I used to feel so empowered by the phrase “You can have/do it all.”
I thought it had become a right of passage as an adult to truly be able to have it “all”- the career, the family, the friendships, the home, the body, etc. But after fighting the uphill battle for “it all” for 10+ years and watching my health decline in the process, I came to the realization that this promise of “everything” makes us feel more like a failure than a success.
Something Needs to Give
I work with people all over the spectrum of family life- young 20s just starting their families, burnt out parents in the grind of elementary kids, and also those later in life trying to guarantee longevity in their health– yet one thing I find consistent in them all is that they each have to accept trade-offs based on the season of life they find themselves in. We simply cannot be 100% on 100% of the time, especially for all that a healing journey or maintaining optimal health might require.
For example, if you have been failing at making clean, healthy dinners at home 5 nights a week, it may be time to invest in a meal planning cookbook OR a meal delivery service. If you’ve been failing to wake up to workout in the morning, you may need to re-arrange your day to workout in the afternoon OR invest in a fitness class that you have to pay for and don’t want to lose out on the money you paid. So often we think we are a failure because we haven’t done what we said we want to do, but it really comes down to the fact that we have too much on our plate and may need to rely on different resources and trade-offs in one area of life for another to reach our goals.
Examples of Trade-Offs for Your Season
I like to think of trade-offs as being how you decide to balance the resources that you do or don’t have in the present moment, mostly TIME, MONEY and/or KNOWLEDGE. An important step is to determine what you need to accept as a trade-off given your current phase of life. Here are some examples:
- PRE-PREGNANCY/KIDS: Arguably the phase of life that you will have the most time, but maybe not the most money or knowledge just yet.
|TIME||This is a resource you may need to utilize the most in planning for your future job, life skills and/or family. |
This could include dedicating more of your time to healthy meal prepping, exercising on your own vs. expensive gym classes, reading/learning, etc.
|MONEY||Without a lot of money, you may not be able to afford expensive foods, supplements, and household equipment (or you may not be in a permanent home to look into longer-lasting items like under-the-sink water filtration or a clean mattress). |
This is where you may have to get knowledgeable about ways to support your health from a budget-friendly approach
|KNOWLEDGE||With time hopefully being something you have a good bit of, this is where you put in the efforts to grow your knowledge of what healthy looks like both now and later for your future life plans. |
This could mean investing in courses, guides, books, programs, etc. that give you the education you may not be able to put together on your own.
- IN THE GRIND OF WORK + PARENTING: Arguably the time of life where both time and money may be stretched, so again it is helpful if you were able to use the pre-parenting phase to get good at budgeting your grocery bill, fitting in exercise without a lot of capital and learning about how to support your health in this busy season.
|TIME||I honestly can say after having my daughter I don’t know WHERE the time in a day goes. Because of this, it is crucial that you learn to manage your time and begin stacking habits/activities that both support your health and get your to-do list done. |
This could look like walking/running while the kids are at sports practice, doing self-care (face masks, castor oil packs, oil pulling, etc.) while you are cooking dinner, vacuuming or other tasks around the house.
To me, this is also the step where daily trackers and to-do lists may seem like more effort, but in the end they help us to manage the little free time we do have.
|MONEY||This can be different for everyone, but I find if time is compromised, then we must rely on money for help and convenience.|
This could mean buying pre-chopped veggies to make dinner take less time to make, or signing up for a fitness class at 5am because it’s the only way we’ll actually workout at that hour (and get in a workout for that matter).
Time is money and so if one is limited, we must figure out how to best utilize the other to make our lives simpler.
|KNOWLEDGE||I personally find this to be the hardest to focus on in this season of parenthood. I have stacks of books to read but fall asleep the moment I attempt to read them before bed. |
Since it’s important to keep our minds learning, in this phase you may rely more on podcasts, webinars and audiobooks instead of reading actual books. I listen to them while driving to the grocery store, cooking dinner or doing tasks outside.
It’s a great way to also manage your time and “kill two birds with one stone”
It’s also the place where you may need to have the trade-off and pay for someone else’s expertise- like a 4-week video course that you can listen to versus reading a 500 page book. Your time is likely too precious to become a master on your own and thus its OKAY to rely on someone else
- LATER IN LIFE OR POST-KIDS: I can’t speak to this phase yet personally, but I have worked with enough “empty nester” clients to know what areas you may have more trade-offs in than others. I think this may be the easiest phase to choose your trades, all depending on how busy your life is:
|TIME||This can greatly vary based on if you are still working full-time, volunteering, watching grandchildren, etc. but time should hopefully be something you have more of now to focus on promoting your health. |
This could mean longer amounts of time spent in exercise classes, doing self-care activities throughout your day and time to research foods, activities, etc. to enjoy your time and nourish your body.
|MONEY||This should also hopefully be a phase with less trade-offs here so that you can invest in some of the above activities and healthy foods/drinks.|
This could also mean possibly investing in more anti-aging support like red light therapy, in-home saunas, monthly massages, etc.
|KNOWLEDGE||This should also be a category where you have gained a lot of knowledge but can also get back to reading more books, taking more courses and continuing to learn for fun. |
This could also look like relying on others more educated than yourself to hire as personal trainers, cooks/meal prepping services, or other services that you have simply decided are not in your wheelhouse.
What Are My Trade-Offs?
You may not fall perfectly into all of the above examples, but hopefully this has stirred up some ideas of the areas that just need to give in your life. When in doubt, remember that yes, you can in fact do ANYTHING, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) do EVERYTHING. Get comfortable setting some things down for the season that you’re in and relying on other resources to get you through, both healthy and sane!
Want Help Finding Solutions?
If you want even more guidance on any of this and to figure out how to better balance your current load, set up a Discovery Call and let’s chat about your options!