6 Tips for Balanced Living


Lately my life has been more hectic than I could have imagined. Our baby is due in just over 14 days.  I’m preparing for maternity leave, cooking extra meals so our freezer is well-stocked, organizing the baby’s room, have weekly doctor’s appointments, and am trying to tie up any loose ends before the big day gets here.

I’m striving for balance in the middle of what could be a really stressful time. I don’t want to feel pressure. I want to savor every moment. Though I won’t claim perfection, I can honestly say I’ve managed to do pretty darn well.

What have I been doing to stay balanced more of the time than not?

1. Every appointment and commitment goes into one calendar.

One central calendar lets me see everything going on in my life at a glance. Using more than one calendar is a sure recipe for disaster.

I use the iCal on my Mac which is set up to automatically sync with my iPhone and iPad. Each morning I review my daily calendar so I’m prepared for the day. I also set alarms with important appointments to help me remember commitments.

2. Plan meals.

This ends the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” It removes stress, ensures you’re eating nutritious meals, and helps to avoid last minute runs to the grocery store.

The other benefit of planning meals is that I can cook a double or triple recipe and freeze the leftovers. This has helped make stocking up for the weeks after our baby arrives simple. I suggest doing this on a regular basis to make meals on busy nights a breeze.

Check out my series, Meal Planning Made Simple. You’ll see how I plan meals and get free printables to help make it simple for you.

3. Be flexible!

This isn’t something I’m good at. I like to plan my day and execute it accordingly. Pregnancy has thrown me a few curve balls. I’ve learned to be flexible. I work when I’m able, sleep when I need to, and let go of things that aren’t important.

4. Get regular exercise.

Many people let exercise go when life gets hectic. At 38 weeks pregnant, I’ve got a good excuse to not get out and walk or practice yoga. I’m committed to making exercise a priority, though. It helps keep my body in balance, reduces stress, and boosts energy.

5. Ask for help.

I’ve always been one of those “do-it-myself-ers.” Pregnancy has taught me to ask for help. I don’t think twice about asking Joe to fold laundry while he’s watching TV or to take the dogs to the groomer. I even ask him to make dinner some nights. In a nutshell, I no longer try to do it all. I love it!

6. Take time for me.

When I look back over the most stressful times in my life, I see a pattern. I let self-care go and push myself to my limit. It doesn’t work. So, instead of burning myself out I take time every day to do something that feeds my soul. It might be reading a good book, having dinner with girlfriends, or just sitting quietly, resting, and breathing.

How do you balance your life?

Amy Green is a co-founder of The Balanced Platter and the author of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free where she shares simple-to-make, gluten-free, refined sugar-free recipes along with tips for living well. She also authored  the book Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less. Amy has been maintaining a 60+ pound weight loss due to the elimination of wheat and refined sugars.

24 Responses to 6 Tips for Balanced Living

  • Kim Lutz says:

    Your tips are great reminders for all of us, Amy, but will definitely come in hand after Baby Green comes into the world! I applaud you for remembering that taking care of yourself is an important component of keeping a balanced life (and a balanced family). I wish you a peaceful birth!

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Kim Lutz, Thanks, Kim!! We’re really excited. It’ll be interesting to see how life changes once our little guy is here. I am anticipating a big old learning curve. :)

    xoxo!

    [Reply]

  • These are all good ideas, Amy. I wish I’d learned more about them before my first baby arrived, but no matter the age, these are big helps for maintaining one’s balance daily.

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  • Alisa says:

    You are the queen of balance lady! If anyone can give advice on this topic, it’s you.

    Lists are a must for me, ones that keep me from forgetting things and help me feel accomplished even if my biggest success of the day was making the bed (some days just aren’t as successful as others!), and you’ve reminded me that I’ve lost that focus this year. Time to get it back! Going to make a Tuesday list now …

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Alisa, My hubby is the master of list making – I was struggling with all the different components of my life and he helped me straighten them out. I try to do the most important things first – sometimes, though, those urgent but not so important tasks take over. But, the list always helps me to get back on track.

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  • Maggie says:

    I have to agree with Alisa – you are so good at what you do. I think I’m doing well to remember each of these. Can’t wait till that babe gets here so I can skype with him :) xo

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Maggie, Yes, Skype will be too much fun once little boy Green arrives.

    xoxo!!

