Making Space for Myself

Photo by  Carli Jeen

Photo by Carli Jeen

Recently, I've been realizing how off-balance my life has become. Despite the fact that I run this Balanced Ninja web site, I haven't exactly been exercising a whole lot of balance in my own life. There is time for Izzy and time for work, and not a whole lot of time for much else.

There have been periods of life when I've complained that there's "not enough time," when, really, I could have created plenty more time by watching less Real Housewives or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram twenty times fewer per day. This is legitimately not the case now. Izzy and I are up and running at full-speed ahead by 6:30 every morning. I interview people all day and write their books in the evening, until it's time to go to sleep. Any time when I'm not doing this is dedicated to Izzy.  As it is, I don't feel like I have the amount of time I want to spend on either of these things.

This is simply a phase of life where there are too many things to do, not enough time to do them. In some ways, it's a wealth of riches because both Izzy and writing books are things I love deeply. So, don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the end of the world. I'm talking about life as a single working mom. Or a working mom. Or a mom. Is it worth it? Hell, yes. Is it healthy? Mmmm, probably not.

I don't need hours and hours of Me Time. But to be the best version of me, I do need a little bit of time for yoga, meditation, and some personal writing. I need to create some space in my life for me.

This week, I started a program at work called Whole Self. This involves picking a co-Tribe member as a Whole Self Guide, working together to come up with a plan to tackle two goals from three categories (Work, Self, and Relationships), and executing that plan for the duration of the month. On a monthly basis, you meet with your Whole Self Guide to check in, and create new goals for the coming month. It's all about accountability. I'm good at accountability when it's to other people, but not as good as I'd like to be when it comes to accountability to myself (working on it). This is a great program for someone like me.

As I talked to my Whole Self Guide, I realized that all of the things I want to achieve in my own life come down to one of two issues. The big one for the purpose of this blog is creating time for myself. At pretty much any other point in my life, I could have carved that space out by whittling down the time I spend on something less important. That is not the case right now. 

So, instead, I decided to attempt getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning for five days, and to dedicate that early-morning time totally and completely to me--to yoga, meditation, writing, and anything else I want to do specifically (and only) for me. For some people, this would be no big deal. But, to put it lightly, I'm not a morning person, so this plan sounded pretty abysmal. Nonetheless, I didn't have a lot of other options, so I decided to try it anyway.

What do you know?! I freaking loved it. I was less tired and less stressed last week than I have been at any point in recent memory. It has also transformed my yoga, meditation, and writing practices into things I get to do, instead of things I have to do. Because my time was so limited before and I was either trying to cram these things into time that didn't exist in my day or feeling guilty for not creating time that wasn't there,  these things I loved turned into a chore. Last week, they reverted back to feeling like things that I love, and that I do solely because they make me feel good. Because they make me feel like the best version of me. 

An unintended off-shoot of this is that my mornings with Izzy were amazing all week long. Instead of being groggy, I was awake, invigorated, and ready to hit the ground running. We maximized all of our time together. Izzy is always in a jolly mood, but she was even jollier than usual last week. 

After a successful week of 5:00 a.m. mornings, I'm going to try this for an entire month and see where I end up.