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Balancing A Busy Life
Finding balance in our fast paced world can seem impossible sometimes. I don't believe anyone has it figured out all the time. I know I don't. But I have learned some important things that help bring me back every time I get off balance. I think the number one important thing is to have down time. I feel lucky because I was raised to "keep the Sabbath day holy". I don't say this in a holier than thou, preachy way. I say it in the most grateful way. Every second of everyday is filled with something. Getting kids ready for school, the gym, playdates, errands, grocery shopping (although Walmart groceries online has changed my life), kids sporting activities, youth group, dance, piano, work, meetings....I could go on and on. But Sunday, since before I can remember, was alway reserved in my family as the day of rest. No matter how hard the week is, how jammed packed life it gets, I know that I go to church on Sunday, spend the day with family and focus on myself spiritually. For someone who has never done this, I cannot imagine how hard it would be to turn your life into a 6 day week. My suggestion, try it for a month. See if there is a difference. Just make sure you spend your day unplugged, with those you love and focusing on your spirituality or mental well being. This has been ESSENTIAL in keeping my sanity.
Learn to say NO. This could be saying no to people, electronics or work. Take note on how your busy schedule is affecting those that matter most. Your spouse, your kids, your close extended family and friends....and most importantly, YOURSELF. A spiritual leader that I revere, David O. McKay once said, "NO OTHER SUCCESS CAN COMPENSATE FOR FAILURE IN THE HOME." This quote has come back to me many times as I have struggled to figure out what is best for me and my family. And remember, the answers that are best for me AREN'T best for you. We all have different limitations and circumstances. Thats why YOU need to meditate on whats right for you indiviually, and as a family.
Make time for family dinner. There have been recent studies that have found that "teenagers who regularly eat dinner with their families are healthier, happier, do better in school and engage in fewer risky behaviors than teenagers who don’t regularly eat family dinners." (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/opinion/sunday/is-the-family-dinner-overrated.html?_r=0) My family does not sit down to a family dinner every night but our goal is 3 a week. Sometimes those dinners are bagels and scrambled eggs. It doesn't have to be gourmet, it just needs to be family time.
You're probably walking away after reading this thinking, "I'm now dumber after reading that!" Did I really just tell you to find balance in your busy life by giving you more to do? I must be crazy. Well, I am crazy but I promise this works. It's not always pretty and I'm still busy, but I feel more at peace with my busy schedule if I'm doing these things. I don't profess that any of this is easy. There are no easy answers when it comes to raising kids, busy schedules, being a working parent or life in general. This is just what works for me...and I've noticed when I feel unbalanced, one of these things is off.