“How do you balance work, life and training?”
The short answer is that I give up on most of my adult responsibilities and daily basic needs such as showering, making myself look nice, making healthy balanced meals, cleaning etc. It’s funny…but it’s also true.
The long answer involves priorities. We all pick and choose the things that we make a priority in our lives. We all have the same hours in a day and that time is elastic. What I mean by that is, saying that we don’t have the time for something, really means we’re choosing not to make it a priority in our day.
For me, the choices I make for what my priorities are is a bit simpler than others. I don’t have kids and I am not going to school but those are both also active choices for me. I don’t have those things in my life because they aren’t as important to me. I want to have time in the day for myself, which seems impossible with children (if you have kids and train, I pretty much think you are a superhero). I also think I’m intelligent enough to get through life without going back to school to get a degree that may or may not end up putting me in the line of work I studied. That’s not to say that I don’t have things that take up my time. I work 40 hours at a job that involves a commute that takes up to an additional 10 hours (at minimum) of my week. I also have cats that I take care of and spend my time with (not the hardest thing in the world). Outside of that, I have a lot of things that I could do with my time but I generally choose to use the rest of my day to do the things I love; running, reading and binge watching television (yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m very passionate about my bingeing abilities and I’m not ashamed either). That’s not to say there aren’t days that I choose to do more adult things to take care of myself. I’ve recently started to take more time to make healthy meals because I feel better when I do. However I also am very aware of how much relaxing in my bed has contributed to less stress and my overall mental well being. Maybe when I find the right job for myself, the need for this will become less and less but I’ve never been one that feels like I need to jam pack my day with activities. I don’t think that’s how we should be living life but that’s just my own personal opinion. For some, that’s what helps keep them less stressed, so who am I to tell you not to do that? The point is, we all choose what’s more important to us in a day. If you find yourself trying to hard to find time for certain things and failing, the simple answer is that specific thing is not as important to you in the moment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing or something to feel guilty about and maybe that will change as life goes on. Most of us are lucky enough to choose how we want to spend our time and if we don’t choose it doing the thing we think we want, then maybe we don’t want that thing as much as we thought.
That being said, here are some things that I do to make time for the things that I want.
During the weekdays I run anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half a day so including travel time that’s about 2 hours I spend on just running. I am lucky enough to be able to choose my own schedule at work and I don’t go in until 10 am, making it possible for me to run in the daylight. Most of the time, I’m going straight from my run to work though so I’ve mastered the art of bringing easy to change into clothes and baby wipes. It sounds gross, but I got used to it and it’s the only way I can fit running in without having to wake up at the ass crack of dawn.
If you don’t have the luxury of a more flexible schedule then you need to make an effort to plan the day prior when you’re going to get your run in or likely it’s not going to happen. It’s not as sexy as just waking up and going when you feel like it but it’s necessary if you want to ensure that you’ll have the time if training is something that is important to you.
I am trying to cook for myself more often but I am also realistic and realize that I’m going to have days where I’m to tired to cook and if I don’t have something quick and easy to grab then I’ll end up going out to eat or ordering in. I keep things like tuna, yogurt, salads, boiled eggs, cheese and protein bars around. Most of the things I cook are really fast and easy as well. A lot of throwing things into a bowl and sauteing toppings in garlic, salt and pepper.
If you have a gross long commute like me, it feels like the worst waste of time. I try to use that time wisely though and listen to Podcasts where I learn something or sometimes I’ll actually just turn everything off entirely and allow myself to decompress. Not enough of us actually give ourselves the time to turn our brains off from the overactive world. Granted I’m still using brain power to drive and sometimes I need an actual distraction to get through the traffic but it is nice every once and awhile to allow myself that peace and quiet.
Don’t do it, especially during the week. I’ve learned its ok to say no to people sometimes because resting during the week is the most important thing you can do. Some people get stuck in the habit of working full-time, running and then trying to go to events and hang out every night. Maybe you have the energy to do that, but it doesn’t mean you should. Let yourself relax during the week as much as possible. When we try to fit a lot in we often realize way to late that we don’t have the mental or physical space for the things we need or want to do for ourselves.
I know that I have way less to balance in life than some people do and I have a lot easier decisions to make on a daily basis of what to do with my time. I in no way think that the way everyone has to balance life is the same as mine, however I do strongly believe in priorities. I frequently tell myself I want to eat healthier, spend more time foam rolling/stretching, get abs (lol dream big)…but there are days I choose not to make those things a priority and I have to live with that. Every day is a new day to decide what you want.
“Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light”