Life Balance 101

by Katie Goodman | June 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | comments

Transition is hard on our families and bodies. Even if the transition is a positive experience (like moving into a new home or having a baby), the stress that accompanies these changes is hard on us. The best thing anyone can do is to take care of their body and family during these hard times.

Here are five tips I learned that helped balance our family life during our big transition – an out of state move to a new home.

1. Stay Consistent

When undergoing transition, our bodies are often mentally, physically and emotionally stressed. Maintaining a proper diet not only gives us adequate nutrition to complete the tasks at hand, but also keeps the body from giving in to the pressures of the transition and getting sick. Adding the stress of being sick to the family when you’re already experiencing a transition is never a fun idea.

Keep easy to prepare and nutritious foods on hand for snacks and lunches. We like having lots of fruits – fresh and frozen – and Greek yogurt to whip up quick smoothies. String cheese, mini bell peppers and hard boiled eggs are also great simple additions to lunch or snacks.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

This should go without saying, but if you are anything like our family. One of the first things to go out the window during a big transition is a good sleep routine. Sleep is when our body recovers from the stresses of the day, and keeping a routine of sleep and wake cycles is another great way to add balance back into your life during a time of unpredictability. Plus, getting plenty of sleep will help keep us get going when times get tough.

3. Prioritize Mealtime

Life is busy and unpredictable when undergoing a big transition like a move. Mealtime is such a central aspect of our family life that it has been important to us to keep it consistent. Amidst all the chaos, we craved the structure and normalcy of sitting down to the table together to nourish our bodies.

Meals don’t need to be lavish. If possible, plan ahead and put items like shredded Mexican chicken, meatballs, pancakes or waffles in the freezer. These items can easily be reheated and turned into meals such as soft tacos, spaghetti and meatballs and breakfast for dinner.

If time does not allow planning ahead, look for simpler meal ideas. Think of recipes that don’t create large messes or require a large number of ingredients.

4. Be Organized

If the transition at hand is a large, time intensive task like moving, give yourself deadlines. It is too overwhelming physically and mentally to pack up a family home within a week, so we started about six weeks before the deadline, combing through the house to find items that were no longer in use and could be packed. Giving myself smaller tasks that help accomplish the large task at hand helped me not get too overwhelmed too often. Deadlines meant that I wasn’t saving all the work for the last minute.

5. Allow Downtime

Our bodies aren’t meant to go-go-go without taking a break. Allow for downtime and relaxation in your routine. Ending the day with a book in hand or relaxing in front of the TV with my husband after putting the kids to bed greatly recharged my physical and mental batteries.

Playing outside with friends and family and reading are two of my favorite ways to relax – and achieve energy balance! We also like to make time to do family things together to take a break from the packing. Playing in the backyard, having a picnic, going to the park or a movie as a family area all simple ideas that helped keep our life balanced.

What are your tips for balancing your family life during a time of transition?

Katie’s lifelong interest in food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. Katie Goodman is the cook, recipe developer, and photographer behind GoodLife Eats where she dishes on food, books, travel and style. You can also find Katie on Twitter and Facebook.