Finding Balance, by Mia Boardman

Hi again! I wanted to write this article about the struggles I’ve faced trying to find cohesion in the balancing of my athletic, academic, and social life.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all prioritized one thing over another at a point. I’m probably one of the biggest culprits. I’ve found myself setting aside school work for days at a time so I could focus on training. Deep down I knew I had to finish my assignments, but struggled to find the motivation or energy to do so. I would use all my mental energy at practice by motivating myself and analyzing my runs. This left me feeling mentally drained and I had a hard time focusing on the thing I needed to get done. On top of that, I still needed to find time to take care of myself, like eating and sleeping well. If you’ve never struggled with procrastinating it can be hard to understand that just “finding time for it all” or “trying harder” doesn’t always work.

In reality, the solution was one that was easily started. It began with getting to know myself. For example, I started off by simply keeping track of what things made me feel bored the quickest and what things I really enjoyed doing. Once I identified what they were, I changed the order in which I would do them and adjusted how much time I was willing to dedicate to each. Something else I found helpful was when I started writing down my responsibilities and upcoming events, my time management skills improved greatly. Another part of finding balance is being able to find it in your relationships. To find this balance, I had to start surrounding myself with healthy people. Surrounding yourself with people who will push you to succeed and have similar goals as you can bring happiness and confidence to your life. It’s important to remember that balance doesn’t just apply to how you manage things, but the balance of peace and happiness with your family and friends.

Something I learned when I first started getting the hang of finding balance, is that trying to make an immediate switch can be a recipe for disaster for me. The human body, as incredible as it is, isn’t capable of changing routine that easily. In fact, it made my life even more clustered. When I first attempted to make a change, I found myself overwhelmed, planning times to hangout with friends, thinking about my last race and my upcoming one, and how I would fit in time to relax, all while doing laundry. Like I said in my previous writing, gaining confidence is a slow process, but in all honesty, finding balance has been even slower. While I haven’t hit my goal yet, I can confidently say that I’ve found a routine for completing homework and tasks while having control over my duties as an athlete. I’m no longer blaming myself for losing track of time or not putting in the utmost effort possible, because I know that I have the ability to change those things and get right back where I want to be.

Since I’m in the process of talking to schools, I think it is worth mentioning that finding a school that can give me the support I need (whether it be academic, athletic, or mental) is extremely important to me. My life revolves around track almost year round, and I believe that by not having reign over what you can control in your own life will inevitably lead to burnout.

At the end of the day we’re all human, meaning complications are bound to occur at one point or another. But being able to find it in yourself… to work through them, creates a well-deserved balance.