…And Balance.

High lunge, low lunge (slight wobble). High lunge, rear leg lift, pump it, control. Tone those quads. Don’t wobble. Core strength…and into attitude. Don’t move. Hold it, breathe (Woooh…argh…keep breathing). That’s it, keep holding, we’re building the core muscles and down. Front balance plie…’

And here we go again, back to balancing whilst trying to do a million other things. Balance and control – a bit like life really. You see as soothing as the Piyo is, it’s a total balancing act. If you fail to cut it on the yoga mat, you can become frustrated and unfulfilled. Get it right – juggling all the moves, stretching completely and topping it off with a perfect balance – all after a ridiculous day at work, you feel like you’re actually winning at life!

And it’s that work/life balance, which for me (and I suspect most of you) is so difficult to get right. Friends, family, chores, work, relax lalalaing…it’s just so full on and crammed chock full of agendas to wade through and weekly mountains to climb. Sometimes it feels like I’m trekking the Sahara in flip flops with a camel on my back (I’d prefer that but on the back of the camel and dressed like an extra in Arabian Nights). Oh, we start every week with the best intentions: a cooked dinner, a run, children organised – all after a jam packed day at work. Then ‘bam’ mid week hits and the best you can do is freezer surprise, a quick dog walk to the shop and back, bedtime cuddle with the children and sleep. It’s relentless being a mum and having a career and sometimes I wonder what I’m doing?

NB this is not a moan. Read on and it all shall become clear.

You’d think such busy days would help me sleep? No, my insomnia reigns at the minute. This makes my brain hurt and my eyes sore. Woe me (I’m not looking for sympathy). However, I, in true modern independent Beyoncé woman fashion, have begun to turn that terse and tense energy into something more positive. I’m using it to fight back!

So how to balance, enjoy, attain work targets, all on little sleep? It’s a tricky one but something, like the Piyo, I’m persevering with. Firstly, it’s the lists I write. I like to write War and Peace lengthy lists. Unruly tomes which cover all aspects of daily life. Too aspirational? No, they aspire for success! Now don’t get me wrong, an empty list can mean a lighter load on the subsequent day but I don’t sweat if not all daily goals are set, I just shift them over. No problem; no one died and my family and I are all safe and warm. There’s no drama and guess what? The world still turns.

Also, when the 5 am dawn awakens me what do I do? My tired mind in jumbles about all the stacks of stuff to do; I slap on my cooling eye mask (this is a recent revelation and one I am singing and dancing about – check out your Christmas stockings this year!). One hour laid listening to happy and relaxing music, accompanied by a cool eye mask and I’m fighting to meet the world!! Eyes are less sore, mind feels brighter and the haggard look I seem to be endlessly wearing, seems to be somewhat diminished.

But what about the big stuff? Quick daily fixes help but life gets too much and we just want to sack it off don’t we? Well, I’ve started pursuing other avenues. Searching out stuff which can distract me – selfishly or not (I’m not so bothered, as, for one, I’m preserving my mental health). The thought process goes: My children need to healthy mother. Therefore, current life goals are to free up space (yes I said free up space, of which I have none) and insert new, exciting and adventurous activities into said slots. This is easier said than done but sacking off boring shite and cutting the odd corner here and there seems to be working.

Exhibit A:
This last month has been utterly horrendous – workload wise. A hardcore job plus a lack of cleaner (There is currently a position vacant), and add on my constant cold (I intend to go to the doctors this week I promise) children and a needy dog with separation anxiety and it’s been a perilous journey. However, instead of focussing on these silly details I’ve powered on through. I’ve been out for dinner, had daily runs/classes, read some lovely books, spent time with some of my favourite people, cooked and eaten some fabulous food and this weekend I went to a spa! Yes, that’s right, I fitted in a trip to the spa (now the latter was no mean feat and involved an early rise, cramming in a quick run and some early morning lesson planning). All normal things yes? You’d think so but for me it’s been a miraculous victory. Like mastering a perfect warrior into a half moon balance, I’m managing – on a good day.

This kind of plate spinning is no doubt unsustainable. This I know can’t continue. So what do I do? With the next few months set to become busier and no sign of that lotto win, I think it might be time to reevaluate. But whilst doing so I’ve found, and this is the revelation, I don’t hate it! My life (although highly exhausting and sleep deprived) is exciting (with or without that much desired sabbatical to South America), vibrant, interesting and fulfilling – in short, there’s never a dull moment. There’s not an ounce of ennui permeating the air. There’s also not a hint of misery. I feel lucky and although I don’t always think it, wouldn’t have it any other way. Although, there’s only one thing I’d change; to make this balancing act less stressful and to give us all a fighting chance I’d introduce a four day week. With that extra day imagine what we’d achieve! Yes, that’s right, we’d fill our extra day off with more stuff to exhaust us…

And breathe. Child’s pose and when ready come up to seated position for your final stretch…
You see, like my Piyo class, life can be hard work, challenging and frustrating when you try to get the tricky bits right. It is also rewarding, energising and full of mini victories that make you feel good inside (you’ve got to for a healthy mind). It’s full on but you have moments to breathe and relax, luxuriating in knowing you have done your best and for that you get a rewarding stretch and moment of quiet.

So next time you feel like it’s getting too much, full on, unmanageable…throw off the guilty shackles (no one actually cares) and find some inspiration and time to recover some inner peace. After all, we all deserve some peace.


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