Thursday, August 7, 2008

Get The Balance Right

I used to have a problem saying "no."

Not for THAT, you perves, but saying "no" to friends, to dinners, to parties, to events. I would end up somewhere and be totally resentful that I was there, when I would rather be home or doing something else.


As I growsed up and turned the big 3-0, my priorities changed. No longer was being at every party or every hot club important. But my health and fitness and self worth were more important. I started saying "no" to things and "yes" to myself.


Flash forward to now. I have a pretty consistent routine, even when not in training-mode. I run in the mornings before work. And I do yoga in the evenings after work. My runs are usually not interrupted by LIFE, except for the occasional morning of extreme exhaustion (read: hangover). But yoga on the other hand is frequently interrupted by a birthday or friend dinner or late night work event. And I'm finding myself starting to get resentful of this.


I know I need balance in my life and friends. So why do I get so irritated when something comes up? Last night I was invited to dinner and didn't want to say no, so I missed yoga. Tonight is a bday party with a friend who lives out of town and happens to be in town today. So I can't say no. That's 2 classes in a row, interrupted. I enjoy myself when I'm with my friends and have a good time. It's just that I hate missing my "me" time. Then again, I'm sure I would hate not having any friends, too - ha ha.


I know other out there struggle with this balance thing.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments? Struggles?

40 comments:

Tiny Frog said...

I have no advice because I ALWAYS say no, especially when it comes to ruining my running schedule (when trainign for something) or if it impacts just my ME schedule.

The only advice is: learn how to say no. Or learn to live with resentment.

Marcy said...

Oy, since my life is currently run by the needs of others (which is probably also why it's so easy for me to say "no" :P). I'm with Tiny Frog . . .I always say "no" unless it's something important like a wedding or B-day, etc . .. F That Sheet, I NEED my alone time LOL.

Are you feeling like your friends don't do the same in return? Is that where the resentment is coming from? Like you have to go way out of your way to accommodate their needs but they don't do the same in return?

the gazelle said...

Whatever you learn, I hope you share it, because I can't say no (and yes, when I was single, I couldn't often say no to THAT, either).

I need to get an "injury routine" so that I'm still getting my (limited) exercise in and not compromising what little I can do.

Laura said...

I'm similar with saying no - I'm a total people pleaser and often screw up personal stuff by agreeing to do more work than I need to, go to events I don't want to go to, etc.

I'm reading the latest Lauren Weisberger book, "Chasing Harry Winston," and one of the main characters has a thing where on Monday night it is her alone time, and none of her friends are allowed to make plans with her, call her, IM her, stop by, etc. It struck me as totally anal but kind of a cool idea!

N.D. said...

I feel the same way, and have a similar schedule as you, and pretty much I don't miss morning workouts unless I am dying or didn't sleep enough. I probably don't have as many events for b'days and things since my friends are all over the place and not really local, but I feel like it isn't enough to really interfere, and meeting up with friends is so healthy and good for us! Maybe choose one a week if more than one comes up? It stinks most yoga classes are right around dinner hour.

*aron* said...

i completely agree... i hate being out of my routine and sometimes start resenting whatever is going on that is taking me away from it. so i just try and find a balance and work around things and be flexible with the schedule even though that doesn't work all the time.

The 311 Boys Mom said...

My life is run by others, just happens to be kids & what not. I've never NOT had a kid (I was 18 when I had my first & 30 when I had my 2nd/last). I've just started taking me time. Ironically I feel guilty just about all the time I am away. Not as guilty as I used to be…….now I only call if I’ve been gone more than an hour……I used to call every half our………

I'd say do one thing a week.....maybe skip the night of yoga where sweat flinger guy is there??? I wouldn't feel bad about missing that night. :O)

I will also tell you, I had what some would consider me time, but it was kid time & I lost LOTS of friends not being available or too busy for them, eventually they stop calling. I can’t tell you how much that sucks. You want & need your friends.

Running Knitter said...

Learning how to say no can be very difficult, but it does get easier. A friend coming in from out of town, or a wedding, etc. is one thing, and probably doesn't happen very often. The dinner you were invited to for last night - was it to celebrate something? Was it a last minute invite? Could it have been re-scheduled to a night when you don't have yoga? Maybe if you tell your friends that unless it's something special, you won't be able to attend because of yoga, will they be more understanding?

Sorry for the long post - hope it helps. :)

chia said...

I'm slowly becoming the "Yes-Butter."

Yes, but... it has to be later, non-smoking, veggie-friendly and I'm leaving at 10 to make sure I'm in bed in time.

Ya, it's a start. Not quite "no" but not as fun as a "yes."

Zombie Mom said...

No advice here as I am recovering people pleaser...

