Life lately has been really sweet, quiet and…normal. Matt and I have waited a long time for that and we are both so thankful. After long distance dating, two years of him being on the night shift and our wedding festivities, we finally have time to invest in our new city together and live life on the same schedule. I never thought I’d be so excited to just have a normal life with a normal schedule. I’m grateful for what we went through over the last few years, because it taught us both a lot about trusting God’s timing and showed us what we’re made of (the good and bad). When I wrote my New Year’s goals last month, one of the main things I wanted to focus on was trying to do a better job of keeping a life balance and I think now is the best time to start working on that. I realize this is a big goal, because it’s part of so many areas and aspects of daily life.
One huge part of finding life balance and learning to be a successful adult is realizing that even if everything fits in my schedule but I have no energy, something needs to give or else everything will suffer. My fellow middle class millennials will probably understand that we were raised to have jam packed schedules with school, trying to get into good colleges, sports, dance, music and then balancing our social lives or jobs. It’s like we weren’t okay unless we were stressed from having too much to do. It’s the American curse of always being in a hurry and validating ourselves with our busyness or our ability to be “better” than someone else. It’s all just about as unhealthy as it sounds. As we get older and finish college, it’s hard to figure out what our limits are and what we can actually handle without draining every ounce of energy from our bodies. It’s okay to give yourself permission to say no, relax and enjoy the hard work you’ve done. I have a really hard time with this concept, but I’m working on it.
While we are on the subject of keeping a good life balance, here are a few things I’ve been trying to do to keep life in order lately:
- Taking time to relax and have some quiet time. Whatever works for you-writing, reading, TV shows, coloring, just find something that helps you relax. Make time to pray, read the Bible, devotionals and other books that encourage you. I feel so much better when I give myself a little time each week to relax and recharge. I’m an introvert, so it’s really important I remember my limits and don’t let myself get too run down.
- Matt and I have been trying to make it a priority to have “date nights” at home during the week and a few date nights out with friends each month. We both have hobbies and things to do outside of work, so we actually schedule out nights where we can sit down together, talk, pray, laugh and watch one of our favorite shows together. When we make this time a priority, we both feel so much better and in-sync. Everyone knows it’s so easy to let life get in the way of your relationships, so you have to fight for them.
- Plan out meals for the week. I have only recently started doing this one, but it seems to help so much because it forces me to have a grocery list that covers everything for the week and it lets us both know how to plan out our week. I also think it helps save a lot of money when you have a meal plan. It’s extra work up front, but worth it.
- One of our goals last fall was to try to eat more veggies. The fastest and best way we’ve found to do this is to make smoothies. We both love them, so this wasn’t a difficult thing to do. I buy kale, spinach and other veggies that we really don’t want to sit and eat. I add in fruit, honey, seeds and basically whatever I have at home that sounds good in a smoothie. It helps us eat healthy even on evenings when we have dance or tennis.
- Make phone calls to family a priority. It’s really easy to let life get in the way of this one too, but with me living away from my family, I’ve found that I have to set aside time to call my family back home. I feel so much more connected to them and it really does bridge the distance.
- Celebrate the little things in life. We’ve had a lot of sweet, simple moments lately and I’ve been reminded of how important it is to celebrate the little things in life. Things like the first snow of the year, successfully cooked dinners (always a win-win), hearing my little niece yell our names for the first time (seriously, it’s the cutest thing ever), and quiet times at home with my best friend. I think Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best: “I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
- I’m learning most importantly that the best way to keep your life in check is to do everything for the glory of God. We talk about this with little kids all the time, but it takes on a whole new meaning as an adult. If you aren’t living your life with the purpose of loving Him and loving his people, everything else will fall out of place and eventually your life will seem kind of empty. Remembering why I do things and sifting through my purpose behind the actions I take has been a really good way to remind myself to do everything in love.