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  • Gail says:

    Amy, I am so excited for you and Joe–the birth of a baby is the greatest miracle, I think. As of late, I’ve been wondering when we might hear about when baby Green would be arriving. I thought it was almost time judging from roughly the time when you announced you were pregnant–doesn’t seem very long ago, but I am sure it does to you!

    What timely and useful ideas you share especially as I love to procrastinate in my more mature years. I wish I had access to all this healthy information that all you ladies in the blogging world provide back 30 plus years ago when I was pregnant and certainly not eating as healthy as I should have. But then again there wasn’t as much processed foods like we have today either.

    Thanks Amy, and take care!

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Gail, Yes – I agree! You had a huge advantage because food wasn’t so processed. Now we have to be so aware of what we’re eating and feeding our families.

    Baby Green should be here mid-February. Thanks so much for thinking of us!

    xoxo,
    Amy

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  • Sherrie says:

    I love this! I am the queen of “I can do everything by myself” and it’s exhausting.

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Sherrie, Oh yes it is! I finally learned my lesson being pregnant because I’m tired all the time anyway. I couldn’t take the exhaustion of doing it all on top of that.

    I still struggle with feeling guilty that I can’t do what I used to but my solution there is to do what I can and be flexible.

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  • Kim Maes says:

    Great tips, Amy!! I am agreeing with the other gals here. I think you seem to have balance mastered pretty well. I still have to work on #5. That is my biggest downfall. But I even put it on my vision board so that I can make sure I get better at it! I had to laugh when you said you do not think twice about asking Joe to fold a load of laundry while watching tv. I do the same now, which I never used to do since Kurt does do so many other things around here. But man, it felt so good to let someone else do it. LOL

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Kim Maes, Pregnancy forced my hand on that one…and I’m still working on it too. But, I’m better than I used to be. I dropped the ‘perfect wife’ complex and decided if I want the laundry to get done I have to ask for help. It does feel so good to let someone else help, huh?

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  • Vicky says:

    I love this post Amy! Exciting times for you! By the sounds of it you’ve got everything in place!

    [Reply]

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Vicky, I’m a HUGE work in progress. I’m better than I used to be. :) I’ll take progress any day.

    [Reply]

  • Kathryn says:

    Wonderful post – balance is so important. Wish I’d had it as together as you when I was your age. 5 & 6 continue to be problems for me but I’m working on it. =D Your site is new to me and I’ve enjoyed checking it out today. Best wishes for a happy and healthy delivery.

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  • Simple lessons sometimes (often actually) learned the hard way. :) Great advice Amy. I think I more or less try to do these things. The only thing I fail miserably at is planning my meals. So going to look through your posts and try to incorporate your ideas. Thx!

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  • Kim says:

    Awesome post, Amy! You are so organized! I really try and make a great effort early in the day, but I usually get derailed at some point!

    Kim

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  • Lotus Flower says:

    Excellent tips . . . best of luck to you and your family for a blessed birth!

    [Reply]

  • Yasmine says:

    Some very good suggestions. I married later in life, and I was use to doing everything myself. Sometimes, I wonder, if I’m just not asking my husband to help in just the right way. It usually gets to the point where the dishes are piled up and he doesn’t have any socks. My husband has point blank said that the housework in my responsibility. He will help sometimes but he always seems to point out what he has done and wants some kind of credit. We were both single for so long, I’m afraid we are both stuck in our ways. How will I ever get him to pick his clothes up off the floor? I know that I have to be skillful in the way I ask him, but I haven’t learned that yet. I just get upset or give up. Any ideas?

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  • Ricki Heller says:

    Thanks for these tips, Amy, which are much needed and much appreciated by this “do-it-herselfer”. Gotta learn to ask for help AND to find that balance! You are a great role model for that–you do it so well. :)

    [Reply]

  • Cara says:

    Great tips, Amy! I think asking for help is something many people struggle with. It’s so important to realize that we are not any less because we can’t “do it all.”

    [Reply]

  • Alta Mantsch says:

    Love these tips, Amy. I’m going to need to re-read them often to remind myself to follow your advice – like the “asking for help” thing!

    [Reply]

  • Amy,
    This was a great “sneaky peak” into how you manage to get everything done!
    I MARVEL at what you are able to achieve.
    We are all striving to achieve a better balance in our lives and these are some fantastic reminders.
    I am so excited for you and Joe.
    Enjoy this very special time.

    [Reply]

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