Balance: Finding the Path

Balance. It’s something we all strive for in our daily life. I’ve struggled with it immensely this year. Between family, writing and social media, I felt as if I was taking two steps back for every one step forward, and so something had to change. Many writers, like me, have been busting their butts trying to build their platform, but at what cost?

Since summer began my focus has shifted. I’ve returned to what I find to be a healthier approach to my daily grind. It was so gratifying and validating to read Anne R. Allen’s 7 Ways Authors Waste Time “Building Platform” on Social Media. Your struggle may be with different elements than mine (work, friends, and/or any other number of other commitments), but what you find here should help you, regardless.

~Pause and Slow Down~

Relax and Breathe

Since school let out, the kids and I have been on the fast track. It’s been go, go, go every day. I think they’re trying, to fit all of summer into the first few days. All the closeness, without the separation school allows is not always a good thing. Fighting is an everyday occurrence. To combat the ever-growing irritation and aggravation, we have introduced a few minutes of relaxation and meditation into our daily routine.

Whether it’s calming argumentative kids, looking for artful inspiration, or just getting your day underway, this is an ideal way to start. Slow and deep steady breaths with a warm cup of tea, enjoyed somewhere calm and quiet is one way to do this (no television or internet surfing allowed). Clear your mind of all projects and problems and focus on something that is representative of your soul’s a peaceful center.  

The kids and I forgo the tea and sit in a comfortable circle on the floor, arms open. I can then enjoy my calming tea later in the evening. It’s important not to rush or close yourself off to the process. If you have trouble achieving a quiet meditative state in the beginning, you might want to use mood music, such a nature sounds, and burn incense to help relax your mind. It might surprise you how much of a difference ten or fifteen minutes a day makes.

~Get Up and Move~

RunnerFinding time for a full workout everyday isn’t always easy, but keeping active is important. As writers, it is easy to find we have spent the entire day sitting on our butt in front of the computer without even realizing it. In 2011 I committed myself to eating right and exercising. The result―I obtained my ideal weight, and I felt great! Shortly after that I began blogging. With little time for both, my routine fell apart and so did my eating habits and weight. It doesn’t need to be that way. I’m exercising again, blogging and tweeting less, and I’m feeling healthier once more. Everyone’s schedule is different. Find what works for you. I do a mix of Beach Body’s P90x, Insanity, and 10-Minute Trainer.

Working out energizes the body and leaves you craving more. It makes you want to eat healthier foods and keep to a more appropriate sleep schedule.

Do you simply need motivation to step away from your desk and move every hour? Kristy K. James has the Facebook group for you. You’ll find support in the 5 For Fitness. Jump on board. If you’re looking for a blog stop, Ginger Calem’s Chaos is the New Calm is a great place to start.

~Eat Right~

It really is about 80% what you eat. Make sure you’re eating the right foods and that you’re consuming the right amount of calories for your body type and activity level. Too much or too little and you are undermining your efforts. Yes, too little works against you, as well. The body will hold on to the fat rather than burn it, if you aren’t eating enough on a regular basis.  

Calculate your required calorie intake

I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time getting my kids to eat healthy meals. Last night was a huge success when I made Mongolian Beef. Depending on your portion size, this meal should serve up at approximately 243 calories.  Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes.

Mongolian BeefTo make the soy sauce, combine the following ingredients. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sambal oelek (chile paste)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

 You’ll need the following ingredients to continue:

1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
16 medium green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp peeled and minced ginger

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and steak…sauté for two to three minutes, or until meat looks cooked. Add onions and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, cook for one minute, stirring continuously.

This serves nicely over rice or rice noodles.

~Enjoy!

~Immortal Monday: Pandora’s Box~

In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth. She was given many gifts by the gods. The box was actually a jar—a large jar she was never meant to open. As the story goes, when Prometheus stole fire from the heavens, Zeus repaid him by presenting Pandora to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus. She was then given the jar with the instructions to never open it. Of course, her curiosity got the better of her. When she opened the jar she released all the evil of the world.

Catch up on Thor’s latest mayhem:

Ted Strutz at TedBook … The Departure (Part 6)
Ted Strutz at TedBook … The Mausoleum  (Part 5)
Ted Strutz at TedBook… Paradise Found  (Part 4)
Ted Strutz at TedBook … Day Trip to the Magic Island  (Part 3)
Ted Strutz at TedBook … Adjusting to New Surroundings (Part 2)
Ted Strutz at TedBook … The Arrival  (Part 1)

What will Thor do next? Where will he show up? There is still time to get your name on the list. Just leave a comment on the blog and let me know you want to participate and we’ll get you on the list.

 ~Scheduling~

Moving forward, this blog will post once a week on Mondays. A comprehensive Immortal Monday will be scheduled for the first Monday of the month with smaller, informative tags, like the one above, to be included on the Mondays in-between.

Look for your Thor Tour updates within regular Monday posts. Individual tour updates will be delivered when appropriate.

•          •         •         •

Update: Are you a fan of audio books? You can now purchase Open Doors Fractured Fairy Tales by Wayman Publishing in audio format on iTunes and Amazon. Isn’t that great news? In fact, a large stock of Wayman books are now available in audio book format. It’s worth a look if you like to listen to you books while driving or doing chores.

