One Sunday, not too long ago, I found myself maxed out. On my schedule that day was a walk to support Cystic Fibrosis research, a two hour round trip drive to pick up my grandmother, dropping my children off at a babysitter’s house, and hustling to a fundraiser dinner I had been co-planning with a friend for a month. By that evening my brain was mush, my head was pounding and my entire being was exhausted. I had depleted every little bit of energy I had in my bucket.
Being over scheduled and under rested magnifies any little slivers of stress that may be trying to wiggle their way under your skin. They become like logs and planks you might say. Here are six tips for taming my time in the future:
1. Setting Office Hours. I am trying really really really hard to only interact with social media and the blog for one hour in the morning, another 30 minutes during quiet time, and two hours in the evening. These are times when a majority of interruptions will be avoided simply by avoiding having my children in bed or otherwise occupied. Thereby freeing me to invest in more fully loving on my little ones. Now I’ve only been at this for 2 days so I’m not perfect at it… yet. but I am getting better.
2. Noticing the salvaged time when I can do two things at once. Sometimes I do squats or stretches while I wait for the bathtub to fill, I also watch Netflix in the tub. I chose to listen to audio books while I’m driving or out for a walk. Jessica Turner, author of The Fringe Hours reads magazines while she blow dries her hair.
3. Turning off the noise. I am a self diagnosed highly sensitive parent. Noise and bad smells are the strongest triggers. (I was going to insert some random examples of bad smells here… but I wouldn’t want to embarrass the people I live with). One of my secret tools is calming essential oils. I sometimes just dab a little lavender behind my ears or just open up the lemon oil and have a big sniff. ( This sounds like I’m huffing… but I promise it’s only one sniff). If you are interested my cousin Roxanne is one fantastic lady and a Young Living oil rep. Find out more info here.
Oh and I also try really hard to find silence Oh how hard I try, and on rare occasions I succeed, but they are mostly a fluke and I have no concrete advice on how to successfully hunt down this elusive creature.
4. Knowing when I need to zero in. I thought that a major source of my stress was my children. While messes, loud noises and the general chaos of family life can wreak havoc on my nerves sometimes it wasn’t actually my children that were stressing me out. It was all of the plates I was trying to keep spinning while interacting with them. Setting aside my other projects to spend time devoted to them is the cure for that.
5. Remember to ask for help. Most people are not mind readers (and those who claim they are seem kinda shady to me). Asking for help takes strength. It is not a weakness but a sign of competence. Knowing when you are burning out and asking others to supply you with some fuel is a really good thing.
6. Learn to say no. I struggle with this one. Every single thing in the above scenario was a good thing. I wanted to participate in every single one of those activities. I even volunteered for nearly all of them. The truth is all of those good things was too much of a good thing and I should have said no to at least one of them.
How do you refocus when you are over scheduled? Who can you turn to for help?