Keeping Pace With A Crazy Schedule

George Kontaxis shoot

The last few weeks have been NUTS. I am talking about day after day of so many shifts in my schedule and demands on my time, that I am torn in many different directions, and cannot focus on a darned thing. When this kind of chaos ensues, I begin to lose items, certain basic vocabulary terms escape me, and I feel like I am rushing by everything and everyone, like a bullet train zooming through a bustling cityscape.

For the life of me, I can’t find a gray tank top which I had recently purchased and put…somewhere. I honestly can’t remember where. This isn’t like me, because I am VERY organized, to the point of having all of my clothing organized by color, sleeve length, etc. So why can’t I find that gray top?

I literally run around in my bedroom, grabbing for clothes, rushing, trying to keep up with the stressful demands of being in so many places all the time. It’s starting to get old. Forget about having time to read a book, or watch a TV show, because by the time the dust settles from the crazy days I have been flying through, the notion of blissful sleep is so seductive that I don’t want to do anything else.

What keeps me from unraveling is the consistency I demand with my eating habits and my workouts. I am not joking about this. Despite the insane schedule I have been juggling lately, I still weight train six mornings each week. I attend lyra class one to two evenings during the week. My meals consist of clean foods like chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, green beans, asparagus, brown rice, quinoa, avocado, almonds, oats, and Greek yogurt. I have been drinking plenty of alkaline water. I have also been consistent about consuming MitoXcell every morning (I LOVE this supplement and intend to post more about it when I get a chance to breathe!), and I also take my regular supplements (like turmeric, CoQ10, folic acid, etc.) daily. My energy levels have been decent, and my mood has been generally great, with only a couple of stark exceptions.

There are two days next week which I have designated as clean up and organization days, and I desperately need them. During those days, I will perform the deep cleaning throughout most of the house which the housekeeper always neglects, I will reorganize cabinets and drawers, clean up the garage and patio, and find that gray top!

Scheduled Calls With The Bestie

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My best friend and I met in 1975 and immediately clicked, not just because we were in the same class, but we were also both only children, bookworms, and sported a long cascade of hair (blonde for her, brunette for me). As we went through our school years, we were inseparable, and got into a fair amount of trouble together, mostly due to her propensity for bending the curfew rules her parents and my mother tried so desperately to enforce.

Two decades later, Diane married and had two children, and I was occasionally asked to babysit the kids. We remained close and though we lived in different counties, we made an effort to visit each other as much as possible. Then in 1997, she and her family relocated to northern Washington state, and I went off to medical school. The geographic shift reduced our visits to once a year, when Diane would come to Southern California to visit her parents and spend some time with me. I was able to make it up to Washington in 2010, when I competed in the NPC Emerald Cup Bodybuilding event. It was so important for me to see my best friend that I spent several extra days up there.

The last time Diane came down to visit was in 2011, right before both of her parents fell ill. Since that time, her father passed away, and both of our mothers became ill and were placed in care homes. Diane’s daughter moved into her own place. I became completely immersed in the world of competing, and spent so much time traveling to other parts of the country that my time and financial resources prevented me from traveling to Washington.

Over the past several years, Diane and I have catch-up conversations about once every 8 to 10 months. Our most recent conversation was scheduled via email, then rescheduled twice due to the fact that we both now contend with having far too much to do and insufficient time in which to get it all done. We had a wonderful chat two weeks ago which lasted for over an hour, which is a big deal for me because I ordinarily can’t stand being on the phone for more than a few minutes. Yet with Diane, I find that we need a good chunk of time on the phone to dig into all the topics we tend to discuss.

Sadly, we will have to schedule another call through email exchanges. We agreed to mark our calendars to contact each other regarding scheduling the call for sometime in May. I still remember when I would just pick up the phone (rotary dial land line) and call my best friend and classmate to chat. Times have certainly changed!

When You Can’t Catch Up

Every day I have the best intentions. I have my schedule mapped out and tear into it like a beast. But all too frequently, one or more hiccups in the timeline mess up my perfect plans to get a plethora of things done. That being said, I move like a dynamo and get more done than the average person does, mainly because I don’t lead a normal life, and am extremely ambitious. But just when I think I am about to catch up in one area of my life, I get dumped on in another area. I suppose it’s just how life goes, but sometimes it is so maddening to see my to-do list for the day unravel despite all my efforts. It certainly doesn’t appeal to my sense of order and control.

RunningLate

I know many of you who are reading this can relate. Opportunities are blessed things, but when you can barely come up for air and you can’t attend to the most basic things like buying groceries, doing laundry, or catching enough sleep, you are teetering way off balance and need to pay attention. By no means am I suggesting that you abandon your responsibilities in favor of wanton playtime, but no one should be that busy all the time. The body and mind cannot endure such constant stress and will rebel eventually, usually through physical illness, depression or anxiety.

I have been travelling through my days at a frenetic pace lately, and can tell the stress has exerted a toll on me. So last Saturday, after I had completed my workouts and run a few errands, I just said, “SCREW IT”, and headed over to a local movie theater by myself to see “Grand Budapest Hotel”, despite the fact that I had work waiting for me at home. I happily turned off my phone and nestled into the fantasy world of the film for close to two hours. I felt no guilt whatsoever, and was completely refreshed by my little getaway.

Another thing I have just begun doing lately is sifting through all the contacts and opportunities before me, setting boundaries, and learning to say NO when appropriate. This has been huge for me, since I usually do everything in my power to please and take care of people. Though I am pretty good about putting the oxygen mask on my own face, I will often opt to make someone else more comfortable at my own expense. I have noticed that if my movement and freedom are compromised, I become extremely frustrated, yet I also understand that I often bring that upon myself. The most compelling thing about this situation is that it is one that I see over and over again with other people. It’s almost like a cosmic movement, a tendency towards losing control, taking on more than what is reasonable, and draining the body and spirit of resources instead of replenishing and supporting those resources.

My take-home message is to:

1. take a break every now and then to recharge your batteries
2. learn to say no when appropriate
3. honor yourself

The sooner you learn to achieve balance, the happier and more productive you will be.