If I’ve learned anything from Balance 365 that has changed my life, it’s that life is ever changing, and flexibility is key. A phrase that we say a lot in the group is #allorsomething (instead of all-or-nothing). It’s better to do something than nothing so just do it the best you can.
Also, do what works for you, take what you want from each thing, and live balanced in all areas of life.
Natural Living and Living a “Crunchy” Lifestyle
One area that has really surprised me that I have found balance in is the area of all things natural. I have attempted many times to call myself “crunchy” only to feel overwhelmed with the weight of what that means. For me, that means 100%, all the way, all things natural. As I recently wrote, that doesn’t work for me.
I had two home births (I would never take that back), I cloth diapered, wore my babies (which I think is awesome still), did delayed vaccinations, made or bought all natural products, ground my own flour, soaked or sprouted my grains, drank/ate all organic, tried making milk and water kefir and kombucha, shamed myself for wanting/buying non organic or whole/pastured/grass fed foods (or any processed foods), had chickens 3 separate times, drank raw milk (driving an hour and a half with 3 babies 3 and under; I actually still love but can’t afford), wanted dairy goats badly, thought that homeschooling was the only way (which is why I’ve tried so hard), avoided much needed mental health meds, did everything possible to breast feed even though I have insufficient glandular tissue (and shamed myself for this), tried co-sleeping even though I never slept this way, and I could go on and on…
So, I took a step back and decided to focus on the things that I like. If they are helping me and I like them, I keep them. If they are making life more difficult and I don’t like them, I’ve tossed it.
I’ve decided that I really like essential oils (I’m actually pretty obsessed with them right now), but I’m not stuck on a particular brand anymore. I just bought 8 oils for $13.98 on Amazon. They have almost 5 stars and I feel good about them. Young Living and Doterra people would tell me that they aren’t good enough, but that’s their job… to tell people to buy their oils. Also, Robert has done research on the company and on the founder of the company and we don’t feel that they are ethical. I’m happy with my decision.
On the flip side, medication comes first. I like the oils in addition, but I mostly use them for aromatherapy purposes. I don’t mind using a few oils internally if they are Revive brand. But mostly I use them topically (diluted) or in my diffuser. The “Sleep” one from Revive makes me sleepy almost right away. I use it in a roller bottle (with some other oils that make me relaxed) and I use it in my diffuser.
I take a LOT of medication. I take 7 meds for mental health (some for bipolar, some for anxiety, some for depression, and one that helps me stay asleep once I fall asleep), 1 for cholesterol, 1 for thyroid, 1 for silent reflux, melatonin (10mg or 5mg), 5000IU Vitamin D3 (those two aren’t actual medications), birth control (for moods), and Zytrec for allergies. Sometimes I take flonase. I have no problem taking these meds because they work! This isn’t an area that I’m willing to change.
I like some “natural” and some conventional products. I use Tresemme and sometimes OGX or Acure or Yes to… shampoo and conditioner. I use Ivory body wash (sometimes OGX). I use Neutrogena naturals face wash and makeup remover (I just found this and LOVE it). I use Yes to Carrots face cream. It’s amazing! I use Secret deodorant sometimes and Schmidt’s sometimes (I LOVE the smell!). I love the Method bathroom cleaner (it works well) and Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner for the kitchen (though I’m going to make my own Thieves cleaner soon). We have been using Honest glass cleaner for a long time because we’ve had it a long time. I use unbleached coffee filters. Sometimes we use shopping bags, but I shop online and pick it up, and it’s usually in plastic already. We use real plates and cloth napkins.
I am 100% for vaccinations, and I believe that people who choose not to vaccinate are causing public health problems. #sorrynotsorry
I drink Coke Zero and use Sweet N Low in my tea. I have done a LOT of research on it (the science of things), and I feel okay with what I have found. I’m still working on drinking more water and less of these just because water makes me feel good physically. But I enjoy these drinks. I’m trying to find balance in this area.
I still make a lot of homemade foods because I enjoy it AND because I like the taste and the quality better. I make homemade Greek yogurt, homemade bread, homemade breakfast muffins and breads and cookies, homemade granola, homemade pizza dough and sauce, sometimes I make homemade spaghetti sauce, sometimes homemade creamer, sometimes homemade tortillas (they are amazing), homemade cleaners sometimes, etc. I have made it all super easy so that it’s not a big deal to do these things. Tortillas are the only thing that is difficult to make. And they aren’t terrible… just time consuming.
I use unbleached flour and hard white wheat flour, I use sucanat sweetener in a lot of my baked foods, raw honey in my tea and baked foods, non-organic foods all the way, half and half for my coffee, Walmart or HEB brand coffee most of the time (Walmart coffee isn’t bad, actually!), some store bought 100% whole wheat bread, white buns (hamburger and hot dog), white flour tortillas (even if homemade), natural (sometimes uncured) bacon/sausage/hot dogs, avocado/coconut/olive oils but also some canola (depends on what we’re doing with the oil), Zulka sugar (a Mexican less refined sugar) because it has more flavor (I can’t stand white sugar anymore), cheap white eggs, HEB brand milk (without hormones because hormones aren’t allowed in dairy anymore), and more.
I love the outdoors, camping, yoga, hiking, etc but have struggled to fit some of this into my life lately. When it warms up consistently it will be better! I am working on it! I think I will get back to enjoying backpacking again eventually! Just want to balance these areas of my life.
I’m becoming a Childbirth Educator using a natural childbirth-focused company, but I have learned how to balance this and help women make their own decisions using the info that I present.
With the possibility of subbing, AA on Mondays, church on Wednesday night and Sundays, grocery shopping every other Friday (on payday), PTO meetings, wanting to workout at the gym, etc, I’m trying to figure out how to fit in my studies for the childbirth ed certification. I feel like it has taken the backseat again, and honestly I think it’s because of the fact that it’s self-paced. I find myself procrastinating. I have decided to take it one day at a time! This is hard for me, but balancing my schedule is important as well. Flexibility is key. I need some self care (which includes AA and exercise), time to earn a bit of income and be around others, get involved in a faith-based community and worship corporately outside of the camp where we live, and take care of my family all in one. It’s a lot to manage! But I know I can handle it if I take one day at a time! I will plan the next day the night before. So if I plan to sub, I will know that before I wake up in the morning. I’m excited about what’s to come.
Also, if I find that anything in this list is affecting my mental health, I will drop it! I can only handle things that help my mental health, not hurt it. I’m unsure how subbing will go!
I’ve been struggling with this. I’m trying to apply the all-or-something mindset to this area in my life, and I’m getting there. Also applying the one day at a time mindset helps as well. I haven’t done well with setting a schedule for it. I shut down. If I just take it one day at a time and move in the moment, then I feel less overwhelmed. This might be something that I work on for a long time. I’m still trying to shed the diet mindset in this area of my life. Working out to burn a certain amount of calories, working out to earn food, doing exercise that I hated, etc. I want to focus on what I love to do, but even that is hard for me at the moment! I’m not sure why!
This post has gotten super long so I’ll come back with a part 2 soon!