Confessions: I'm a Workaholic

Dear Liz,

Shamless advertising for two projects I am currently working on:  GLOBAL-SPIN  and  I=BIS

Shamless advertising for two projects I am currently working on: GLOBAL-SPIN and I=BIS

Is it a family trait or is it something I have learned? As a sociologist, I would probably say it is a little bit of both, but my home environment growing up definitely had an impact on my work ethic. The culture I grew up in (American) probably did too. Yet here I am, working in Spain, where the work culture is totally different, and I still cannot seem to shake my need to be busy all of the time.

This means that I am currently working two different jobs (one in the morning, one in the afternoons), volunteering, participating in different ‘clubs,’ playing soccer, and, of course, trying to fit in the blog, which is a more of a passion thing than anything else. All of this plus my desire to have something of a social life...and is not an ‘unusual’ amount of stuff for me. At the same time, I enjoy spending me-time a lot―reading or just hanging out with myself. So, how do I create balance?

1.) I take me-time first thing every day: Every morning I make sure to wake up early (compared to most Spaniards I know), do a little bit of yoga with Adriene, and eat a good breakfast. Sure, I could wake up later and rush into work with a coffee in hand, but that doesn’t allow me to wake up properly or even have a good start to my morning. The way I see it, I can either start the day off right or be cranky/unproductive from 9 am onwards and, especially if I am going to be out of the house until after 10 pm (which happens some days), I choose to start off well.

2.) I try to combine things that give me peace with being productive: This might sound oxymoronic, but prepping food for 6 people (give or take 4) for lunch or dinner is incredibly therapeutic for me in some ways. My dad taught me how to cook and how beautiful it can be to share food with other people. Now, it is something that gives me incredible pleasure. I probably don’t have people over more than once or twice a week because that would be stressful, but I do appreciate how calming something like chopping carrots can be.

3.) I make sure to get some exercise: I walk or bike my way around the city all the time; however, I specifically try to find time to run or play soccer at least twice a week. This more intensive exercise not only releases happy hormones but also lets me disconnect from thinking for a bit and focus on other things. In addition, I’m usually doing these activities with friends, making them more enjoyable and slightly social.

4.) I eat right (for me): If I don’t eat, I don’t function. Therefore, I make sure to try and eat full meals, as well as having snacks around as necessary (usually with high calories and healthy fats or sugar or both). My dad recently brought back peanut butter packs from the States and I carry them with me to both jobs now―just in case I need something ASAP. Read more about how I find balance with Spanish food here

Should we really be working harder? Or maybe just smarter...  Photo by  Jordan Whitfield

Should we really be working harder? Or maybe just smarter... 
Photo by Jordan Whitfield

5.) I am still understanding how to find my balance: Dani and I have started listening to podcasts and I find them to be a really good way to reflect. I have followed Lauryn over on the Skinny Confidential for years and in the past six months have started to listen to the podcast too. Dani follows Jess Lively who also has a podcast and we swapped favorite podcasters to get inside each others’ minds a bit. Now I listen to both (in addition to a few random others) and from understanding how to hustle to trying to find my flow, these two incredible women are helping me figure out who I want to be.

I still have days where I get sad or I feel alone or I feel like I am not accomplishing anything. However, poco a poco, I hope I am finding the future I want for me.