I spend a great deal of time at work, and I have to balance it with my family and with studying.  As I am finishing my MBA I find that there are certain tools that are essential to being successful in learning that balance.  There is a short list

·         My crockpots- I have two

·         My exercise mat

·         A timer

·         Fraya, my cat

Each one of these has a role for me to be able to get my studying done and still allow me to meet other responsibilities. 

I find that dinner is the time where we communicate and my service of making dinner is a way of expressing my love for my family. A chicken can be roasted for Friday night dinner by putting in three crinkled balls of tin foil and placing the chicken on top of it.  I make pulled pork or all manner of chicken breast with sliced veggies.  I have also made soups in it.    I also have a small crockpot that I use for breakfast like oatmeal of there are some egg recipes that can be made in it. 

My exercise mat allows me to do all manners of exercise and snuggle time with the pets.  I use the yoga to help me unwind at night.  I cannot meditate because all I do is worry about what I did not accomplish.  Instead I do yoga.  I am not talking being a profession al yogi just a short series of poses that I have ha to modify since I am overweight and cannot do them perfectly.  But I do hold them for a count of eight which makes me breathe and count which helps slow down my brain so I can go to sleep.  I have also found that if I am getting stiff or having back pain if I do abdominal exercises they help to relieve the pain.  I particularly light reverse sit ups, supermans, bridges and planks.  All these exercises are simple but not easy and they can be done without any special equipment.

A timer lets me know I need to get up and move around or get some sun.  Studies have found that we can increase our health and decrease our mortality and morbidity by getting up every hour and moving around.  If we get a bit extra oxygen and sun we can focus better.  Just take time to move.

Fraya is the most important tool. She loves me no matter what.  She is totally entertaining and if I am getting too into my homework she will distract me.  She walks across my keyboard and sits on my chest but usually she will only want to be petted for 10 minutes then she loses interest and goes attack a stuffed mouse or our dog. 

It is important that we find balance in our lives when we are a student.  We are doing it to improve our lives.  We may have to give up some of the leisure activities but in the end you cannot exchange what you learn from school with that weekend at the beach you may have missed.  

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