12 Ways to Maintain Balance With Your New Life in LA

Picture courtesy of gusulabu Flickr

Picture courtesy of gusulabu Flickr

Whether it be great food, amazing drinks, an endless array of parties one said night, shopping, traveling, hiking, exploring, or networking (only to name a few), LA takes the cake for being one of the most lively cities in the U.S…as well as one of the most tempestuous. What I mean by that is you will never, ever have to be bored again (if you don’t want to be). There are more things to do in LA than there are enough hours in a day, week, or year. There is always something happening, something new, something fresh, something fun, something inspiring, something going on.

However, as amazing as that sounds, to never be bored again come with a price. Simply put, be careful not to burn yourself out, especially if you are within the first six months of having moved here. It’s deceptive and it happens faster than you’d think. One minute you’re in love with all of these new opportunities and events and things to do, and the next minute, you can’t shake the perpetual exhaustion. LA is a giant Beast, and if you don’t set some boundaries within the first months you’re living here, you will quickly spiral into something that’s unmanageable.

When I moved here from Minneapolis, I was lucky enough to have a job waiting for me upon my arrival. My boyfriend and I had a place to stay with some friends up in North Hollywood while we looked for a place to live closer to my work in southern Culver City. We had one week to find a place before I started my new job. Unfortunately, there was about a week of overlap when we couldn’t find a place to live, and I was stuck commuting over an hour a day each way (which is actually normal for a lot of Los Angelenos). We finally nabbed a sublet down in Venice, from a really sweet girl, and had to wait a couple more days for her to move her stuff out. We finally moved in and got settled, and a couple of really awesome freelance opportunities came my way. I took them. My boyfriend was in the midst of doing numerous freelance and contract jobs for design agencies all around town on top of me freelancing and working a 9-6 job. Before we knew it, we had to start looking for a more permanent place to live, which became another job on top of all that. Then friends from out of town started to visit. Then we had to move again. Now we have no furniture and our weekends are consumed by looking for pieces we’d like to live with for some years to come (no IKEA!). Now we have another friend coming to visit at the end of the month for almost a week.

Needless to say, after three months of living here, we are completely exhausted (hell, we were exhausted from packing to move to LA). We already feel like we need not only a vacation from LA, but also a vacation from our friends coming to visit and our current responsibilities. Here are a couple of ways we have learned, read about, and heard of to help you slow down and regain some ground:

Leave LA. I know you may have just moved here, but it’s necessary. Go to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, or Big Bear. Cheap and close weekend trips that allow you to relax and come up for a little bit of air.

Go to the beach.  Any beach. It does wonders for your mind and soul. Really.

Get some exercise. In the same way the beach does, it works wonders for your mind and soul, and you’ll feel great.

Prioritize your time. What needs to get done that you’ve been putting on hold?

Spend a weekend by yourself. No events or parties. You could even go as far as no friends. Re-connect with who you are in any way you choose. Trust me, it’s worth its weight in gold when you start the week feeling refreshed, calm, and ready to take on the Beast again.

Re-connect with your support system. Call your friends and family back home. Hang out with your BFF for a day if they live around the area.

If you moved with your significant other, schedule some Grade-A quality time. Do whatever you want to do as long as it’s just the two of you. I never thought I would say this but, the older you get, the busier you get. I know of two cases in which one marriage has almost failed because of this and one that actually has.

Do the tedious things. Clean your place, budget your money for the week, write a grocery list, re-arrange your closet. When you’re overwhelmed and life is moving too fast you’ll actually find it rather relaxing to take some quiet time to tend to the small things in your life.

Dedicate one day a week to doing only one thing. Multitasking is so last summer. Seriously, I just read three articles on it this week alone. Slow down, focus and re-charge for a bit.

Hobbies. Find one. This is true “you” time. Whatever it may be, you’re doing something that makes you happy and takes the focus of your mind away from the rest of the hustle and bustle.

Get enough sleep and relaxation time. The less tired you are, the more you will accomplish when you’re not sleeping; however, make sure to take some time in between accomplishing things and sleeping. Sit back and relax for a little bit. There’s power in simply doing nothing.

Meditate and reflect. Peace of mind…it goes a long way. It also helps keep your goals in clear sight.

I know a lot of this may seem like common sense, but the LA lifestyle, whatever you make yours out to be, is an entire new balancing act than what you’re probably used to. As soon as you learn the ropes, be sure to create some form of balance at the same time. You’ll avoid exhaustion and any possibility of being put out of commission by sickness. As I said before, there is always something to do in LA. So, if you miss out on a couple events to take some time for yourself, and you’re feeling a little guilty, don’t. There will be many, many more opportunities.

Good luck to you, my friend.

Sarah Ekstorm

Sarah Ekstrom is an Interactive Designer and contributing writer for ImMovingtoLA.com hailing from the Midwest. You can check out her personal work at sarahekstrom.com

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