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To Find Balance … Work Out!

Credit: tallpomlin, FlickrI’ve had hectic times in my life. There was one semester in college when I was working at the school newspaper three nights a week; I had gotten “lucky” and pulled the closing shift all of the nights, meaning that I was there until the paper was done, usually past midnight. Most nights I wasn’t there, I was working waiting tables. I don’t know how I even had time to breathe. So I’ve known busy. I’ve known hectic. I’ve known needing more balance. But I’ve never been as unbalanced as I have at points in my adulthood, as a parent. Because even when I was crazy-busy in my younger days, I didn’t have nearly the responsibility I have now. Now there are little humans who need a roof over their heads, clothes on their bodies (even though they’re always trying to take them off), and food on the table at all times. When there is a constant demand for your attention, time for yourself can seem a dream; balance can seem like a cruel joke.

But one way you can work to add balance to your life? Exercise! Wait a sec, you say. How will working out — adding one more thing to my to-do list —  help me achieve balance? But hear me out. Instead of thinking of it as an item to fit into your insane schedule, think of it as a way to keep you sane. Think I’m crazy? Nope — there’s actual research that shows that working out can help you find balance in life.

In one study, those who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle juggling work and home life, plus they were less stressed. Even though you’re adding something to your life — a workout — it might serve to distance you from work and other demands, clear your mind, and make you feel awesome. Even when I’m totally wiped after a workout or worn out from a run, I find that I feel so much more Conquer the World on days that I work out compared to days I don’t. I have more energy. I’m way more productive. I have more — you guessed it — balance. Plus when you take the time to take care of yourself, even for a few minutes, it goes a long way to recharging your batteries and making you feel more balanced, if only until your kids yell for a snack.

Do you find working out helps you maintain balance and juggle all of the demands of life and little ones? —Erin

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