One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

How do you find balance?

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Question of the week

So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (Classic Seuss)
– Dr. Seuess

As I sit here in a disaster of a house, exhausted and trying to figure out what happened to yet another day, I can’t help but think I lost my ability to balance. I used to feel like I had a handle on everything. Family, work, interests, SLEEP. Now hours go by and I feel I accomplished nothing. Well… that’s not totally true I do actually accomplish things I just feel out of sorts and I seem to be taking longer and longer to make any progress. It’s almost as if I have so many things I want/need to do that I can’t find the focus to do any of them. Then before I know it, the day is ending and I’m so tired all I want to do is sleep.

I realize it’s my own fault. I try to accomplish too much. I have a hard time saying no. I’ve made too many things non-negotiable. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. Unfortunately, (maybe to your disbelief) I don’t have endless stores of energy. I think I may have hit a wall or what I like to call, a funk.

I’ve been trying to remind myself to stay clear headed, do what I can, when I can and just keep making healthy choices. But I’m struggling.

So for this weeks question I thought I’d ask you to share ways you find balance or at least attempt to. I know I’m not the only one that struggles but I also know some of you have mastered the art of the juggle. :)





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Discussion

There are 30 comments so far.

    Nina

    February 11, 2009

    Hi Roni!

    I know exactly how you feel. But your feelings are warning signs, please do not ignore them! I did, and therefore I suffered a severe burn-out some years ago. And at this moment your body says full stop for you, not yourself, and it does not feel good, I can tell you.

    I cannot find balance in my diet at the moment, but in life I have slowly learned to say no. There might be days when I still feel overwhelmed, but not phases. My tips for you are:

    1. Take some moments everyday to take one or two deeeep breaths. They make you stop and look around. When you are stressed, your breathing gets more shallow and you get even more stressed. At those moments I mostly look around and see what I am doing. And I think about some positive things and moments which calm me down, too.

    2. Sleep enough! It is vitally important for your health and maintenance, too. When I did not sleep enough, I ate a lot more in the long run and had many more funks. And make your bedroom the best you can have to relax.

    3. Write down a priorities list, with pros and cons. Anything that has important reasons to be postponed and more cons is not that important and has to be be postponed. By writing it down you get the spaghetti-feeling out of your head.

    4. Get help with things you can get help with and relax a little! You are wonderwoman already, you don’t have to prove it to anyone any longer! :)

    5. And finally: listen to your body! Signs like stress, headache, grumbling belly, many regular colds or funks, etc. are warning signs.

    Lots of love! Take care!
    Nina

    Andrea

    February 11, 2009

    Don’t forget you are in a big flux right now – lots of stuff goign on that may not be in a year. Plus, you just got back from being gone a few days. Try not to do a little of one thing a little of another – thats electronic ADD at its finest – try to do one thing complete at a time so you can cross it off your list entirely and not let it linger on. I know, easier said than done. But, you know as well as I do, “This too shall pass”. Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!

    Berni

    February 11, 2009

    Hi Roni, I can’t agree with Nina more. I’m just getting over a case of burn-out. I’ve had to re-think my career, catch up on a year of lost sleep and start to put myself first. I’ve basically deconstructed my whole life and am now in the process of building it again, one brick at a time. As Nina said, don’t ignore the signs.

    Reading your post was like looking into my mind about 2 years ago, “I can’t help it, it’s just who I am.” We all have the capacity to change, look how you have changed your life and your body over the years, that’s an achievement many people only dream of, saying “Oh I can’t do that, this is just how I am.” What would you say to them?

    Take each day at a time, remember you can think about things before you respond, and you can say no. I find doing the thing I don’t want to do the most first thing in the day helps me to feel like I achieved something and makes the rest of the tasks for the day seem more manageable.

    Good luck and remember you are the master of your universe.
    Berni x

    Justrun

    February 11, 2009

    I notice I feel like this the most when I’m not getting enough sleep. And there’s only one solution to that. But then I feel like I can’t sleep well because of all I have to do, you know? My solution then is to 1) clean something. Just one thing, like the kitchen, and I begin to feel more in control. Then 2) I make a list of everything I have to worry about. Not just a To-Do list, but I also include all the things occupying my mind. Once it’s all written down, I know I won’t forget anything. Which leads to 3) go to bed. Getting a good, guiltless night of sleep is priceless. Then, the next morning I can look at my list and pretty much all of it looks a lot less daunting.

