Advice From Friends

Healthy Habits

Advice From Friends

Now that it’s autumn, we’re thinking about how we have spent our energy and time over the last year or so. I’m curious how you choose to spend your energy, keep perspective and manage responsibilities.

I reached out to a few friends who are upstate neighbors and colleagues to ask them the following questions: If you were to go back to the beginning of this last year, what advice would you give yourself? Is there something you could intend for the months ahead? Here are a few answers that resonated with me.

A: This fall, for the first time in a long time, I’m prioritizing self, sleep, and play for my body and soul. I’m connecting with girlfriends without our kids or spouses much more often, taking hikes and walks, and even dipping back into ballet (something I haven’t done since I was 18). The lie I have told myself since becoming an entrepreneur and a mother is that to take care of my work and the ones I love with exacting standards, there’s no time to care for myself. If I were to go back a year, I would tell myself to put on my own oxygen mask before helping others—so that I can continue to care for my friends and family without depleting my joy for doing so.  —Sarah Copeland

A. The feeling of being pulled in many directions can be a daily element of distress for me. It can be disruptive to my creative process and leaves me feeling scattered and not centered. I try to remind myself not to resist against it, but to feel at ease with knowing that everything happens when it needs to, and I am manifesting all I need to be happy. It can be so easy to find ourselves bumping along the river, instead of being in the flow, and I think being mindful of the present moment is one of the best ways to combat this. When things feel amiss I keep perspective by looking at my daughter’s face, and knowing that deeply and internally, all is well. If I were to go back to the beginning of the year, I would yet again remind myself to not get mired down in too many details that do not matter from a grander life perspective, and encourage myself to make more time to work on future projects and dreams. For the months ahead, I have set the intention of striking a balance of feeling grounded and motivated, relaxing into and not resisting, and allowing new energy and inspiration to come to light for me. Rebecca Thuss

A. I beat myself up for not having found the “right balance,” enough time for work/kids/me/my relationship/my parents. And yet, if I step back look at the bigger picture, I pretty much do and have all of the things I want. This very abundance is exactly why I struggle with feeling like I’m shortchanging it all. Usually by October, I’m back in the swing of the school year routine. This year, frustratingly, I’m not. I’m just racing from one thing to the next, stretched thin. If I could go back and tell myself something, it would be a friendly reminder that this struggle is not new. I know it well and would be wise to expect and accept it. Life is full. There’s just actually no way to be fully present for all of it. And that’s ok. Also: always go to yoga, even when you think you don’t have the time. A clearer mind helps all. —Alexandra Zissu

A. I turned 40 this year, which felt significant! I definitely struggle with a work/life balance. Being a Mama, the ‘me’ time is squeezed (as it is for almost all Mamas). I told myself I need to plan in more time for self-care and to not feel guilty—as well as practice the art of sleeping more! Definitely still working on the latter but I gave myself the year to try and move the needle—your health is your wealth! After a busy work summer, I feel a sense of calm knowing that the approaching cold weather season may just give me a chance to wind down and nest (once the kids are down!) and take more time for myself in the evenings. —Catherine Carnevale