Saturday, December 4th, 2021

P Shopper Columns


I've always had a motley assortment of hobbies and interests with which to occupy my time. I typically have a handful of different projects in progress on any given day. As much as I enjoy these various pastimes, I find it extremely difficult to nurture them while also working full time. I write for one hour every day; because I maintain that commitment, and because my commute to work is somewhat lengthy, I have even less free time each evening. It's a struggle to do much more than get home, prep for work the next day, eat dinner, and go to bed. Not that I'm ungrateful for my job; I couldn't be happier with my position, and I feel very blessed. Still, there are other aspects of my life that I'm still learning to balance.

One thing I do my best to make time for is walking my dog. Not only because he needs and deserves the exercise, but because I love spending time with him and he brings me joy. In the warmer months when the sun stays up longer, I can take him out in the evenings after work. On this particular evening, we went for a walk in the new neighborhood that is being built across the street from my house. Right now it's nothing more than a lot of open land and a paved road winding around a manmade lake. It was six o'clock, and the sun was gliding down the sky, casting a golden glow over the fields, the water, and my dog, who pranced exuberantly down the street. The surface of the lake glittered with reflected light. Riggs and I walked by the water, he drooling over the sight of the geese floating just out of reach, and I savoring the cool air and the sound of the wavelets slapping the shore. After a hectic day at work, it was restorative to be alone with my dog in that serene, wide-open space.

Accomplishing a to-do list means nothing
if we are not maintaining
our physical and mental health.

I can't say I've achieved the perfect balance between my work life and my personal life. The same day I enjoyed that walk with Riggs, I stayed up an hour late to write this column. Ultimately, recognizing what matters to us is crucial, as is making time for whatever that may be. I can't even imagine how parents do it, or people juggling multiple jobs. What I do know is that the busier we get, the more vital it becomes to take care of ourselves. That will mean different things on different days. Sometimes we might choose to sacrifice sleep for accomplishing things we feel are important to get done, while other times it will mean not getting things done in order to get the rest our bodies need. When we don't strive to achieve a balance, we risk becoming fatigued. Exhaustion and frustration will only bleed into other aspects of our lives, affecting those around us. Even if we're feeling overtaxed, time away from work is energizing and important. People who are driven and hardworking might sometimes lose sight of their own self-care, but accomplishing a to-do list means nothing if we are not maintaining our physical and mental health. Doing that will allow us to be happier, healthier, and better prepared to commit ourselves to our endeavors.

Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.