ROSS SIMMONDS A digital marketing strategist, writer and speaker and the founder behind local start-ups Hustle & Grind and Crate
HOW I RELAX I don’t buy that I’ll ever have balance, so to speak, but it’s about striking that balance for you and the people around you. For me it’s taking breaks by doing things like yoga, saying yes when a friend has a 30th birthday, not being afraid to take a three-day vacation. I work hard but I probably play harder. It’s really fitness and travel. Time with friends and family is a big piece of it as well. Those are the three key pillars of keeping my own personal sanity. Those three things give me my escape from the hustle and bustle of grind, so to speak.
WORDS OF WISDOM Pay as much attention to your calendar as you’d typically pay to your bank account. Time is the most valuable thing we have but we don’t audit it or balance it like we do with expenses. Once time is spent you can’t get that back.
KATIE BELLEFONTAINE On maternity leave with 12-week-old twins and a four-year-old, volunteer activity coordinator and communications coordinator with Halifax’s Parents of Multiple Births Association
HOW I RELAX It’s hard to find that time. I’m just now working on getting the twins to take scheduled naps. But my oldest doesn’t nap anymore. The downtime really starts when everyone’s in bed. By the time you get one to bed, then two to bed, bottles cleaned, formula ready—it’s 10 o’clock. I’ve always worked out, and it wasn’t too bad finding the time with just one but with three now it’s harder to sneak out at night. I make sure I make time to do it during the day—there can be total chaos going on around me and I still do. A 30- or 35-minute workout can take me an hour and a half, but I’m determined to not let a day go by that I don’t do one.
WORDS OF WISDOM It’s hard and it’s going to be hard to find time for yourself to just even put on normal clothes, or makeup, or brush your hair or remember if you brushed your teeth. It takes time, that’s the biggest thing. We’re still only 12 weeks into it but I’m realizing now I have to make myself, even for an hour, a priority.
HALEY MYATT A full-time student at Mount Saint Vincent University, board member, freelance designer, photographer and volunteer who (somehow) works two jobs
HOW I RELAX Relaxing looks simple some days compared to others. Sometimes it’s having a morning tea while watching the sun rise or listening to a rad playlist, or any song that’s currently rocking my world. It can look like travelling, or at least planning the next big adventure, perfecting a new recipe, taking photos of nature, car rides with the windows down. You can never discount the amazing power of meditation, a good book and a nap either! I find with being so busy and constantly being surrounded by people while working, I like to have the quiet moments alone so that I can truly recharge and get ready for the next big day or item on my schedule.
ISSMAT AL-AKHALI President and CEO at Blacksheep Projects, founder of boutique student residence Granville Hall, Black Business Consulting board member, public speaker with Passage to Canada
HOW I RELAX I find that my most productive time is during the day, I try to get as much done as I can during the day. It’s more of a policy. I don’t do work at night unless there’s an emergency deadline of some sort—I shut down at 6 or 6:30pm maximum and focus on things at home. It sounds nerdy, but the most relaxing thing I do is play video games. I pop something in the PlayStation and it just kind of takes my mind away. Also reading...my reading is escapist literature, fantasy and things that won’t bring the real world back into my brain.
ON BALANCE It’s challenging to find balance. My family is definitely always on my mind, that I need to make effort to stay in touch with them—I’m originally from Yemen. Someone working on a business in Nova Scotia, if you have your family around you, you can stay in touch and have dinners and lunches—but with family around the world it becomes harder. Weeks and months go by and you don’t speak. I think it’s important to stay positive—balance is a state of mind for me. Foolish optimism, I think. Balance is meant to keep you motivated, positive and energetic about what you’re doing. It’s largely mental. I rely a lot on my wife, I don’t thank her enough for supporting me during the ups and downs.