Seeking Balance

Life, Van Conversion

Do you ever feel like your life is just a whirlwind of events and you’re stuck trying to catch up all the time? Same. Especially lately between the van build, trying to get the house ready to be rented for the winter, working full time, traveling overseas for another job, all the while trying to find time to workout, eat well and enjoy summer a little bit. Woah, writing it out actually makes it seem even more overwhelming.

While working on the van is super exciting because we are getting into the home stretch (we plan to be on the road sometime in September!!!), working on the house simultaneously is a bit stressful to say the least. Now, trying to do all this while working a 9-5 and not gain 20 pounds eating garbage and not working out… it’s a balancing act to say the least. But a good one, because here’s the thing – while this part of our life is crazy busy hectic insane, it’s all building towards the next part of our life where we have a little bit more control over our day-to-day. Life is about to slow way down.

I’m learning that the big challenge is not really in being busy and checking off all the to-do lists, it’s in seeking balance between doing all the things but also staying present and finding time to enjoy life. It’s way easier said than done, but I’ve found a few things that have really helped us during this mad rush season.

Get organized AF. I have spreadsheets on spreadsheets on spreadsheets, y’all. I might have a spreadsheet problem. I have a spreadsheet that has every single thing we need to purchase for the van, the price, and a link to it. I have another spreadsheet planning out the next three months and when we need to order things, start tasks, and finish tasks to help us stay on track.  Having that product list has seriously saved us so much time in the long run. We don’t ever have to go searching for what we need, when we’re ready to order we just click the link and purchase.

Plan, plan, plan. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen my insane planner. I freakin’ love that thing. I keep track of my work schedule, travel schedule, workouts, goals, successes, fails, and things to look forward to all in there. Plus, it gives me space to have a little creative outlet when I have downtime at work. Every Monday I’ve been making a to-do list and a goals list for the week ahead. It helps us tremendously to just see everything written out, in order, so we know exactly what we’re supposed to be working on if we want to get done in time. Writing down the tasks I need to accomplish brings me a lot of peace. It gets all those extra thoughts floating around in my head down on paper, which frees up space for me to focus on one thing at a time. Plus I get to check things off a to-do list. Big win.

Stick to a workout routine. I really need to write a whole blog post about this, because I am a true believer in movement as medicine. Personally I’ve made a huge switch from a year ago when I lifted every day to doing yoga every day. That’s a whole different story right there, but honestly any kind of movement will work wonders in your life. Keeping a regular routine will help you stay present, be aware of your body and what it’s craving, calm your mind in times of stress, wake you up during slower times, and overall give you a sense of accomplishment every day. I know that if I break a sweat I am automatically going to feel better about the day as a whole, and when I feel good about accomplishing one thing that puts me on a roll to finishing other things!

Fuel your body. I know it’s easy as hell to just say screw it, and eat out every night when life is crazy. We did it just last week when we were both absolutely slammed with work and after-work stuff. Sometimes there’s no way around it, but there usually is if you’re really committed to feeling good. While it can be really easy to convince yourself that you’re not eating too bad when you’re picking something up, it’s almost always better to just take the time to cook something at home. Even something super simple and easy. Plus it saves money big time. One of my favorite food blogs is Minimalist Baker because everything is the minimum amount of ingredients possible and most recipes take 30 minutes or less to put together. When things get crazy it’s even more important to take the time to fuel your body right. Let’s face it – I don’t have time to be sick right now, and the only way to fend that off is by giving my body the nutrients it needs.

Reflect often. Sometimes we just sit back and think about where we were a few months ago. It seriously wasn’t that long ago that we had absolutely nothing done in the van, and we were still trying to figure out where the hell to start. We knew we wanted to rent the house out but hadn’t logistically looked into it at all. Now we have a bed, a shower frame, a ceiling with lights, plumbing is started, and solar/electric is ready to be installed into the home on wheels. I have a rental agency working with me on the house, and we are almost done with all the repairs/updates we needed to do to get the house in rental ready condition. Although day-to-day sometimes it feels like you’re in a tornado of things to do and it’s so overwhelming that you don’t know where to even start, when you look back you might be surprised at how much you’ve actually done and be really motivated by that.

Find time to just enjoy. The whole point of this project and building the van is so that we have more time to enjoy life and live on our terms, so it would be really dumb to put that completely aside while the build is in progress. Yes, we have a ton of stuff to get done and don’t technically have a lot of free time, but I try to make an effort to make sure that if the waves are good we drop everything and go get a surf in. We’ve taken time to take some trips and hang out with family as well. After all, we will be leaving soon and we will probably miss the simplicity that home and a house brings – so it would be silly to not take some time off and enjoy being home during the summer. If we didn’t take this time we would be so burnt out that more than likely one of us would end up sick or unhappy pretty quickly, which in no way helps the overall goal.

This phase of live is crazy, and at times extremely stressful. Sometimes I find myself laying in bed just going over to-do lists until I fall asleep. I’m not sure how the next phase of our life will be with traveling full time, we could in theory end up being more stressed! Honestly, who knows. Life will never be at the same pace, so being able to center yourself in any situation will give you the ability to pretty much conquer anything. The most important thing is that no matter what life is throwing at you, you have the tools to keep yourself present, happy, and able to enjoy the journey, as fast or slow as it may be.

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