I HATE! missing a workout and, frankly, just won't let anything get in the way of a minimum of five runs a week- well, OK, the time the Commander had eColi and were at the hospital, I let the mileage slide... I actually overbook my runs so I can get those five in... sometimes it means I run twice in a day, better that than none..

Now yoga, pilates and lifting... those sessions are often sacrificed to the two kids, career and/or friends thing... I also find myself struggling with loving my family and friends, but wanting to get into the gym....

I am making a home yoga studio space to see if that will help me any....

Good luck...

Flatman said...

Only be friends with people in your yoga class? ;)

Xenia said...

I suck at not being resentful too. I'm with Marcy on this one--are your friends reciprocating with losing some of their me-time? If not, then nip it in the bud pronto.

Judi said...

Compromise girl. Compromise. Learn how to say NO.

Jess said...

I'm like you, I always say "yes" to the socializing. But for me, people are always more important than my training schedule. In the end, I figure what good is it if I'm fit and healthy, but all alone?

Plus, my definition of "healthy" includes the mental and emotional lift that friends and family provide. Exercise gives us a lot of mental and emotional assistance, but our peeps do too.

Jess said...

I'm the same way...I find it really hard to turn down socializing time, but I hate missing my workouts too. I guess I make a trade off from time to time to keep the balance happy.

teacherwoman said...

Yeah those are difficult things to balance, but remember, like you said, you would hate not having any time with friends too. This week's just a busy week!

Reluctant Runner said...

Good question ... I've been trying to think of "balance" over a longer timespan -- like a week or even a month. This week, more "me" time; another week, more "family time"; and other times, more focus on "friends". Then I try to take stock from month-to-month to see if everything feels in balance. I'll let you know how it goes.

BTW, I am loving you this week because I went back through your blog and picked a bunch of "songs of the day" to freshen up my iPod mix. It made me appreciate how your songs of the day are often a sly commentary on your posts. Clever POM!

M*J*C said...

I feel ya on this one, especially since one of the things I swore I was going to do this year was "get a life" and it's hard to do when you keep turning people down so that you can do your own thing...then Friday night comes and you're like "Damn why don't I ever have anything to do?" So I have been trying to look at things in the bigger picture of 1 month (if I miss 3 days at the gym this week, that sucks, but if it works out that over the month I only miss 3 it's not so bad).

M*J*C said...

I feel ya on this one, especially since one of the things I swore I was going to do this year was "get a life" and it's hard to do when you keep turning people down so that you can do your own thing...then Friday night comes and you're like "Damn why don't I ever have anything to do?" So I have been trying to look at things in the bigger picture of 1 month (if I miss 3 days at the gym this week, that sucks, but if it works out that over the month I only miss 3 it's not so bad).

Fian said...

After a whole summer of saying "yes" to friends and family, I gained more than 30 pounds! I'm going back to saying either "no" or "yes, but ..." -- it's OK to leave early, arrive late, catch up with people later, etc. most of the time. The occassional disruption won't seem so bad if you don't let yourself get pulled away too often, I think. I'm trying that strategy now. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Michelle J said...

p.o.m. i will always say yes to a friend who suggests we go for a run! All the others, well if eating is involved i may still say yes, but mostly i try to devote time to "me"! Gotta take care of numero uno right?

Stephanie said...

I know that doing yoga by yourself isn't the same as a class....but if you go out for the evening, can you do it by yourself later? Better than nothing! :)

Stephanie said...

Hehe - just after I read your post, I found this . . .

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/08/simplify-your-life-delete-unwanted.html

Thought it was somewhat appropriate. :)

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Ok. So I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but its a thought. AND that's what you asked for:P

What I was tought to do when I was goal setting and stuff was to write down my goals and then decide how realistic they were by making a balance chart. Basically, you look at what you want to do, and decide where your priorities are and then figure out if it is all realistic or if you're taking on too much.

So, there's 168hrs in a week. My 'balance chart' looks sorta like this:

1) School-25hrs
2) Homework-20hrs
3) Training- 12hrs
4) Cross training- 4hrs
5) Sleep-56hrs
6) Friends- 10hrs
7) Family- 10hrs
8) Work- 20hrs

This then leaves 11hrs for time to play with. I'm sure there are yoga classes at different times. So, if a friends party gets in the way of Yoga then maybe just play with your schedule and do yoga at a different time, or try another kind of Yoga. Ashtanga is a pretty intense yoga, and hatha is a nice light stretch. Also, look around for studios around your area that offer a runner specified yoga. Might be interesting to try.

If that's not possible, then maybe go to the party late or try to weigh the pro's and cons of going out. Are you going to be resentful of that friend for always making you miss that class? Is there anyway you can shift your run an hour? Or go run an hour earlier? I know we're creatures of habit, but sometimes switching things up might not be so bad.