    Michelle

    February 11, 2009

    I know exactly how you feel. With two kids, a full time job, husband and home, it gets really hard to keep all the balls flying in the air. You just feel like you are pushing through each day and only doing the minimum. The comments above are so good, but I wholeheartedly agree with Andrea. Getting just one thing done and crossed off the list makes me feel so much better than jumping from thing to thing! Never forget the most important things….the toddler (almost boy) and husband. Those relationships may seem to take up too much of your time at times, but they are the only lasting things that you can invest in. Also….running clears my head. When I’m stressed and overwhelmed, even a short run gives me the energy to tackle the list!! Have a great day!

    Nina

    February 11, 2009

    Thank you so much, Berni! I know exactly what you mean: It’s like a puzzle you thought you had finished and which you have to do all over again, isn’t it? And it’s so amazing how many small bits make a human being.

    But there is a story I just remembered and that I wanted to share with you: at the beginning of college I was the perfectionist geek who wanted to do and know everything at once, and I was always flustered about it. So I went into the office of the Romanic seminar and the secretary was an old weird man smoking his cigar every day. The room was full of smoke and I was a little afraid. But I told him everything I wanted to know and I was really in a rush – or thought I was. And he said to me in his old voice and with his Cologne accent – which sounds a bit weird, too – “Slow down, young lady, you are born first, THEN baptized.”

    I will never forget this moment which still makes me smile and think when I am stressed. I should have listened to him earlier.

    Lots of love!

    roni

    February 11, 2009

    You guys are SO smart. :) And Berni… Thanks so much for calling me out on the “It’s just who I am” thing. You’re right! It’s just an excuse.

    I’m going to write down a to do and worry list today. Writing things down always helps me. Then the toddler and I will work on cleaning one room before our playdate. During nap I’ll see if I can knock off a few things from the list.

    I went to bed early last night and got a full 8 hours and feel a little better already.

    *Deep Breaths* It’s time to start this day! :)

    Can’t wait to read more advice! I knew it would help so much!

    Patty

    February 11, 2009

    In addition to all the great comments here already I just want to add that I find using a timer helps me to focus when I feel overwhelmed by all I need to do.

    For example this week my kids are switching rooms because the boys are finally getting a bunk bed. Getting that room ready for the delivery and set up tomorrow hase been overwhelming. Packing up three kids worth of STUFF, and temporarily having all three in one room, well you can imagine!

    This is how I used the timer to help: I set it for 15 mins and focused on one step that needed to be accomplished, and put blinders on to everything else. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 mins. When the timer rang, I’d re-set and give myself another mission. Each mini break gave me a chance to see the small progress I was making. Sort of like a weigh-in right?

    I know it may sound silly but it sort of makes a game out of all the work, give it a try you might like it especially since you describe yourself as a competative type, see how much you can do when you focus on one thing for 15 mins.

    Leslie

    February 11, 2009

    You have described me to a T. I was having serious burnout issues and decided I needed time for just me. I’m still working on that…it is a slow process but I’m doing it. I write a list of to-dos and of worries. I also feel more in control when I get at least one room done…usually my kitchen.

    I homeschool one child, serve as Primary President in my church, clean our 4500 square foot home, do loads of laundry daily, keep up with my website and my blogs and work at our Pizza shop. There are days when my house looks like a disaster…like right now!! I am trying to learn to let go a bit and not be so hard on myself.

    A few weeks ago we got home from church and our house was a MESS!! I felt so closed in and just sick to my stomach. I was going off on my family when I heard two friends from church say…may we come in. I was mortified they heard me ranting and raving and that they were going to see my messy home!! I let it all go and started crying. Afterwards I realized that I was way to hard on myself. That was like a turning point for me.

    So, Roni if you need to let it out…do that. Regroup, make your lists and do the best you can…I bet it’s better than you think!!

    Ami

    February 11, 2009

    I about hit the wall on Monday, so I need to pay attention to balance, too!

    When I’m flustered, I try to remember that big projects get accomplished when I routinely do a little at a time. Time passes, and you look back amazed that you’ve accomplished so much!

    We’ve slowly gotten into the habbit of taking a guilt-free Sabbath rest. No matter what needs to be done, what messes are sitting out in plain view, we just stop. We go to church then come home and nap, spend time together, read, write, enjoy hobbies…it is so refreshing and our kids say it’s their favorite day of the week!

