“Do what you can”: my new motto

Sometimes, life gets busy. You have kids and suddenly you have no free time. A family member gets sick and you start helping them out 4 times a week after work. You decide to do a part-time masters degree while working full time. Or, like me, you start a dietetic internship.

Life is crazy busy for me right now guys, especially since starting my latest rotation in GI surgery. I’m often at the hospital at 8 am or earlier, and there until 5 pm or later. And then I have to jam my evenings full of studying for the next day, working on some ongoing projects, making dinner, packing my lunch, and maybe working out or relaxing if I have time.

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Needless to say, I simply don’t have time for everything, which used to really stress me out and make me feel like a failure. But I’ve started to realize I just can’t do it all. So I’ve adopted the motto “Do what you can”.

I can’t workout 5 days a week like I used to. So I just do what I can. Some days I’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an hour long workout at the gym. Other times I’ll squeeze in a 20 minute Jillian Michaels video. And the rest of the time I just have to count the 10 minute walk to/from my car and the walk up 4 flights of stairs as my workout for the day.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

I can’t pursue all of my hobbies. I obviously love cooking and make it one of my priorities when I have the time, but I also love reading, yoga, watching my favourite tv shows, seeking out new music, perusing fashion blogs… but I don’t have the time to do all of these on a regular basis, so I do what I can. I may be 6 episodes behind in Grey’s Anatomy and crawling through my current book at a snail’s pace, but I still try to fit them in when I can because they make me happy.

Lululemon yoga

I can’t cook dinners from scratch every night. Remember my days in university when I had time to do that? I’m looking back and laughing at how easy I had it back then. So I just do what I can. I try to make a batch of something like soup or quinoa salad on the weekends to have on hand for the week. I try to cook on the weeknights when I have time. I try to get in my 5-10 fruits and vegetables per day. But sometimes those things don’t happen, and that’s okay.

Curried lentil quinoa soup

I can’t make this blog into what I’d like it to be. I have this vision of a blog with gorgeous food photos, new recipes 1-2 times per week, and a couple of nutrition posts each month. But I don’t have the time to spend hours recipe testing or perfecting my photography or researching nutrition topics outside of the studying I already have to do for my internship. So I just do what I can and accept that my blog – while not professional or polished by any means – is still something to be proud of.

CHKblog

I can’t find time to go to the dentist… actually that’s a bad example. I really should go to the dentist!

Anyways, point is sometimes we can’t do it all. And rather than getting ourselves all in a tizzy about not being able to fit everything is, I’ve found that it’s way better to just stop stressing, accept it, and settle for what we can do. Because when you think about it – what we can do is still pretty impressive!

Do you ever struggle with not having time to do it all?

41 Comments

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41 Responses to “Do what you can”: my new motto

  1. amen to this! I think it is all about making priorities for what works for you and what keeps you sane in the long term.

  2. do what you can is a GREAT motto! stay positive and like you said.. .do what you can! :) :)

  3. Love this post, Chelsea! You’re completely right. For me, it’s the first example you gave: throwing a child into the mix (with no family around to help out). Sometimes it’s shocking to think back what life was lie before _______ (fill in latest crazy life event).
    The thing is, we humans are versatile and we learn to adjust. I struggled for awhile though, because I wasn’t able to keep up with everything on “my list”. But like you said, you prioritize and fit in the fun stuff when you get a chance. Although I’m an advocate for creating goals and challenging yourself, I totally believe in the “do what you can” philosophy as a way to maintain peace and happiness each day. Otherwise, life just becomes unnecessarily stressful.

    • Chelsea

      I don’t know how all you moms (and dads!) do it, I’m complaining about being busy this year, but I don’t think it even comes close to comparing to having a kid. All you parents are total rockstars!

  4. Ahhhh comment box ate my comment!
    Ok, trying to remember what I said: I know I have it easy, right now, time wise and I’m definitely taking advantage (I’ve read 8 books so far this year. That is insane for me!) but I know it won’t always be that way. And when I do get too busy that some things have to be set aside or cut back on, that’s fine. It’s ok if we don’t make it through our to-do lists every day!

    • Chelsea

      I’ve got to say I’m a bit jealous of your schedule this year! But I know life has its busy times and its less busy times… and hopefully I’ll get to enjoy a bit of the latter after finishing this internship!

  5. Yes to all of this! Every day is only so long and with a jam-packed schedule like yours there’s just no way to do all and everything.
    And yes, your blog is enough, no: great, just the way it is. There will always be room for improvement – and yes, it’s been on my mind for mine, too – but in the end it should be enjoyable. Not another added stressor in our lives. Be proud of your awesome blog!
    I’ve been busier since starting a new internship, too, yet definitely not as busy as you and I still have a hard time getting everything done. Prioritizing those activities you enjoy and putting others on the backburner a little is a good way to approach it. Fingers crossed life will get more relaxed for you again!

