The Work/Life/Run/Eat Healthy Balance Isn’t Easy

This year I started a new schedule that has me getting up at 5am for the first time in many years. Back when I used to get up at 5am I was in grad school taking a full class schedule while juggling both a full time job in marketing as well as a part time job teaching public speaking to undergrads.

I didn’t teach because I’m super passionate about being an educator (although I did find it rewarding), and I didn’t teach because the pay was great (it wasn’t), but the school did cover my tuition and that was important to me.

I went to grad school in 2009 which was right around the time we all started freaking out over massive student debt. I didn’t want to be buried by my degrees for the rest of my life so I stepped into the classroom as an instructor which was strange and exciting. It was also exhausting.

Back then my schedule went something like this:

5am: Wake up, shower, get ready for work.

6am: Leave for the office.

7am: Arrive at the office.

4pm: Leave the office and head to school.

5pm: Teach public speaking.

7pm: Go to class as a student.

10pm: Drive home.

11pm:  Arrive home, eat and do school work.

1-2am: Go to bed.

5am: Wake up and do it all over again.

You can ask anyone who knew me back then that I was a mess. I was excelling professionally and academically, but when the weekends would come I would sleep all day and night. I felt like a shell of myself that was just constantly anxious and on-the-go. I was also still struggling with recovering from my eating disorder during this time so that added an extra layer of stress.

Today my schedule isn’t quite as insane, but it does feel like it resembles 2009 in many ways.

5am: Wake up, make breakfast, read the news, get ready for work.

6am: Leave for the office.

7am: Arrive at the office.

4-5pm: Leave the office and head to the beach.

5pm-6pm: Go for a run.

7-8pm: Make dinner.

8-9pm: Write blog post.

9pm: Spend time with Adam usually watching TV.

11pm: Go to bed.

12am: Fall asleep.

5am: Wake up and do it all over again.

While I’m getting more sleep than I did back in grad school, I’m also older and feel like I require more sleep! Back in 2009 I wasn’t really doing much exercise and let’s face it, running demands sufficient rest periods.

I feel bad complaining about this because I’m sure my life could be worse in a million ways. You know what, I’m actually not even sure I am complaining. I’m mostly just here to say hey, this is hard sometimes

There is nothing in my schedule that I want to give up so I accept the challenge of work/life/run/eat healthy balance. Some days I fail. Some days I run less than I’m supposed to and some days I go out to eat instead of cooking something healthy. On those days I feel badly because I have a running coach and a nutritionist that I report back to, but I am doing the best that I can.

I think most people are like me because being perfect is impossible, but we don’t often talk about how hard this balance actually is.

When I read blog posts I usually feel motivated and inspired because there are so many amazing everyday athletes out there crushing it. Then there are days that I read about every one nailing their workouts while making healthy Pinterest worthy looking meals and I feel like I’m the only one not managing life well.

So in case you’ve ever thought that I have my shit together, here is the post where I tell you that I don’t! 🙂

Actually I take that back. I DO have my shit together. I have it together as best as I can and I think that’s enough. I hope you feel that way about your own life too.

What’s your daily schedule like?
What time do you eat dinner at night?

14 comments

  1. Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    Sometimes I think back to my life in grad school and it makes me grateful for my schedule now! I was working full time and taking 4 classes, and then in my second year I added on an internship. I was also working out 6 days and week and probably only getting like 5 hours of sleep, if that. But there was NO time for any social life because I was either working or going to school 7 days a week. Now I am at least happy to have the weekends when I can sort of reset and get ready for the week ahead! I really try to get 8 hours of sleep every night, otherwise I just dont feel like myself! Many night that means dinner at 7, an hour of blogging, and bed at 8:30.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Spring Running in FebruaryMy Profile

  2. Meredith

    I love this post! Having a balance with work/home life/running/healthy diet can be very difficult. I find myself doing great for a couple of weeks, then backsliding for a a week to catch up. We can’t beat ourselves up for not accomplishing every little thing we want to do every week because life is hectic! I hope you have a great Monday and have an awesome start to the week!

