At times I thought I wouldn’t survive. Spring has brought with it both beautiful weather and a myriad of activities. My job has become crazy and requires irregular travel. Steve’s job has required travel and rising at crazy hours sometimes. We have a puppy who, while adorable, has placed us in the middle of housetraining and puppy classes. I’m working on another novel revision. I’ve got to keep a clean house. Oh, and I try to see my friends once in a while.
Sound crazy? It is. And we don’t even have kids!
What’s a girl to do? I’ve had to learn how to power through the craziness of this season.
It’s a matter of survival with my sanity intact.
I’ve come up with five ways I’m using to survive busy periods of life.
Expect the expected. Face it. We all have periods of time when we know life will be hectic. We simply need to anticipate those times and understand they’ll happen. For example, for people with kids—and people without kids—two periods of the year seem to be the most hectic—the month of May and the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I find when I expect those periods to be busy, I’m better able to plan for them.
Prioritize. This is hard for me at times because I tend to expect too much out of myself. During this latest busy period, I’ve realized something. I’ve had to ask myself what had to get done.
- Is it okay for me to delay doing the laundry a day or two? (read, will everyone be kept in fresh underwear?)
- Is it okay if I put off cleaning the house for a week? (read, can Steve, the pups, and I put up with a brief level of messiness until things calm down?)
- Can I put off that Target run a couple of weeks? (read, will we run out of TP?)
I’ve found myself asking myself these kinds of questions, then giving myself permission to put off some things until the crazy times pass. Giving myself permission is the hardest part, but it works and lowers my stress levels a little.
Seize the moment. Even in really busy times, quiet moments do arrive. How prepared am I for those moments? The key is to be act when they arrive. For example, I knew today that after an early start to work, I would finish early and have some downtime. I called my husband and asked him to leave my computer where I could get to it at the house without disturbing the dogs. Now, I’m tucked away at my neighborhood Starbucks as I draft this blog. These unexpected moments have helped both lower my stress levels and catch up on writing.
Take care of relationships. At the end of the day, we like to say that we do all we do to take care of those we love. What happens if those relationships, including that with ourselves, have broken due to neglect during our busy times?
- Our bodies require proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. It’s easy during busy times to neglect all three. Many times, we have to make a choice to exercise or to turn off the television and go to bed. It’s not easy, but it has to be done.
- Our families need attention. Again, it’s easier sometimes for us to skip supper in favor of a bite out before we run to our next meeting. I know this is easy for me, but I’ve also found that suppertimes with Steve do more to lower my stress levels than anything else.
- Our friends need attention. This is a hard one for me during busy periods, especially those at work when I get tapped out. After a really busy period, I’ll always try to reconnect with my girlfriends either over lunch, walking, or coffee. Doing so helps me to avoid that loneliness that can creep in at times when I’m swamped.
Time with God. For me, this is critical. On normal days, I make time in the morning to journal and to read Scripture. It centers me, makes me once more aware of whose schedule really matters. Not mine. Not that at work. God’s schedule matters the most. It prepares me for the unexpected and lowers my stress level even before the day begins.
We all find our schedules to be insane at times. I probably fail at that above, more than I succeed, but I'm getting better at it. The key is to power through those crazy times by keeping our priorities in order, taking care of our relationships, and looking for unexpected downtimes to rest. When we do those things, we can make it through with our sanity intact.
Question: What are ways you utilize to make it through difficult, busy times in life?
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