also incredibly important.

Another part of balance for me is not trying to do something every minute of the day. I need times where I just put away my phone and computer and take a walk with a friend, watch a movie, or read. My phone is not an extension of me, so it doesn’t need to be in my hand 24/7. I will survive without checking Twitter every hour. I would really love to set off Sunday as a complete rest day. No checking email. No blogging, tweeting, reading about nutrition. Just doing what I want in order to rest and restore. Social media is great, but it’s draining at times.

Lastly, quiet. When I regularly meditate for even a few minutes a day, my mind is clear, I’m more productive, and I feel in balance. It’s such a simple activity to add to the beginning of my day. It’s so easy to just grab the phone, and browse Facebook or email updates first thing in the morning. Honestly, no one needs that stress. Instead, roll out of bed, and meditate. Or just be quiet and stare at a wall for 5 minutes a day. Your mind literally clears. It’s proven science.

Being in balance allows me to give to others. By taking time for myself, I am better able to focus on others’ needs and help them the best I can. When I’m in balance, my mind is clear, and I am able to focus on the task in front of me.

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Hiking yoga

Sometimes, it’s hard for people to take a few minutes out of their day for themselves, but self-care is SO IMPORTANT. Many people spend all day taking care of others – their kids, patients, friends, significant others – or giving themselves to their job that they are so exhausted by the end of the day. Over time, this leads to significant stress, and they won’t be able to provide the best care to others. Schedule this “me time” into your day, and do whatever you want with it. Exercise, read, take a bubble bath. Just relax and don’t even think about touching your phone or to-do lists. This is not “catch-up time.” This is YOU time.

Start this week by focusing on one aspect of balance. Don’t try everything at once. If you want to add meditation into your day, just focus on that, and start with 2-3 minutes at first. If you want to focus on movement, just be active in whatever form you enjoy best.

What is most important to stay balanced in your life? Are you guilty of not taking “me time?”

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