Last summer, I thought I was busy: starting a new job teaching at an incredible school, coaching soccer at this new school, planning a wedding, trying to move into our new house and training for redemption at the Milwaukee Marathon.
This summer, I taught summer school, taxi'd triathlon kids to practice, researched family reunion vacation spots in Michigan, began my Masters program, and put in lots of time in the pool/lake, on the bike and on the roads running.
I remember when school started last year feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that I thought I had on my plate. Specifically, sometime in late September/early October, I remember my sister telling me, "Jac, no one likes to hear how busy you are. Everyone else is just as busy and don't complain about it." Anyone who knows Kristina can imagine what that sounds like. While she was (and is) right, I kept thinking, but no one is as busy as I am...I'm treading water over here!
Throughout this past year, I discovered that you are only as "busy" as you make yourself. Yes, I do feel like there is a lot on my plate right now, but clearly if I have time to write this, I am not completely overwhelmed. I found a few ways that I think really helped me to stop stressing about being so busy and thought I'd share.
First, I bought myself one of those agenda books. I used them religiously throughout middle school, high school and college and was always on top of things then, so figure in my professional life it makes sense to use one as well. In that agenda book, I wrote down all of the important dates for school, family, training, etc. I have dedicated a section in the front to my long-term "To-do" list and that each day I will write manageable tasks down that I can cross off as I complete. This has worked well for me in the past, but when school's out, I tend to get away from using it.
I really believe that crossing things off the list gives me this empowering feeling...I am proud of myself for making the most of my time and get satisfaction in crossing things off my list. I have also learned throughout the years not to put too many things on one day....it just makes you feel overwhelmed and like you are "treading water" and, really, you can't go through life feeling that way or you won't be able to enjoy it!
Second, I learned to ask for help. Actually, I should say I am learning to ask for help. I don't like "burdening" people and taking time away from their day by having them help me, but honestly, having help makes many things SO much easier and more manageable. People will tell you NO if they don't have the time to help you, so just start asking when you need it. It helps strengthen relationships I've noticed as well since it shows you trust the person.
Finally, allow yourself some "me" time. Not time when you're working out or doing something solo that is related to your profession. Give yourself some quality time where you can simply relax. I used to use the time I'd spend at the nail salon getting no-chip manicures as my "me" time as it was relaxing and I literally could not do anything with my hands (check emails, do school work, etc.) so it almost forced me to relax and just enjoy the moment.
Life is too short to go crazy being consumed with everything that is thrown at us. Make things manageable and don't fret if you don't cross everything off your list--the world will not end because you didn't get every single thing checked off of your list. Enjoy life and truly live it.
I posted below two awesome videos that I reposted on my Facebook because I just absolutely love their messages. The first one is Ashton Kutcher's speech at the Kids Choice Awards and he talks about "Living Life," being "sexy," and opportunities looking like hard work.
The second one is about body image--something I struggled with throughout college. While I never personally had an eating disorder, many people around me did--from my sophomore year in high school and really until today. I love food too much to ever give it up (let's be honest, just giving up junk for Lent is hard for me!!!), but I HATED how I looked in comparison to my teammates in college. I had definitely gained the "Freshman 15" and was ashamed when I'd see how the All American runners looked. But guess what? I'm running faster than a lot of them now, even though I have 10+ pounds on many of them. More about that in another blog, but I just had to post the message below.
(regarding "healthy" image)