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There are a lot of things that we convince ourselves we deserve. I worked out, so I deserve a cookie. Work was rough today, so I deserve an extra-big glass of wine. I’m “on” all day, so I deserve a Netflix weekend.

Sure, sometimes we absolutely need to cut ourselves a break, but I’ve found that that break becomes the habit rather than a true reward when earned. Since starting my new, stressful job, I’ve found myself on the couch, wine in one hand, dessert in the other, primed to ignore the whole world in favor of a mindless marathon. And I’m doing this nearly every night, not really even paying attention to husband, except for that 15-minute “how-was-your-day” talk when we get home. It’s easy to lull ourselves into a routine of thinking one part of life has been a challenge, so we deserve to let the other areas slide.

I’ll say though, for what it’s worth, the best weekend I’ve had was the one where I managed to grocery shop and meal plan, cook and bake; where I went to an extra-long yoga class; where I spent time out of the house with a friend; where I went to church; where hubs and I went out and did a real activity together, and in the midst, I also got to take a nap.

Balance. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? The tough part is remembering that balancing hard work doesn’t mean becoming a human lump when away from the office. It means engaging fully in all the different things we love–hobbies, relationships, keeping ourselves healthy, finding the time to write before heading into the rain to catch the bus…