  3. Hanna @ minimal marathoner

    When I see those people crushing EVERY single one of their workouts AND making healthy gourmet Pinterest meals AND whatever else, I either assume a) they don’t work or work from home and have a lot more free time, or b) they’re being dishonest. Maybe that makes me a cynical B, but the one thing I’ve learned about “doing it all” is that no one can. I’m glad you’ve learned to be graceful with yourself about juggling all the things you have going on. Balance doesn’t just mean fitting in more stuff, it means being able to shift priorities when life demands. Sounds like you’re doing great!
    Hanna @ minimal marathoner recently posted…Re-committingMy Profile

  4. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I was just going to say, I think you do have your shit together! You make time for what is important to you. I mean, some things we have to make time for whether we want to or not… like work! Why does it take you an hour to fall asleep? I guess that is a dumb question. I have to read and fall asleep reading or else my mind just goes and goes and goes. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I need to read my murder blogs to fall back asleep or else I will think about work. 🙁

    The busiest time in my life was my first 3-4 years teaching. I would teach all day, then teach 2-3 piano lessons each night, then go to musical rehearsal where I did the choreography for our HS shows. It was always a crazy 3 months when we were doing the musical. I do miss being part of it but I don’t miss having all of my evenings full.

    My Mon,Wed,Fri sked:

    5:30- get up
    6:00- run
    6:50- stretch, shower, get ready for work
    7:30- leave for work
    7:50-3:40- work
    3:40-4:00 drive home
    4:00-8:30- whatever I want!!!
    8:30- BED

    Tues/Thurs are piano lesson days…

    5:30- get up
    6:00- run
    6:50- stretch, shower, get ready for work
    7:30- leave for work
    7:50-3:40- work
    3:40-4:00 drive home
    4:00-7:00- teach 6 piano lessons
    7:00- eat ALL THE FOOD, relax
    8:30- BED
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up!My Profile

  5. Heather [is probably running]

    Looking at your schedule makes me feel like a slacker. An average day for me looks like this:

    5:30 wake up, get ready for work
    6:30 drive to work
    7-3:30 work (half hour lunch somewhere in there)
    half hour drive home
    4-5:30 run followed by a shower
    5:30 to 7 or 7:30 homework
    7:30 eat the dinner my husband cooked and spend two hours talking/watching tv/hanging out.
    9:30 in bed

    How anyone functions on less than 8 hours of sleep is beyond me. I need sleep.
    Heather [is probably running] recently posted…Training 2/20-2/26My Profile

  6. Schlub

    I think all our schedules are like yours. Life is going on and we fit all the other stuff in best we can. For us the biggest X factor is kids…Damn kids lol. If they are sick, that throws everything for a loop.

    Running days:
    3am – wake up
    330am – drive to trails
    4am – Running
    530am – drive to work
    6am – work
    4pm – home to do family stuff
    10pm – bed

    We usually do dinner around 5pm. We usually have church group or kids sports so that allows us to eat before those events.
    Schlub recently posted…I’m Starting to BelieveMy Profile

    1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

      I am guessing it is dark when you run on the trails? Are you scared of animals? Are you scared of being attacked?
      Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up!My Profile

  7. Ana

    Thank you Kristina! Just last week, I was thinking that I was a failure at everything, because I was really tired at the end of the week! I was going to write something similar.

    I think there is so many unrealistic expectations of what our perfect lives are supposed to be, and there is just not enough time on the day!

    My schedule is weird.. . I have shared custody of my son, and my schedule revolves around him and his school. Most days I wake up at 6:00 am, and work from 7:30-5:00. 2-3 days I cook a fresh meal, 2-3 days I run or do another work out. But there is always the day that I sat for too long, the day that I forgot something for my son’s school…. most of the time, my fault… and there is days that all I want to do is stay in bed until 10 am!
    Ana recently posted…Weekly Wrap 2.27.17My Profile

  8. Nathaly @NathyCure

    Reading this blog post made me feel like I’m definitely not alone! I’m a full time grad school student taking a dual program, with a part time job, a blog, and a training plan. I don’t live with my parents so I also have to cook for myself and do all the house chores.

