You might be looking at these pictures and thinking, “that’s a lot of washing!” But before you go there, let me explain it.
In the picture on the top, you will notice that it’s mostly just workout gear. And on the bottom, there are several cycling kits.
On a week where I get to ride my bikes, I have achieved balance (not the kind where I’m staying upright) between work and play. On a week where there’s just workout gear hanging, I know that all I’ve done is work, thus not achieving balance. All work and no fun dims my inner-light sun!
As a fitness professional, working out is my job. So unlike regular folks who workout for other reasons, for me it’s my profession. I am not a salaried professional, so I only am paid when I’m working. This means there are tremendous pressures and necessities to work… a lot. The decision to take time off is the choice of whether to be paid or not. And that is not always an easy choice. I love what I do. I feel I’ve never worked a day in my life, but often don’t have a day off for weeks at a time.
I fully acknowledge that it’s a blessing to have such a wonderful way to make a living and I’m passionate about what I do! But the endless travel, missed connections, getting home at two in the morning and getting up that day for a six AM client is not glamorous. From clients and classes during the day to computer work and evening classes, It’s exhausting. All too often this schedule results in a fourteen-hour workday many days a week. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I am just setting the stage for this discussion. Like I said above: I’ve never had to work a day in my life and yet I work incredibly hard!
Here’s the point of this: Balance. Pure and simple. It’s about finding the yin with the yang. I know that riding my bike outside, spending time with my friends, being home and working in my garden makes my soul happy. I smile from the inside when I am doing those things. It’s not just as simple as riding either, although that’s a big part of the picture since there’s nothing I enjoy more than riding or racing my bikes: it’s also the mental space that being outside brings to me. This is the yin to my working yang.
Equilibrium is where things become clear. It’s also something I believe is critical to wellbeing; we all must find what we enjoy outside of work. And having a hobby or an interest is vital to you finding your balance.
For some people, working out is their hobby, and that great! However, working as a fitness professional, I had to learn to rest to stay healthy. Too much of anything is not a good thing, and that is even true for exercise! Learning to rest or slow down and knowing when to push to go all out is part of that balance equation.
And there are times when I do not get this right. When someone needs an emergency sub on Sunday, my only day off, I have to debate between the money and the rest I need. But sometimes, I choose to sub so I can afford another bike (I own seven and need one more. The old adage is true: How many bikes a cyclist needs? What they have, plus one!) When you work for yourself and love what you do, there is always a temptation to do more.
Experience has taught me that time-off is a beautiful thing. It always makes me smile when I see my clean team kits hanging in the bathroom because it means that I’m finding that balance and feeding my heart and soul.