Like many of you, I juggle a crazy schedule. Some days I wake up and wonder how it’s going to logistically work, as a majority of my responsibilities involve being in two or three places at one time. I can tell you none if this happens without my husband – we tag team daily.
Thought I would share a few things I make sure to do in order to a) maintain my sanity (or what little I have left) and b) stay healthy so I can successfully manage a demanding schedule. Here we go!
5 WAYS I MANAGE A BUSY SCHEDULE
1. Hydrate. Before coffee, I make sure to down a glass of lemon or lime water to get a jump start on hydration. I’m not one of those “naturally thirsty” people (maybe I’m part camel or something) so I have to consciously make an effort to drink water throughout the day. I find that adding citrus to my water makes it tast more refreshing, and it adds vitamin C. Also, I limit myself to one cherished cup of coffee in the morning, as caffeine is a diuretic and too much causes a crash.
2. Eat a big breakfast. This is one meal I never skip. A big breakfast for me is key, especially since my daily responsibilities and exercise are now more intense than they’ve ever been. My mainstay breakfast is usually 2 eggs, 1/2 an avocado, 1 cup of slow cooked oats (only takes 8 minutes) with a scoop of plain yogurt, sliced banana, and fresh cinnamon. See my pic and example here. I love incorporating avocados into breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. Avocados are your friend – they help you feel full and offer a generous dose of omega 3’s and good fat.
3. Exercise. It’s no joke raising kids and trying to stay in shape at the same time – mainly because so much of your time involves driving everyone to their activities then waiting for long periods of time. I know many of you live this one daily! This year I made the decision to take a break from teaching ballet so that I could focus on more quality family time and a little more “me” time. It has drastically reduced my daily stress and allowed more room for exercise. It has been WONDERFUL.
Increasing my exercise has really increased my stamina for enduring a busy schedule. I still ride weekly, but my main exercise routine is ballet 3 – 4 times a week, which I can now do while the kids are in school. I highly recommend ballet classes for adults, even if it’s a simple beginner class. It’s so good for your mind and body. Ballet improves brainpower, posture, balance, flexibility, core strength, and lengthening of muscles. How can you argue with that? Plus it’s beautiful!
After taking more classes, I was able to build up my strength to go back en pointe. Still a way to go, but I make improvement every week. Here I am in a relevé a la seconde last week ; )
4. Completely disengage once a day – with NO GUILT. Your brain and body need a minimum of 20 minutes of complete disengagement a day. Minimum. This type of disengagement means no mental demands or interaction of any type. I know that sounds impossible – this one took work for me too.
It’s important for your brain to have a period of non demand time each day in order to maintain optimal function. Quietly scrolling through emails, texts, pinterest, or instagram doesn’t count as disengaging – it has to be non-interactive and quiet time. I realized when I started talking to my family through my teeth while burning dinner, it was time to carve out some chill time each day. You really have to honor personal downtime…without any guilt. We are not designed to go 17 hours a day for months (or years) at a time with no break. We need quality moments of reprieve.
Try a simple creative project to unwind, even if it’s arranging some flowers.
When I relax, I go alllll out because I now understand the value of slowing down. I make myself temporarily forget about laundry, cleaning, the phone, and the computer. I had to work at this. Do you have trouble detaching from certain responsibilities? I’ll share with you some valuable advice one of my TV producers gave me when I was working seven days a week in my 20’s…
How to detach from a task: think of mentally filing a certain task in a folder in your brain and setting it aside. File it away and tell yourself you know you will get to that folder at a later time. Open another folder in your brain and focus on that one file alone. In this case, that file would be relaxing. Tell yourself you will keep this folder open and focus exclusively on that during your designated time.
Since my schedule runs around our kids’ schedules, this “down time” varies each day and week. I don’t have a nanny or domestic help, so I have learned to be creative on when and where this happens in my day. Sometimes it’s 30 minutes of lying on the sofa with a cup of hot herbal tea, sometimes it’s a two mile walk with my horse, and sometimes it’s an uninterrupted hot bubble bath at 9:30pm. Highly recommend hot baths to hit the reset button!
Other relaxation ideas: 30 minute walk, meditation, prayer, yoga, 20 minute cat nap, massage, knitting, or any creative project that quietens your mind.
5. Get adequate sleep. I know there are geniuses and successful peeps killing it out there and getting only 3-4 hours of sleep a day. I applaud them. I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. This chick needs 7 hours/night minimum to function at normal capacity. Without sleep, I feel less strength and more stress.
The perfect amount of sleep we ideally need to balance our bodies is – get ready for it- 9 hours. That’s right, we need three sets of three hour increments of sleep. Raise your hand if you’re getting that. (crickets chirping in background) According to sleep experts, there are important cycles that the brain and gut must to go through to re-balance before the next day in order to maintain good health. Also, if your body doesn’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels increase, which causes weight gain. I rarely achieve 9 hours, but it’s definitely a goal I work toward each week. Most days I feel pretty good with 7 hours.
For those of you who stay at home with babies or toddlers – don’t make the mistake I did and skip napping or resting while they nap. Forget the dishes and laundry and rest while your little one naps. I can’t stress this enough. Looking back, this was one big mistake I made in those earlier years of child rearing.
If you can’t fall asleep easily, try reading a book. Works like a charm.
Hope you found some helpful tips here. Feel free to share any great tips you have for surviving a busy schedule. I would love to read about some of your tried and true methods : )