    My husband is really sweet about letting me vent when I feel overwhelmed. It took him a while to learn how to do that!

    Brandi

    February 11, 2009

    I actually make myself take some me time. Whether its a book or a mindless movie or a slow walk alone. If I don’t have it I get out of sorts too. I actually just posted yesterday about the ‘funk’ I was in too. How weird :) I planned to go for a walk late last night but it rained. So I read a book instead. It did help.

    Forcing the me time seems weird and a little backward…but for me it keeps everything a little more clear and gives me a lot of perspective on the things that seem crappy and overwhelming at times.

    Mary

    February 11, 2009

    I have found that lists help me tremendously. I do things in a certain order throughout the day which helps me get things done as well…for example, I get up, make coffee and throw in a load of laundry. I check my email to see what’s important and whats junk, and then I go make lunch for my eldest and then wake her up. By that time, laundry goes into the dryer and then I make breakfast for all the kids (which are usually all up by now…if not it tends to throw me off!). While they are eating I go get dressed etc….eldest heads out for school and the younger ones go play while i hop back on the computer. I take a snack break after about an hour, get the kids a snack and fold up the laundry…..see? I find that small breaks help a lot too….just a few minutes of NO WORK….sit down, relax, read an article or book or meditate.

    I also find that if i have too many things to do I tend to try to do them all at once and none of them get done…I get side tracked. So, once you make your list, focus on ONE thing and get it done to the exclusion of all others, unless it’s turns into a MUST DO NOW thing. But you’ll find that if you finish ONE task completely then you can just cross it off your list…and I find at the end of the day if I have a few things crossed off, instead of partially done, I feel much better!

    and finally, ask for help. You are not alone….and remember it’s okay to put something off…cause tomorrow, as far as we know it, will always be there…and if it turns out its not, then who cares if the work got done!

    take care of yourself Roni….you’re a pretty important gal!

    Lou

    February 11, 2009

    Hi Roni,

    You have such good people here posting things that even though I feel compelled to post my thoughts, most of my thoughts have already been covered by your caring fans (as I am one of them myself). I too have been feeling out of balance. It is so hard not letting our personal circumstances when mixed with what is going on in the world around us to overwhelm us. I have been feeling it myself. All I can say is make that list and get what ever you can get done.

    Here is a good quote I look to regularly:

    A wish has been defined as a “goal with no energy behind it.” Hope is not a strategy. — Brian Tracy

    …the disciplined act of setting goals, making plans for their accomplishments, and then working on them daily, increases the likelihood of achieving your goals by ten times, or 1000%.

    This does not mean that goal setting guarantees success, only that it increases the probabilities of success by ten times. These are very good odds to have working in your favor.

    By the way, I think I always will love Dr. Seuss till the day I die. He transcends time like Mickey Mouse IMHO.

    Good luck with selling and buying your house(s) as well.

    I have trouble with the balance thing also. I haven’t found the answer yet so I hope someone can help me too. Some days feel like a whirlwind and I feel so aweful because I don’t feel like I am taking care of my family the way I should be. Then the next day usually seems to be great. I think it is because I realized that I need to get my act together. I hope I can find an easier way to get balance in my life.

    Elise

    February 11, 2009

    Roni, I read often but practically never reply to your posts. That said, I think today is a good day to do so. I’m currently reading a (gasp!) self-help book that I think might offer some help for ‘balance.’ Reading self-help violates every ounce of the graduate student/aspiring scholar within me, but in the end I think it’s going to help me take back my life and find balance between procrastination and workaholism. It’s always been one or the other for me, and increasingly both feel like paths of self destruction. So, on a recommendation from a fellow graduate student, I am reading The Now Habit. It’s all about developing strategies for doing quality work in shorter amounts of focused time, all while allowing ourselves the immediate benefits of guilt-free play.

    http://www.amazon.com/Now-Habit-Overcoming-Procrastination-Guilt-Free/dp/0874775043

    Joanne

    February 11, 2009

    Firstly, I have to say I LOVE the quote from dr. seuss. Secondly, I completely know how you feel. I tend to always have five million things going on at once and usually I’m okay when I don’t really think about it and then I have one of those five second panic attacks where my heart starts racing and I realize all of things I have to do. To fight this feeling, I tend to make lists and schedules. This way, everything is out on the table in front of me and I can plan time slots in which I can do things (I’m vaguely OCD about this). I like to make a mental deadline for myself, even if its only for very small tasks…for some reason this makes it all seem more manageable.

