Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saving Your Sanity



Does life ever get a little too crazy?

You know, those weeks when the dinner you eat in the car consists of a half-eaten candy bar your daughter found in the glove box, shared among all four of you.

When you tell your son to grab socks from the dirty laundry hamper and wear them again, and you promise you'll get to the laundry this weekend.  But it's only Monday.

When you look in the mirror at the end of the day and realize you only put makeup on one eye because you were rushing to get out the door while signing a permission slip, asking if someone would let the dog out, and looking for your shoes.  (The half-done eye makeup does at least explains the odd looks you've been getting all day.)

Then you realize as you collapse into bed at 1 am that you missed your daughter's doctor appointment to refill her anti-anxiety medication, and wish the prescription was for you.

Please tell me you've all had days like this.

I swear sometimes my stress level could power a small community if only I could find a way to harness it.

To save my sanity in an insane world, I've decided there are a few things I have to focus on.

5 Ways to reduce stress that don't take any extra time

Because really, trying to schedule time to de-stress is kind of counter productive.

If you have more ideas, 
PLEASE SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.  
(I think we would all like all the ideas about this we can get)

1. Reduce
Get rid of commitments and things you don't absolutely have to have.  This includes junk in the house, junk in the schedule, and junk in your fridge.  Say "no" to things people want you to do.  ("Thank you so much for asking! Unfortunately that isn't going to work for me.")  The biggest temptation for most people is not doing bad things.  (When were you last tempted to rob a bank?)  The biggest temptation is to do so many good things we don't have time for the best things.

2. Eat healthy food
You don't expect your car to run well on crummy fuel.  Why should you?  Don't let this stress you by adding extra shopping trips. While sitting on the toilet (the only free time you have if you're like me) scribble a list of healthy foods you can eat while on the go.  I like nuts and dried fruit, protein bars (my favorites are Twisted Bars, but NuGo are also good), apples, cheese sticks, and beef jerky.  Throw away the junk food in your house, car, purse, office drawer, closet, underwear drawer, whatever.  When I eat healthy foods, and don't eat garbage, I have energy to get the best things done.  

3. Go to bed
I love this step-- once I'm there.  I have a serious love for pillows.  And blankets. And soft comfy things in general.  But for some reason making myself quit whatever I'm doing and get into bed is really hard.  I'm like a kid on a video game.  Just one more level. Just one more level.  Except for me it's "Just one more thing I can get done.  Just one more thing I can get done."  After a couple of nights being up till well after midnight I turn into a zombie.  If I make myself go to bed around 10 consistently, it's amazing how much more productive I am during the day!

4. Think happy thoughts
Smile!  It will make everything better!  Did you know that smiling actually releases chemicals in your body that make you feel happy?  Look for good things during the day.  Notice the flowers.  Hum a happy song.  Hold the door open for someone.  Even the worst day can be brightened with some happy thoughts.

5. Take a deep breath
And let it out slowly.  
Do it now.  Then do it again.  
Repeat when stuck in traffic, when the grocery store is out of the only food your child will eat, when your realize you were supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago, and several other times during the day.

It's amazing how much of a difference these little things can make.  
Life is crazy.  That doesn't mean we have to be.

Do you have ideas that help keep you sane when life is crazy?  Please share them!  Heaven knows we can all use more sanity in our lives.  =)


3 comments:

Valerie said...

I so struggle with this! The suggestions you mentioned help me alot. I would add "exercise" (which for me is just laps around the courtyard or a short video, but it really helps), getting up early to read scrips, and decluttering my inbox. Recently, I unsubscribed from everything, just left a few blogs in my reader. I can always go to a website, but somehow if it comes to me I feel compulve about dealing with it. Also, I keep a "someday maybe list" or in this case "until summer" list. Anytime I feel stressed about something I'm not doing, I put it down on my summer list and tell myself I'll do it then. I think I'll be in for a shock this summer and won't get to a small fraction of what I think I will, but at least it keeps me a bit more sane during the school year. Finally, I try an remind myself of all the hobbies I can pursue when I'm a childless, little old woman, and that if I never take to enjoy my kids, I'll regret that.

Rebecca =) said...

Valerie- Yes! How did I forget exercise? Good heavens! Thank you for adding it!

I love your idea about putting things on a Summer list. Gets the stress gone while keeping the option there to do it soon.

And yes, if we don't enjoy our kids now, the chance will be gone. Other things can come later. But later, the kids will be gone. No success can compensate for failure in the home.

At the end of the day, when I count my "10 good things about today," the list is almost completely made up of things I did with my kids or other people. If I want t have a good day, I do things with my kids. Then at the end of the day, I am happy.

=)

Polly said...

Focus on what I CAN control, disregard what I can't, or at least find a way to deal with the fact that I can't accept it. Amazing how much I can stress out over things about which I can do nothing.