Today I’m very excited to bring your a guest post! Alex wrote up a great post on the importance of trying (key point) to keep balance in your life.
I am so excited to be guest posting for Katie, I immediately emailed her once she put the option out there. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Alex over at The Run Within. I am a new blogger yet have been reading blogs for quite some time. I decided to blog because of this amazing community I saw in the blogger world, one that gave advice and support on such a large scale. As my blog tagline says, I am a laughing, running, eating with celiac filled girl just about to graduate from college to entering the work force.
This transition is one that is going to shake up my life in big ways so what better guest post to do than one about BALANCE.
Does balance exist?
I used to ask myself this a lot. I lived a jam packed, stress heavy, goal focused life. Yes, there was a lot that came out of that. I got good grades, was in leadership positions… but I kept coming back to that question does balance exist?
Let’s be real, I am not the queen of moderation but I learned that this ‘happy place’ can exist. Balance to me means I am living a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable… Yes ENJOYABLE. For so long I told myself that success meant achieving something and being perfect. I have learned that success comes from self appreciation and patience. Balance has been found in many parts of my life and this I am so grateful for. This took breaking down my black and white thinking and beginning to understand the gray area. Heck, you can learn a lot about yourself in that gray area.
1. Balance in FRIENDSHIPS. I am not the biggest ‘open book’. I tend to hide and suppress my emotions. I like to be alone. This made making those close friendships quite difficult.
I had this idea that I had to stand alone, I had to do everything for myself and that there was no one there to help me. Boy, was I wrong. Once I started breaking down that wall and allowing people to enter my world I found this dependence comforting. I realized the more I opened up, the more they would open up. It is important to take time for yourself, very important, but friends are what make life fun. With a friend, you will always have a shoulder to cry and a back to lean on. Where I would be without my friends today is hard to fathom.
2. Balance in RUNNING. When I wasn’t taking care of my body and not listening to its very smart cues, I got injured. I remember going to the doctor and him telling me that my pelvic bone stress fracture was usually seen in hardcore military personnel. Oh great. I am not going to sugar coat it, for someone who was used to running countless miles, this was devastating. HOWEVER, I needed this. I needed this rock bottom to realize the damage I was doing to my body. What I learned from six months of no running or exercise was that movement can come in many forms. I can finally say that I have a great balance in my daily activity, including one or two rest days, strength training and running. I do still prefer running but I am smart about my miles and training. I also listen to my body and if it isn’t feeling it, I obey. It is hard to admit but I am actually a much better runner now and have performed with faster times in my half marathons. Wait, my body is that smart? (Slaps the old Alex on the wrist!)
3. Balance in NOURISHMENT. It is hard to not compare what I eat now to what I ate when I was very sick with anorexia. What I see now are foods I once labeled ‘bad’ or ‘gross’ as daily staples in my diet. What I also see though is a stronger body, a more energized state, and a thriving personality. I let my eating disorder for so long dictate what I could and could not eat, I was miserable. It has been a process (and still a work in process) to find that balance with eating what I want, need and crave. Especially with being diagnosed with celiacs, I no longer use that as an excuse to feel unsatisfied. With this one, it is sometimes hard to not compare yourself to others. I get sucked into that trap sometimes but ground myself by understanding that my body needs something completely different than the female next to me.
4. Balance in ACHIEVEMENT. For so long, I thought I needed to succeed and be the best at everything I did. Not only that but I had to do A LOT. The idea of relaxing was not part of my vocabulary. However, I felt a burn out. A burn out of not enjoying even things I used to love and a burn out of a constant feeling of exhaustion. As hard as it was, I slowly began to commit myself to less. Guess what, I was actually happier! I felt like I had more of myself to give to the things I really wanted to do and even performed better in them. Coming out of inpatient treatment this summer and entering my last year in college, I knew I had to find a balance. Giving up my leadership position at a local non-profit was actually the best thing I did for myself. This semester I have returned to doing a few shifts there and I feel this renewed vigor I was lacking before.
5. Balance in BODY ACCEPTANCE. It would be a lie for me to say that I wakeup everyday loving my body. Far from it. But I don’t have to love my body to feel at peace with it. In the days that I truly am struggling to find that balance of body acceptance, I focus on the function it does like giving me arms that can extend around the shoulders of a best friend. It was difficult to go from such a distorted sense of what my body looked like to for once maintaining this healthy weight. I know comparing is my downfall so I consciously work on seeing my unique beauty for what it is rather than the stereotypical ideal that very few females naturally have.
Balance is a tough one. Not every day is full of balance but that is the beauty of it. Balance means that the good and bad equal out. Striving for balance is something I have worked on greatly the past year and something that has made me infinitely happier than I have ever been.
Thanks again Katie for letting me share this!
Thank you Alex for writing this for my blog! Now go check her out! This is a blog I read daily! I especially love the quote at the end, because it’s entirely true 🙂