Small Steps: Soup and Self Care

Many busy women bristle at the term “life balance.” With all the responsibilities, relationships, and roles they are juggling, life balance sounds like an impossible and precarious state—a tightrope walk where one misstep can send you plummeting. I don’t mind the term, but I certainly understand the sentiment.

For those of us who are balancing (or dancing with) or doing a lot, it’s so darn easy to go from feeling a perfect rhythm to a life that feels terribly unbalanced, from proactively leading our lives, to chasing along behind a long list of things to do. Been there, done that. Quite frequently, in fact.

My saving grace? Knowing that getting back in control of my life doesn’t (usually) require a major life overhaul. Quite often it’s the small steps, the little but significant changes, that can pack a big punch and can change the flavor of my day, drastically affect my energy level or my mood, and determine how effective, productive, and creative I feel.

This year, I’ve decided to focus my attention each week on one small but significant step that I can take to make my life work better and to help me be more of my best. One focus and one change or tweak each week that is do-able, not overwhelming, and clearly takes me in a direction that I really want to go—something that leaves me feeling more balanced and effective and in charge of my life. I’m going to try sharing it here in the hope that it inspires you to consider your own small power steps.

This week’s focus is on reclaiming some energy I’ve let go of. To put it very simply: I’ve been sliding on the lunch thing. Somehow I’ve gotten out of the habit of planning lunches for myself. I’ve been taking my own lunch to work less, I’ve been grabbing stuff on the go too often, and as a result I’ve been eating mid-day food that, while not horrible, isn’t that great for me and doesn’t help me at all with that late afternoon energy slump. I know that I’m not alone with this one. In a tired moment, it can seem like a time and energy saver to skip the lunch prep. But you and I both know we’re kidding ourselves.  I know that when I slide on the lunch thing:

  • My nutrition suffers (I definitely eat less fruits and vegetables)
  • My energy drops
  • As a result of my energy dropping, I drink more caffeine
  • I  don’t enjoy a real midday break with food I really want to savor (the grab-and-go stuff is just not that tasty)
  • I don’t feel as well taken care of as I’d like to
  • If I was planning to work out in the evening, I probably won’t have much energy or inspiration to do it

Yes, really. A good tasting, well-thought out lunch (and the lack of one) has all that impact. So this week’s simple step? I’m back to making my weekly pot of soup and/or planning dinner menus so I have the leftovers that I need to thrive at lunchtime.  Just simmering that soup this afternoon left me feeling more grounded and back on track—and I’m going to be a happy camper sitting down to my spicy African Yam and Peanut soup. What will you do for yourself this week?

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