On Balance

I’ve been feeling a little unbalanced lately. Writing about bows and Madewell clogs and DIY heart banners is fun and all but it can feel a little superficial at times, so I’ve been trying to prioritize my time making plenty of room for other grounding and thoughtful things, like reading, writing (not typing), spending time in the outdoors, and unplugging to be with my family. I’ve been reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society and it has sparked a new desire in me to write letters and place them in that box on our door where normally letters only come in.
Curious: How do you stay grounded and balanced?

{Colorful and simple paper supplies for letter writing from Painted Fish Studio}

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oh yeah, a little time in my kitchen does wonders too. All that chopping and sprinkling is very zen!!

hiking at least once a weekend, playing records, digging in the garden, having a dance party with the kiddos, making ourselves a fancy dinner just because, a good, hard laugh!!

I seriously feel like everyone I know, myself included, is hitting a similar wall. I am the same about my blog — I have always erred on the smaller moments side of things, rather than really personal. I try not to sit at the computer until I have had breakfast, been outside, read the paper, etc. So I feel like I am approaching the computer world, rather than the other way around. I just feel a lot more grounded that way and it helps me set a tone for how I want my day to go.I really try and limit the computer to work time hours, but here I am writing this at 9pm. So clearly, it doesn't always work. But it's something I strive for.

honestly? i stay balanced by letting myself lose balance every now and again. i make goals and lists and plans and post them on sticky notes and white boards and cork boards and day planners…and then every now and again i stay up until 1am on a weeknight, sprawled out on my roommate's bed listening to Bon Iver and rambling about nothing. And maybe making a slurpee run at odd hours of the night. Leaves me a little bleary eyed and maybe a sticky note or two undone, but it makes the heart happy…which seems to do a lot for "balance," it turns out.

I thought that book was just charming, and it made me want to frolic on an island. I know as much as I cam eliminate the noise the better, for me. And praying – that always seems to calm me down. Hope you have a good one!

Liz, you mentioned something about actually assigning time to things–this really helps me. I am a very list-oriented person, so on my 'fridge I have an outline of everything I need to do every weekday to keep my life running smoothly–housework, exercise, scriptures, time with kids, etc. I keep it in a sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to cross off each thing as I do it; I feel so much more organized with a visual record of what I've done and what I need to do.Going back to the time, some things on my list are just things to do (like vacuuming) and some are actual time increments (like reading stories to my children or one-on-one time with the children). It may sound a little silly to schedule in time with kids on my to-do list, but it ensures that they are prioritized along with everything else I need to do. It's easy to get to the end of the day–having spent all day WITH them–but not have spent any quality time with them. I started this about three years ago and it has made a HUGE difference.For exercise and my own personal time, I don't use time increments, because I'm usually just running a certain distance, so 10 miles is my goal rather than 70 minutes of exercise.

Liz, I love your blog. I don't know you personally, but somehow I started following your lovely posts and I was enchanted. Thanks for your thoughts.Balance…I write and I run. They are two things that I enjoy doing that are for myself every day (or at least most days). My kids mostly enjoy being pushed around in the double bob (aka their chariot). Also, I knew that I needed more mental grounding this year, so I decided to write my thoughts on a blog. I hope that some day my kiddos will enjoy reading what I write about our days together.Good luck in your balance quest. If there's anything that I know about being balanced, it's that everyone's equilibrium is different. 🙂

remembering that my husband and daughter are the only things that really matter….not creating perfect art, making the best recipes, getting in better shape, the list could go on and on and it can be overwhelming. All you need is love! "nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time, its easy, all you need is love" haha 🙂

PS I just played Angry Birds for the last 40 minutes. If only I could turn back the hands of time!

Yes. I totally relate. Today I tried not listening to my normal Britney Spear/Lady Gaga/Black Eyed Peas remixes while I do my runs. Instead I listened to an entire episode of This American Life. Feeling grounded already! and had something interesting to talk about at dinner. I talked about The Flop (see Cry Babies episode) Rob was so proud of my basketball knowledge.I read that book for book club. Im glad it's got u writing. I didn't like it. there's always got to be one hater at book club. This time it was me!

Hi Liz – I love your blog. And I can so relate to this post. It seems like the more time I spend online looking at lovely blogs with lots of beautiful things, the more I seem to need & want. I find that spending time with the kiddos – without thinking about how I can turn it into a blog post – helps immensely. Especially if we can get outside.Also, I find the "mark all as read" button in Google Reader to be a major stress reliever!

That is one of my favorite books! It always makes me want to live someplace where I can see the sea and the country all at once.

Great book! Might even be my favorite of all the books my book club has read in our 10 years together.Sometimes I'll make little deals with myself: I set the timer for 15 minutes and run around doing as much as I can (throw in some laundry, vacuum a rug, wipe down counters, etc.) and then when the timer goes off, I get to sit at the piano for a while or knit or whatever sounds good. Exercise is non-negotiable. I learned that the hard way when I put myself way at the bottom of the list throughout the adoption of our fourth child and her subsequent heart surgery. Not good for me or anyone else in my family. I'm so much happier when I get those endorphins going. Plus, it sets a good example for my kids.I'm writing a book here, but I also wanted to say that I liked your blog before, but I like it even better now that you've revealed a little more about yourself and your struggles with finding balance.