•          •         •         •

Do you have a process that works for you, as far as balance and scheduling is concerned? Maybe something that works especially well for the fun-filled days of summer. Do you include any form of meditation in your daily routine?

Next Monday we will have a regular Immortal Monday post, then return to a format similar to this one.

~oOo~

Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate your support. Until next time, au revoir.

I would  love to have you subscribed to this new blog. If you enjoyed this post and would like to receive future writings by email all you need to do is enter your email address at the above right (below my picture) and hit the “Subscribe” button.

Debra Kristi, Author

16 thoughts on “Balance: Finding the Path

  1. Emma Meade

    I feel like I’m never getting ahead in the writing department. It’s hard not to get disheartened, but I know I need to cut myself some slack. I’m heading over to read Anne’s post in a minute – thanks, Debra.

    Great advice: balance, right food, some exercise – now if I only I would adopt it! Enjoy the time with your kids. I can’t believe how fast the summer holidays came around this year.

    PS: Your beef dish looks delicious.
    Oh – one last thing. I read your story in the anthology, very sweet, a little sad at first, but a unique take on the Humpty Dumpty story.

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack or will burn out. That’s my theory. I can’t tell you how happy my family was when I told them I was cutting back on blogging. Play with your schedule. You’ll know when you’re getting close to what works for you. You’ll feel better.

      If you’re a meat eater, give the dish a try. Everyone (aside from my daughter picking out the onions because they were spicy – LOL) wanted seconds. Okay, that kills the calorie count, but says something about the dish. I kept to my small portion.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my little story. When you think about it, Humpty Dumpty is a sad tale. I tried to give him a happy ending after all was said and done.

      Reply
  2. Patricia

    Excellent post! Excellent goals!! Excellent advice!!!

    i think women especially try to hard to do it all. We don’t need to do it all. Especially all the time. Sometimes we can do it all and sometimes it all we can do to get one thing done. Either way, it’s okay. We have to give ourselves permission to let something go.

    Thanks for the reminders and kudos to you for knowing your limitations.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      Thank you, Patricia. I hope you found something useful in this post.

      My kids remind me of my limits every day. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Marcy Kennedy

    It sounds like you’ve made the right choice for you and for your family. I’ve gone down to one post a week at least for the summer as well. When fall hits, I’ll see how things are. For me, I really wanted to invest more time this summer into non-blog writing without having to sacrifice time with my husband or elderly grandparents.

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      I can completely understand where you want to invest your time. Especially with all the other things you have going. I think you made the right choice for you, as well. The family is far too important. Best of luck to you.

      Reply
  4. Eden Mabee

    After taking a weekend “off” from the whole social media scene because of the whole June Experience, I totally understand what you mean about too much together time… Summer vacation? Well, for some.

    The beef dish sounds delicious. But thank you more for reminding me to get my bottom out of this chair, Debra. 😀

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      I’m glad I could bring you a helpful reminder.

      You know, I would embrace year-around school. Maybe then we might get a vacation at a time my husband could actually take time off. How great would that be? But summer vacation? It is for the kids, and they have a hard time seeing that Mom still needs to get work done. Hmm.

      BTW, absolutely LOVE your tour pictures. I really hope to get back there again some day soon. So much history, it makes my heart swell.

      Reply
      1. Eden Mabee

        Oddly enough I don’t mind my son home as much as my husband… I think because we school part time and the Boodle always has been home and seen me working at my writing. But the husband… He had “projects” (though I will be glad for the new kitchen!)

        Thank you for the nice words on my England tour, Debra. I’m having a lot of fun with these posts, meeting people who have been there and trading experiences. It is an lovely place. Magical even… at least sometimes.

        Reply
  5. Diana Beebe

    Summers are such a different schedule for us, too. I have to slow down on blogging (and even reading them :-/) to find balance. I hope you have a great week!

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      Life – seasons. It’s always a constant shifting of balance. I hope you have a fantastic time on your vacation. I expect to see a picture post upon your return. 😉

      Reply
  6. Karen McFarland

    Good for you Deborah! Sometimes it all can get too much. Your family comes first. And well, there’s your sanity also. I hope you enjoy your summer with the kids. I know it’s demanding, but the time will go by fast, as it always seems to do. So gather your brood in a circle and savor the tea girl. You deserve it! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Emma Burcart

    I feel like balance is something that I am always working on. Lately, the whole social media thing has begun to feel overwhelming. Especially on the weekends. So, when I was at my grad school residency for 10 days, I completely turned off from social media. It was really nice to just focus on school and the people around me. Now that I’m back home, I hope I can find a way to balance it all out. No summer break for me, as I am at a year-round school. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Lynette M. Burrows

    Great post, Debra. I’ve cut back on the blog and social media as well. But I’ve forgotten some things like morning meditation, thanks for the reminder. My take is that in order for writers to write we must also live our lives. Good for you to claim your life back.

    Reply
  9. Kristy K. James

    Well you can see how far behind I am on visiting blogs. Thanks so much for the shout out. 🙂

    Good ideas for keeping life in balance, to. What’s working for me? Trying to get more sleep. I actually slept 8 hours…minus a couple of trips to the ladies room because I’m also working hard to bump up my water intake. I’m also napping a little more often. Being better rested makes everything easier. 🙂

    Reply

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