    • Chelsea

      You sound really busy too! At least we know we’re not alone in our misery. ;) Haha just kidding, life is good! For you too I hope!

  6. This is my new life motto too! I used to think that it was all about planning and that if I failed to follow through on everything I wanted to do it was cause I failed to plan. I have since discovered that that is SO not true. Sure I could try to do it all, but likely at the cost of my sanity and happiness. That does NOT sound fun!

    • Chelsea

      Your old way of thinking sounds exactly like mine and it seriously DID drive me insane sometimes. Laid back is totally the way to go!

  7. i definitely struggle with that. there’s so much i want to do with my blog, learning more about nutrition/fitness, reading a million books. ahhh!

  8. Yes, yes, yes! Life definitely gets crazy sometimes, and when I start to get overwhelmed, I try to take a step back and just tell myself that I’m only one person. I’m doing what I can and I’m doing my best…that’s all that matters!

  9. Danielle @LabelsAreForTinCans

    Oh totally! Good for you! :) When I realized that last year it made a huge difference and made me so much happier. Finding what I can do (and can let go) to reduce stress was huge for me. We can’t do it all and that’s ok!

  10. I definitely think the ‘do what you can’ mentality is a necessary one to adopt. Life changes, circumstances change, and we need to be able to change with them. You might not have time to do all the things you want right now, but this chapter of your life isn’t going to last forever and you’re doing an amazing job making the most of it.

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Amanda! I keep worrying that the 9-5 working life after this won’t be any less busy than I am now… I think I need to take a LENGTHY vacation before starting a job haha.

  11. I’m totally with you on this post right now!! For the past couple months, I’ve felt like I can hardly do anything, let alone do it all. My blog has been put on the back burner a little bit unfortunately, but you really do have to just accept that “doing it all” is just not realistic sometimes!! You are incredibly busy right now, and I am glad that you can see that it’s okay to let some things go — you have to keep yourself sane, after all. I find that when I get crazy busy, blog reading/commenting is the first thing that has to take a backseat… but then I end up feeling guilty!

    • Chelsea

      Blogging/blog reading/commenting often gets put on the back burner for me too when I’m busy. As much as I love it, my friends/family/JZ, cooking, and any exercise time I can get are more important to me.

  12. Great motto and mantra, my friend- and it really hits home hard. Since starting full time work, I am amazed at how I used to have it so lucky doing things at my leisurely pace before.

    I think you’re doing a pretty epic job on all fronts- and doing good with this blog. :)

    • Chelsea

      You’re doing awesome too! You need to let me in on your secret for how you manage to post so many times a week while working full time!

  13. I hear ya… a lot of times I don’t even “WANT” to make myself a decent meal or workout. And thats okay. How excited are you for Saturday morning? I’m going to SLEEP IN… until 7am. hahahah

    • Chelsea

      Hahaha I love how that’s considered sleeping in for us. I actually slept in until 7:30 last Sunday – can you believe it?!?

  14. helloveggy

    I love this; such great words to live by. One of my mantras is ‘always do your best’ :)

  15. P

    I love this motto! It’s a great reminder to just be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far.

    You go girl, and happy Friday :)

  16. Story of my life and a phrase I also live by! Do what you can and that will always be enough.

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  19. I have been through times that sound a lot like yours so I can totally relate. Don’t worry schedules always come and go in phases, there will be an upcoming phase when you find yourself with spare time and you will appreciate it that much more. I would really love to meet up with you again some time so the next time you do happen to get spare time definitely send an email my way! I need to go the dentist too…(that seems to be something I never find time for…even if I have spare time haha)! :)

  20. It’s definitely a motto everybody would be better off following, including myself.

  21. You really hit this straight on girl. I think prioritizing is something we learn as we grow and I love that honestly. I really like what you say about reading and working out and cooking when you can because you enjoy them- that is important too. You may be busy but you are still trying to find time for lots of things and that is inspiring!

  22. Totally relate to this one girl!! The ‘having a baby’ and then being a ‘mature student’ have caused me to REALLY adopt this motto! Sometimes I do find myself getting stuck in what it was like prior to this, but I think if I really focus on this motto, then it would help. You are great, and it’s good that you try to fit things in here and there that are for you. Can you add to the list: hang out with Char this summer and go to Kelly’s and Lettuce Love?!?! haha

  23. Oh girl, I am RIGHT there with ya! I seriously don’t even know how I used to blog (and read) as much as I used to…along with having a life and sleeping and working out and keeping up the house. Yeah, I can definitely relate. I’ve scaled back my posting a bit and I’m trying to do more things OUTSIDE of blogging…things that make me happy that I may have forgotten…and I have to say, I’m feeling a lot better (and less stressed) about things. :)

    • Chelsea

      I’m so glad that scaling on blogging has been a good thing for you too! Honestly I’ve learned there’s a lot more to life than blogging – and it’s been really great to live more of my life outside of it.

      That being said, I definitely don’t have plans to abandon it any time soon… I love it too much!

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