The moment you are unhappy, that's when you are out of balance. If you know what your priorities are, it'll help you make a better decision. And these priorities can totally shift.

[Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rythym and harmony.]

Good luck. Sorry if this was long winded!

Charmaine said...

Honor your friends more then your yoga.

The Young Family said...

It is hard to balance things, but be grateful for wonderful friends, they are few and far between!

Em

Marci said...

Unless its a b-day dinner, ask your friends to join you at yoga. You can always go for coffee after.

carla said...

I WAS horrible at this and now?
methinks Ive gone too far the other way.

Miz.

Mark Salinas said...

Either way it works! :)

Sagan said...

Missing out on "me" time sucks. Any way that you can take the class at a different time?

Alisa said...

I echo what others have said, I LOVE my routine (though it's been interrupted by my four-legged friend). It is hard to say no and often, for me at least, I feel guilty when I do. I've tried to make friends who understand the routine or even those who want to join me but it is still hard.

I'm going to ask similar questions to Marcy's, where is the resentment coming from? Do you feel your friends aren't reciprocating?

It's a tough stuggle. You don't want to be a recluse but you also want your "me" time. You'll figure out the right balance.

Mrs. K said...

that's a toughie- certain things I don't compromise- for example, I MUST be able to play tennis on Tuesdays, Wed and Fridays. The other days I play for pleasure so if that gets interrupted, it's ok. So maybe give yourself some breathing room on your schedule- tell people you'll join them for dessert instead of dinner if you want to go to yoga first. I have a friend like this- she'll never come early because she won't skip spinning. And it's ok- she shows up when she does, has a couple of drinks and done.

ThickChick said...

The Cub was just pointing out to me the other day that I never say 'no'. I need to learn, ASAP.

But really POM, is one workout per day not enough? Maybe you could do your morning runs and try to hit Bikram a few times a week versus all days of the week?

I know what you mean though - it's always something! There are always people inviting you to happy hour, birthday get-togethers, cocktail parties, BBQs, etc. etc. And it's great to have friends, but balance is essential and I certainly don't have the answers as I'm quite the 'YES' (wo)man myself.

Brianna said...

Life balance is NEVER easy. I think balance can really change from one day to the next - what works for you one day might not have the same fit the next. It can also mean that you look at balance over the course of a month instead of balance in one week.
2 days of interrupted schedule CAN tailspin into more if you let it, but it can also be a refreshing change that leads you to getting even more out of the "me time" that is awaiting you in your normal schedule.
If you find that you aren't enjoying the deviation and distractions from your usual life rhythm, then that's your brain's signal to you to stay the course and stick with the plan.
I'm stuck in chaos mode myself, so anything planned sounds fabulous. Funny how chaos has become my normal. I'm hoping that changes with the return of my son to school!
And one last thing (sorry for being so wordy today!) - thanks for your kind words at my blog earlier this week. I'm so glad your niece is enjoying the book! You can let her in on a few little secrets - the "coach" illustration is a painting of me in my favorite running top and the dog in the book is our dog, Albus. :)

Crystal said...

Balance is very hard to maintain when you are trying to have time for yourself and still make time for others. I think it's just a matter of weighing each choice and deciding from there. We never seem to have enough time for everything.

rinus said...

Do what you wanne do and take that rest in your live!.
Groet Rinus.
http://rinusrunning.punt.nl/?home=1

Charmaine said...

Plus, I've never had a problem saying no. I have a problem saying yes.

But you already knew that.

hee hee

Mendy said...

This is a hard one. I, like a few others, have my life run by others, i.e. a toddler and my hubby's workout schedule. I just try to find a balance and that means saying no to socials (that have no reason of getting together but for the sake of getting together - you know?). If I know I have to go to something at night (on thur I went to a movie with frineds so I got my workouts done in the am/lunch), so I wouldn't miss them. I know that's difficult for a lot of people that don't have a gym close by...

The fact that you're trying to find balance is a good thing though. If you were 100% 1 way or the other, then that would be hard for you to work with.

Your runs look great!! training is going awesome for you.

Frayed Laces said...

I hear ya on that. I find that I tend to behave in waves of two weeks. For two weeks I slack off and become the best friend ever, but then I feel guilty about slacking and spend two weeks being the best athlete ever. Surprisingly, my friends understand.

SJ Goody said...

I am the same way. But - there definitely has to be a realistic balance. Is it realistic that you will run every morning for the rest of your life? I'd say YES. Is it realistic that you will run AND do yoga every day for the rest of your life? I'd say probably not. So, what about changing up the scheduling... find some morning yoga classes?