    Marisa (trim the fat)

    February 11, 2009

    I don’t have much to offer in the advice department since I have NO CLUE what balance is or how to go about getting it ! LOL!! I love the comments here – very motivational!

    I was in a super-funk yesterday (check out my blog if you can stand listening to my pissy behavior!), but the Dr. Suess quote you posted gave me my jump start this morning! I love the book, Oh the places you’ll go! I think it is so inspiring; I have actually given it as graduation gifts! So, I read it and I feel sooooo much better. Words to live by! Thanks for the butt kick =)

    Lady Downsize

    February 11, 2009

    Wow, so many comments and not enough time to read the advice of others. Maybe you could create an accumulative article of all these suggestions. I am in the woes of burn-out myself. Just this morning I was looking around the house realizing it is buried in clutter again, the bathroom needs cleaning, dishes need washing, laundry needs catching up…. It gets to be so overwhelming I put my blinders on. But, I have decided that I will tackle a bit at a time. I’ve been setting goals that certain things like dishes and cleaning the bathroom will be done every day. Maybe it’s time to treat myself like my mother taught me as a kid. No free time until chores are done. Aside from the daily tasks, I need to set daily goals to get the house organized.

    Most of all I need to free myself from procrastination – tired or not I have to get a certain amount of things done each day.

    Sheila

    February 11, 2009

    Well Roni, I probably can’t give you any better advice than what’s already been said. I was just thinking to myself this morning when I was getting ready for work, that I have seemed to have lost my motivation for my “diet” right now. I was sick and then my daughter came down with it yesterday and is pretty bad off today. Thinking about her being sick was just enough to make my eating plans go out the window for today. Life is really challenging at times, and I think that sometimes we are the ones who make it more challenging than it should be. For women, I know that it is in our nature to try and solve everyone’s problems or fix things that go wrong with others, but we all too often forget about ourselves in the mean time. Focusing on yourself, rather than others, is a really hard task to try and overcome when you’ve been so accustomed to doing it for so many years. One thing that I can say is, your house and your dust will always be there tomorrow to clean, but you may not be or the husband or the toddler for that matter. Take care of YOU and your mind, and the rest will fall into place. On the funny side, I heard yesterday that women that have messy houses are better lovers…No wonder why my house is always a mess!! LOL!!! ;)

    Nina

    February 11, 2009

    Hi, I just cannot stop today:

    I remembered something else: Maybe it is also about feeling balanced, in control and knowing when to stop – you know, those days when you arrive at some point at which you stop working and say, “This was a great day, I have accomplished so much!”. When I feel stressed it’s like sitting on a wild horse without getting hold of the reins and desperately trying to stay on the horse’s back.

    I think balance only comes with honoring our efforts every day and with every single step (without wildly celebrating every time, of course ;)) – if you don’t feel good about the things you do, I think it’s harder to achieve balance.

    LOVE!
    Nina

    Dawn

    February 11, 2009

    I’m right there with ya hon…I try to do everything and end up not getting a portion of what I wanted to complete done. I’m juggling work, working on the house (which is almost nonexistant, but still needing upkeep), planning a wedding, struggling with getting birthdays, school, hobbies, training for an 8K, and keeping my sanity. Actually had a breakdown sob session last night, it was much needed, and I was thankful that my fiance was there to hold my hand through it. Too much on your plate is NOT a healthy thing!!! It causes stress, which causes to health problems, and interrupts sleep, causing more health problems, and then you get to a point where you don’t think you’ll ever be able to accomplish anything. Or maybe that’s just me…lol.

    But keep your head up high, you’ll find a way to balance it all, everything happens for a reason. The main thing is that you keep yourself healthy throughout the process. If you have to say no to something, or schedule it another day, the world is NOT going to fall apart!!! Hugs, hon, and you’ll get through this.