    Sometimes it feels incredibly hard. I was thinking about that this morning because this will be my midterms week.

  9. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    Man, I relate to this so much. It is so hard for me to motivate myself to do any chores after work because I’m exhausted. Workouts, groceries, dishes, laundry…factor in a personal life/time with Matt and really, I can only pick one thing to actually accomplish each evening. Sometimes I accomplish nothing!

    I think we in the US have a really skewed vision of what success and excelling look like. If we’re exhausted and stressed, that’s not successful to me. Most other people in other countries would agree. But American culture is all about working and bragging about how tired and busy we are. It’s not healthy! It’s hard, or impossible, to do it all; I think finding balance is really important.
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Gasparilla Distance Classic 15kMy Profile

  10. Susan

    I think you are doing amazing, girl. It is so hard to juggle everything and I am thankful for any help I can get (we decided 2 years ago to get a cleaning lady and it has been wonderful to scratch that off my to do list). Most days: up at 3 AM, work/eat breakfast/do a bunch around the house because I am wide awake, then workout by 4:30 AM, get to the office by 7:30 AM (or work from home), leave the office by 12 PM and finish my day at home. We eat at 5 PM (we are senior citizens), watch sports, news, then I am upstairs reading by 6:30 PM and sleeping by 8:00 PM. I know that is a schedule that would make most cringe but honestly it works best for my body and I NEED my sleep. Rick is shifted by about 2 hours. His wake up call is closer to 5:30 or 6:00 AM, and crashed out by 10:00 PM (earlier if he is super tired). I am thankful our lives allow for this. When I feel overwhelmed, I have to scale back on time I spend on social media, etc. Last year I read like 10 blogs a day. I had to ask myself which ones I really wanted to read and scaled it down to 3 🙂 Little things like that really add up! I also spend Sundays doing meal prep, laying out clothes for when I am in the office and making sure I do as much as I can to have the week run smoothly. Like you said, it’s a lot. Some days I win, some days I fail. But there is always a new day, right?!? Keep it up, girl. You rock.

  11. LeAnne@thisismyfaster

    Finding the right work-life balance is extremely important. I’ve had crazy schedules back in the day and even a few years ago when I first started training. I think I overdid it then. I still have a very busy schedule but I’m definitely getting more rest now 🙂
    LeAnne@thisismyfaster recently posted…Last Minute Changes & Happy Feet…My Profile

  12. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures

    Hey, just think about throwing kids in the daily mix! My day looks like this:
    5:20 wake up
    5:30 treadmill run
    6:50 make lunch for kids & me
    7:15 get ready for work
    8:00 leave for work… arrive 5 mins late (haha! but true)
    4:30 head home
    4:45-6pm dinner, homework
    7:30 – hang out, TV time with family
    9:00 kids go to bed, Me time!
    10:30 go to bed.
    That’s on a day when there are no chess matches, soccer practices, 5K training, etc going on. Somedays I feel like I only have 30 mins to myself because I hate to have my face in my laptop the whole time my kids are around, so that needs to wait.
    You are doing an awesome job keeping up with it all!!!
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted…Training Tuesday, 2/28/17 – GCM edition!My Profile

  13. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    I totally get it Kristina. I had a similar schedule in grad school (and my first two years out of grad school as a new professor) and was doing everything I could to squeeze as much time out of the day as I could. And then I had a child and my world once again flipped. Now my time is stretched for different reasons. Thankfully, Justin and I have been blessed with an amazing sleeper, but it isn’t until Axel is sleeping that I rush around trying to work, train, and get everything else done! It’s madness some days and it can lead to burnout pretty quickly. You are not alone and I think most people struggle more than they lead on via social media.
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…A Side Of Me Most People Don’t SeeMy Profile

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