Ah, Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it or hate it, this “Hallmark holiday” provides us all an opportunity to show or tell those around us how much we love them. For many of us, it’s a day that reminds us to stop and spend some extra time with those loved ones. But what about every other day? Between work, school, training, kids, parents, pets, trying to eat healthy, and just life, how do you manage it all? If you have it figured out, we would love to hear from you. If not, keep reading. We’ve scoured the internet seeking advice from some of our favorite athlete-authors and have compiled below a few of our favorite tips. We found them helpful in our ever-changing quest to balance the things we love—and hope you do too.
- Be Realistic: Don’t try to be someone you’re not in the quest to do it all. Ask yourself: is this really going to happen? What are my alternatives? For example, even if you aren’t a meal-prepper, you might be able to do a crock pot of chili that will at least last your family part of the week. Or maybe you just buy everything you need to make your lunchtime salads at your office (a possibility of happening)—instead of stressing about preparing them at home while you are trying to get out the door (definitely not going to happen).
- It’s Okay To Give 50%: Many of us tend toward an “all or nothing” approach. While admirable, that attitude isn’t always going to cut it. If you only have 30-45 minutes to train or work out, take it. Find out just how wrecked you can be after a good short interval. If you only get 30 minutes with your family in a day, don’t beat yourself up about it. But turn off your phone, set aside your tasks, and just be with them. You’ll be surprised at how much time expands when you don’t try to multitask everything.
- Outsource, If You Can: If you can afford help with any number of routine tasks—cleaning (some services will even just do bathrooms), food prep, grocery shopping, delivery, curbside pickup, your taxes, dog poop pickup (seriously), you name it—and if you aren’t utilizing this help, this is your permission slip. Yes, it reeks of privilege. Yes, you should be able to do it yourself. And yes, you are outsourcing your life. Do it anyway and don’t look back.
- Try A Back Up Plan: Training plans are great. But they aren’t often flexible. If you can, it is helpful to have a Plan A, B, and C. Late night with a sick kid or pet? Looks like it is lunchtime yoga instead of an early morning spin. Last minute conference call thwarts your run? Maybe you can sneak out 30 minutes early for it later. If you always have another option or idea in your back pocket, it helps ease the stress of a working getting hijacked at the last minute.
- Get Serious About Priorities: It might be time to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. The lunches or drinks with colleagues might have to be replaced with noon runs or happy hour yoga. Your nightly Netflix show might have to be replaced with an early bedtime and a catch-up on the bike trainer the next morning. Or not. But sometimes managing it all means redefining what “it all” is. And that is okay.