Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Prioritizing Balance

Three weeks ago I started making a list. Goals for this summer, things I wanted to prioritize and accomplish between May 17 (first day of camp) and August 25 (last day of camp). Yesterday I got out the list intending to rewrite it and make it pretty enough to hang on my wall. As I started reading through the list trying to decide what size paper to use, debating between stickers and cricut cut outs I had a realization. I read through the list top to bottom, skimming the notes I'd written in the margins and between parentheses. Carefully thought about the reasoning behind the goals and what it would look like to accomplish them all. I realized I was asking too much.

Read. (something unrelated to work 15-30 minutes each day)
Write. (every second day blog post, creative writing, poetry etc.)
Photography. (10-15 minutes a day take photos of the ordinary) .
Quiet Time. (minimum half an hour before bed each day and/or half an hour first thing in the morning)
Journal. (Everyday!!!)
Sleep. (8-9 hours every night)
Wake Up Early. (15-30 minutes before all camp wake up time)
Go To Bed Early. (Before 11:00 p.m. every night)
Eat Balanced Meals. (3 full meals a day OR 5-6 well thought out/balanced/planned/healthy snacks)
Stay Hydrated. (1.5 litres water each day, limit pop to once or twice per week, limit coffee to 2 cups max per day)

My job is demanding. There are many long hours and unpredictable situations. My self care and mental health needs to be a priority, but sometimes it's not the first priority. I know that going in and part of what I love about my job is the chaos, you just never know what the day will bring. 

There will be days when the only thing I read is e-mails, the only thing I write is an incident report and the thought of capturing a moment on camera doesn't even cross my mind.

There will be days when the only Quiet Time I have is the 15 10 5 minute shower I rush through before someone else needs the bathroom. I won't have time to work though my thoughts on paper and it's entirely possible I'll fall asleep before I even finish reciting The Lord's Prayer. 

There will be days when I stay up late working on props for an elaborate theme day followed by mornings when I'm up early to get a head start on setting up an activity. And there will be nights when comforting a homesick camper takes priority over my sleep.

There will be days when I reach for the coffee pot or crack open a can of Coke instead of re-filling my water bottle. And I might find myself collapsing into bed after a hectic day only to realize the only thing I had to eat all day was a bagel, a granola bar, a handful of chips and 6 cups of coffee.

If I was talking with another camp person I would never expect them to have it all together like that. And if they told me they worked and lived on site during the summer and did all those things I wouldn't believe them. Or I would assume they spent all day accomplishing their personal goals and zero time doing their job. 

Life is about balance.

When I take a big step back my goal for this summer is really all about balance. Taking care of myself so that I can do my best work. And not expecting my best work to always be Pinterest worthy. This summer the list of goals on my bedroom door won't make me feel guilty or inadequate. Instead they'll serve as a a reminder and as encouragement to use my time wisely and make the best choices available. And when I do have a "bad" day there will still be things that I did well. And every day is a fresh start to make a few more choices and do the best I can to balance it all. 

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