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Family Trifecta
Placing my bets on Family, Faith and Fun - in that order. Fingers crossed I win the Trifecta!
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Family Trifecta

If life were a balance beam...

… I would be getting .7 points deductions all the time.  And now I read that there are 7 essential activities for a mental well-being???

As you know, I am trying very hard to balance all of the important aspects of my life.  Working until 6:30 or 7 each day makes finding that balance a bit harder, but until I have proven myself as effective, smart and capable then it is what is required.  Hopefully soon I will close some deals and get on top of my reports so that I buy myself a little freedom.  In order to continue striving for the trifecta, I have to sacrifice in other areas.  And maybe I need to rethink those priorities.

I often enter in all of my food intake in the “LiveStrong” application or online.  My “daily plate” is never correctly balanced.  I consider my nutrition an absolute fail.  And now, according to the Harvard Business Review Blog, I need to have some of each of the following mental “nutrition” each day.  Focus Time, Play Time, Connecting Time, Physical Time, Time in, Down Time and Sleep Time.  Maybe LiveStrong will need to come out with a mental nutrition application as well.  At least then I might do a better job of checking things off the list.

After reading the article, I decided I’d score myself on each of the 7 categories.  Then maybe in a few months, I can revisit this baseline and see if I’m doing better.  If you want to join me, I’d love to hear how you are doing now and we can touch base again after the summer and again during the holidays.

Here goes… (the part in red is the definition by David Rock)


Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain. Okay – I’m doing pretty well on this one.  Primarily because I have no choice.  During the week I’m focused on work – figuring out how to better help my clients, determining when we are or are not a good fit and working to improve my product and industry knowledge.  Then during the weekend I have to figure out what to do with a bunch of 4 year olds for an hour.  A frustrating challenge but a definite challenge.

Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain. I don’t have nearly enough of this during the week, let alone during the day.  Everything I do is planned – maybe sometimes creative but rarely spontaneous.  Scott helps me be better with this because he is actually pretty good at this.  Although I think he would feel he doesn’t get enough “Play Time” either.  We make memories for sure – but I think that fits better in the next category.

Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, richly activating the brain’s social circuitry. This one we do a lot of given the amount of time we have throughout the week.  We often spend good quality time together as a family and with extended family.  We do not do well in this area with friends.  I wish we were better at connecting with people outside of the family – in person.

Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways. TOTALLY SUCK on this one.  I often think that I should wake up an hour earlier and work out.  It is a fact that I feel WAY better when I am in shape and when I am making time for physical activities.  Yesterday I walked 4 miles to and from the trade show.  It was fantastic but far from my daily needs.  My goal is to get working out during the summer – keep getting up as early as I was when I had to get the girls ready and to school.  That should buy me some physical time.  As long as I don’t decide I need more sleep time instead.

Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain. Umm, “time in”?  really – who has time to sit quietly and reflect?  I might get a few minutes of this before I drift off to sleep – but if I get easily distracted and start going through my to do list and then I can’t fall asleep.  So there’s a bit of challenge to address with this category.  Maybe I could take a few minutes during work to go and sit quietly in the sun reflecting and feeling.  Definitely worth a try.

Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge. This is so important for me.  I love having down time where Scott and I just sit quietly and watch a show.  Time where I don’t have to think about anything important or anything at all.  I get to laugh or cry or just sit.  But then I feel guilty that I just wasted 20-40 minutes when I could have been blogging, reading, studying, cleaning, working out.  So that doesn’t really help my well-being much.  Maybe if I’m balancing the rest of the areas, I’ll feel better about the down time.

Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day. I totally need 8-9 hours.  I typically get about 6-7.  Hmmm.


Well there you have it.  My “well-being nutrition” is a wreck.


How is yours?


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2 comments to If life were a balance beam…

  • Lolli @ Better in Bulk
    Twitter: 1momof5

    Oh my gosh. I’m totally unbalanced. But I knew that already. 😉
    Lolli @ Better in Bulk´s last blog post ..Family Movie Night Returns


  • Gardens of Plenty
    Twitter: gardensofplenty

    Oh Amy… this article is fascinating and so timely! And I am going to have to take a much closer look at how I break down each of these areas in my life. Thank you for sharing and for delving into your different “times”. It‘s kind of funny, because this past weekend I discovered a new blog, Zen Habits, that I had never heard of before. And I have been super fascinated and intrigued with the posts, especially around the idea of being more productive while doing waaaaaay less. Combined with the Harvard Business Review article, I have a lot to think about! So for starters, here’s to striving to get more sleep so that we have the wherewithall to cope and deal with all the other mental well-being (and important!) activities! –Erin
    Gardens of Plenty´s last blog post ..heat wave!


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