August has always been one of the most chaotic times of year in my household. Between kids going back to school, winding down from the summer, and my allergies setting off a POTS flare up, it’s usually busy and I’m usually under the weather.
This year has thrown in some new and uncharted challenges too. We’ve had a death in the family, my parents are preparing to move cross-country, kids going back to school 2020 style, and a big fat side of self-quarantine after Covid exposure.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and shift into a state of reaction.
Most of us are overcommitted, out of routine, and adjusting to the “new normal”.
The irony is that right now, taking care of ourselves is more important than ever before (and it’s always been pretty important!). While it may seem almost impossible, there are things we can do to make it a whole lot easier.
Chances are, at least in one way or another, some (if not all) of your old routines aren’t as effective as they once were. You may have already left them by the wayside, or you may be trying to force them into giving you the same ease and success as they once did. It’s time to put those old routines to bed.
In reality, you should be looking at your routines at least annually to see if they are outdated and if there may be a better, more efficient way of doing things.
You might find that you’re spending as much time trying to figure out how to go about your day/week/month as you spend actually doing it. A prime example is trying to figure out dinner every night. It’s all to common that families spend more time mulling over dinner options than actually preparing and eating dinner, when if they had a habit or routine of planning their weekly dinners, they would have all ingredients on hand and there wouldn’t be the debate of what to have tonight for dinner.
A few places to look at are your morning and evening routine, meal routines, and after work routine. You’ll find that many of the day’s chores and to-dos become habits that are taken care automatically.
Always being connected can play a big part in feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Set times for when you check your email or social media.
Putting your phone away a couple hours before going to bed can also make a huge difference in how busy you feel.
You’d be surprised with how much more calm you feel, not to mention all the extra time you have when you hold boundaries with when and how you’re using your electronic devices.
When you’re mindful you’re living in the present moment. You aren’t stressing about the future or reuminating on the past.
Try focusing fully on one task at a time. You’ll find that you are more engaged, more effective, and more efficient.
Get Enough Sleep
It can be tempting to sacrifice sleep to try to get more done, but it’s counterintuitive. When you have enough sleep, your brain functions better and you’re more effective.
Another way to optimize your abilities throughout the day is to keep a regular sleep routine – going to bed and waking up the same time each day. Your body and your mind will thank you!
This one can be challenging in a society that pressures us to do it all – but you’ll find that you’re spending time in areas that are not only not important, but are adding to your busyness and your stress.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” and spend your time on activities that are essential or truly meaningful to you. Using your time wisely can make the world of difference.
There is definitely power in numbers! Focus on your strengths and outsource, ask for help, or eliminate other tasks.
Whether it be sharing responsibilities with a family member, asking a friend to lend a hand, or using a service, lightening your load in the areas that really keep you stuck can free up loads of time.
It can be easy to get lost in trying to figure out past events, proof reading an email for the tenth time, or micromanaging the household.
Instead of getting caught up in the past, try journalling at night to unload and look back. Journalling is also stress relieving in itself and can be a great way to wind down for bed with a clear mind.
Let go of perfection, it doesn’t exist. Do a quick proofread of emails, assignments, etc and submit. Being detail oriented is one thing, but many of us take it to the level of “analysis paralysis”.
Let Go of Competition
Many of us compare our lives, situations, or even emotional state with the appearance of how it is for others.
Just because it looks like “Suzi” is single-handedly managing her household, her career (not to mention her side-hustle), volunteering for every fundraiser, bringing treats to the soccer games, and looking like she stepped out of a magazine; we may not see that she has a housekeeper, has been passed up a dozen times for a promotion, volunteers because she craves the validation of others, has a personal trainer and stylist on speed dial, and cries herself to sleep every night because spouse barely talks to her, her kids don’t respect her, and the pressure of keeping up appearances is eating her away inside.
That may be a drastic example, but it’s more common than you think. Bottom line, what we see isn’t necessarily what is, just like we’d be shocked if we saw ourselves through someone else’s eyes.
Audit Your Time
When was the last time you took a real look at exactly where your time each day was spent? Try looking at the amount of time you have once you remove sleep, work, and commuting.
Of course, there are activities you must do like eating, shopping, bathing, and other necessary obligations of your time, but if you take a good, hard look of where you’re time is actually going, you may be surprised of how much free time you really have.
Take a Time Out
When we’re really busy it can snowball. Even when there is free time, being busy can create the feeling that you always have to be in motion… even if it’s counterproductive.
Taking time to pause and step away can give you new clarity and allow you to better manage your time and your life.
This is why activities like meditation, journaling, or other self-love activities are so essential. It’s not just about filling your own cup, but it also allows you to detach and have a clearer perspective on what really is.
If you struggle with taking time for yourself, the I Love Me Challenge is starting again soon. It’s all about implementing self-care and self-love consistently and a great way to put yourself as a priority in your life. You can learn more below.
How do you currently manage your levels of busyness? Are there any methods that you’d like to start implementing?
Let me know in the comments below!
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