That book was a great little read. Yes- For certain things, I have to commit to a time slot, or it won't happen. It doesn't have to be by the hour, but I try to get out and about with Lucy in the morning, let the afternoon do what it does, and then hang out with Mike at night for at least a little while without a phone or a laptop. It seems to help keep my family, exercise and the outdoors front and center. Which are things that are important to me. Life is busy, so if I do at least those things and find extra time for myself at 3:30P or 2A to read, use the computer, work, stare at the wall/do nothing/whatever I want, then great! You seem to do everything and then some VERY well! Liz-it up, girl!

I've been feeling the same way. I feel like I got it right today…I put on my running shoes first thing this morning. And then I read my scriptures and made breakfast and played with my kids. And THEN I allowed myself to check my email and work on blogging and all that extra fluff. It's difficult for me to allot my time properly.I love the gardening idea! KaylaFreckles in April | a modest fashion and lifestyle blog

miss bee, i love the idea of growing something. we have a garden next door that i've been neglecting…perfect time to get my hands a little dirty!

These are all great ideas. Thank you so much! Do any of you actually commit a certain amt of time each day for doing these things (exercise, reading, etc)? I feel like I need to so I can really make a change. Kayla, I struggle with making this blog more personal and have always aired on the side of not divulging too much but maybe that's why it feels a little superficial to me. I guess that comes with that decision to talk about cupcakes and clogs as opposed to more personal matters

That book is one of my all time favorites! I echo everyone else's sentiments. Balance is a big struggle, esp. since I'm still starting out in the blogging world. The only New Year's resolution I made this year was to spend more quality time with my kids, down at their level. I feel like as long as I'm not missing out on these precious early years than it's ok if the house is a mess and i never cook anymore. I'm hoping more balance will come… eventually 🙂

Oh man, Liz, my blinks post today echoed similar sentiments. I've actually been toying with the idea of making my blog totally personal (only my own photos and stories, thoughts, etc.). Slowly, I can feel myself making that transformation, though I don't want to feel limited and don't think I actually will entirely. But in all honesty, whenever I realize I've been blog/pinterest/whatever surfing for 3 straight hours, I get super anxious and walk away from the computer. I'm still working to find the balance and forcing myself to limit Internet time. Real life is so much better. Because it's real.

Oh boy-that's always hard. John and I have an unspoken agreement that when dinner is done, so is blogging. It helps us enjoy each other, and keeps me from losing my mind!

Liz, I adored that book! You will love it. It is the only book I honestly finished last year amidst my completely unbalanced, business/blogging/toddler life. Here's to a year of doing what's important!

I totally relate! For the past few months I've been feeling conflicted about the level of consumerism that is attached to my blog. What helps me is getting outside and exercise! And reading a book (or new yorker) before bed is the secret to a good night's sleep. You can quote me on that.

Spending time away from the computer definitely helps balance me.

Being outdoors for sure, it always seems to put things in perspective. And exercise too – even if it's just a nice walk. And a little bit of solitude, maybe a nice lunch by yourself?Or combine all three: go take a nice walk by yourself outdoors. Ha!

I hear ya!! Stepping away, spending time with people I love and getting out of town help me. It's just hard to pull away from the computer. Trying to be better.

I just finished that book for my book club. Loved it and was not ready for it to end!! Great characters.I find if I make time to exercise, my whole day goes so much better. For some reason that is the key for me. It is my "me" time and it makes me feel great. Then I can focus on everything else life throws at me. So whatever your "me" thing is, I say make it a priority!

I take time to write in my journal, it helps me to reflect on my life.I also enjoy yoga because it frees my mind of everything.

Outdoor activities like biking and hiking! Yeay for summer!Playing It Cooley

taking days off from the blog, that is for sure. i just wrote about it today for the friend friday post next week. There were be a lot of bloggers talking about balance then!

I've felt the same way lately and I'm working on it. I've started really setting aside time to read, usually General Conference talks if I only have a minute. I've been leaving the house more for little trips and trying really hard to be done with all computer time before Ryan gets home at night. When I feel anxious about being away from the computer at all, I try to remember that it's not that important – most everything can wait. I like to take the weekends off even though my entire life seems like a weekend.

Liz – I'm going through the same thing. Not feeling grounded. I'm making an effort to read more. At some point I traded in my reading-before-bed time for internet-before-bed time and I miss that. I also am becoming very aware of the role consumerism is playing in my life. How can I simplify? I decided that I want to focus on my mind, body, soul, and home (family & dwelling). I would like to read one book a month pertaining to one of those areas and write about it. I'm going to focus on sustainability, responsible consumerism, on my passion for social justice, and start asking tough questions and seek answers.I think in order to accomplish that, I'm going to have to eliminate some of the "noise" in my life.

Staying balanced is hard. Every so often I need to re-evaluate what I'm doing and where I want to go to make sure those things are in line. I had the girls I teach write down their thoughts in ballet class on Monday and posted about it on my blog.

Good question. I think I am very addicted to the internet now, and even though I am finding lovely things to look at, I am not making anything, I am not DOING anything. I do know that writing in my journal and getting private time helps me balance.

i like to grow an herb from seed in a little pot whenever i get wildly out of balance. there's nothing more grounding than dirt and as a bonus, now i never have to buy basil at the store!

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