    Valerie

    February 11, 2009

    Everyone has such great advice. I love Berni’s advice that you are the master of your universe. I got some really great advice when my husband was deployed from my sister. I was trying to be all things to all people and I just couldn’t. I was crying to her on the phone one evening and she said, “When did you get promoted to Manager of the Universe?” I told her I didn’t and she said, “Then why are you trying to run everything?” I guess for me, it’s a bit of a control issue. I get to the point where one little thing out of place throws me. A sock on the floor and I’m in full meltdown mode.
    I don’t typically watch Dr. Phil but he had an episode once about women who do it all. He said that we are like sponges. Eventually we will run dry without adding a little more water. Essentially, we need to take a little time for ourselves so that we may give more to others.
    Granted, I think you just have too many meatballs on your plate and they are rolling off. You can’t do it all. Something has got to give.
    Although, who am I to give advice when I am currently wearing my shoulders as earrings? (Feeling a little stress myself…) I’m going to go chase down the meatballs that fell off my plate now!

    pam

    February 11, 2009

    FUNNY that my friend and I were just talking about this same thing last night! We were talking about us and our lives of running, etc….but also how our kids can’t focus.

    EXAMPLE:*** Imagine teen doing research homework on computer…… they are busy reasearching for a few seconds when the msn pops up….then they stop answer their friend….back to the research when their friend pops up again just in time to ….check the text message that just beeped from your friend……back to research….. This is their lives….much like ours.

    ADVISE: Un plug. Don’t let distractions kill progress of what you really need to focus on. (priorities). Then, once accomplished plug back in. :)
    I have a friend who, when confronted with a major project staring her in the eye.. will disappear and go do something completely trivial. Like organize her gift wrap. It is something that she can start and finish. It cracks me up.

    Maybe start a small project so you can see results fast. Ex…..organizing your gift wrap. ha ha ha Unplug from everything else and just focus on the one thing. You are so motivated that sometimes progress doesn’t seem noticible until you step back and look at the point at which you started. You are doing great!!!

    Blake

    February 11, 2009

    I try to find balance by better planning. I don’t have any kids yet, but will in a few weeks, so I’m sure that will change things :) I just plan when I will get in my workouts and when I’m going to do certain things during the day. Luckily I work from home so I can prioritze and get things done as they come up.

    I love your blog and I’m glad I found it! Keep working hard!

    debby

    February 11, 2009

    Roni, you already have more advice than you need. But your own statement ‘I can’t help it. It’s just who I am.’ really stood out to me, because I know it is not something you believe or know to be true for yourself. You can change. And sometimes simplifying your life means eliminating some very good things.

    Me

    February 11, 2009

    I would rather do a few things well than alot of things half-a$$ed…..
    That’s what I had to start saying to myself.
    Now – I take care of the PEOPLE things first. Phone calls to friends and family, taking care of my son, taking care of ME.
    Then I take care of work – it pays the bills
    Then my house.
    I used to wonder how women could live in houses that were not tip top shape (silly me) and then I had a child, and a career and got divorced….
    now I know Clean is good. Spic and span is not an option!
    I also had to take a poll of who would suffer if I dropped some things off the schedule…..you have a lot of balls in the air professionally…..take from the ‘this would hurt the least people’ pile first.
    and then…make a gratitude list.
    When I am overwhelmed, I make a gratitude list because I know, no matter WHAT, I have a good life. Oh yeah – I have it REAL good!

    Donna

    February 11, 2009

    Balance is such a real issue… when my universe is off balance, it’s an extreme struggle. I came out of a funk last night, when I went to bed at 7:30p exhausted… and not doing my dinner dishes. Got a glimmer of light around 8:30p, while emailing some friends. I got my butt out of bed, made my coffee for this morning and did all my dishes. Started today with a new attitude and renewed energy. It’s awareness though… Pay attention to who you are and don’t dismiss how you feel. Thanks everyone!

    Alison

    February 11, 2009

    I drop stuff. Drop things I think I should do. Drop things I think I have to do. I’ve decided to live my life as intentionally as possible and that means eliminating some stuff to be able to really live life. I stopped my home based business (sewing and selling clothing for cloth diapered babes). It was really hindering my ability to enjoy my family, clean my house, etc. I’m not good with setting limits and decided to just all-out drop it from my life. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

    Elaine

    February 11, 2009

    Roni – I feel your pain. Maybe it’s all the extra exercise? Doctors say for every mile you run, you should sleep that many extra minutes per night. I’ve been running 30 mile weeks, so technically I should find an extra 30 minutes to sleep each night! Ha! I can hardly from time to run, let alone recover from the runs!!!

    FatGirlWalking

    February 11, 2009

    Roni – I really appreciated your post. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and feel alone. We sometimes take so much on our shoulders and get by for so long that we feel like a failure when we have to lay things down. Everyone’s comments were wonderful and I appreciate them all.