I’m not stressed. Everything is fine. I have nothing to complain about. Yes, my job is a little demanding, whose isn’t? Yes, my family makes constant requests from me, but that’s how families are. Yes, I don’t get enough sleep but it’s hard to go to bed early when I’m still finishing up with the dinner dishes, answering emails and helping with homework. Okay, maybe I’m a little stressed out.
Sounds familiar? Why do we hate to admit that our lives are not our own? We are either caring for a family, working or both. We don’t want to let anyone down, so we end up with more responsibilities than we can handle. We always think that as soon as this project is over or as soon as school lets out, then we will be able to do something fun. When we finally decide to take a vacation, that’s when we get sick. It’s as if our minds and our bodies know that we need a break and to make sure we get some rest, we come down with a cold. Is there a way off this merry-go-round or do we just try to make the best of it?
I think it’s time to get out of this vicious cycle and demand more fun in our lives. I know, easier said than done. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone has a different set of circumstances and challenges that make it difficult to set a course that will work for everybody. I do have some suggestions that might help find a way to sneak some “you” time in without neglecting your significant others.
1. Plan your day the night before or if you are an overachiever plan your week out on Sunday. Scheduling priorities that pertain to you such as going to the gym, dance class, poetry readings or other interests is important. This way if someone needs you to be somewhere or do something for them, you can look at your calendar and see if it can be done without you missing your event.
2. Learn to set boundaries. People can only take advantage of you if you let them. Of course, it never hurts to ask, but then that person should understand that the answer from you can be no.
3. Stop being Superwoman. You do not need to be at everyone’s beck and call and take on more than you can handle. Learn to delegate at work and at home. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teach your children how to do the laundry. Get your children to help prepare dinner and the clean up afterward. Just remember to have patience. Once these expectations become the norm, it will become easier when you don’t have to do everything yourself.
4. Meditate Meditate Meditate– Even if it’s for a few minutes. Breathing slowly and focusing on the light and energy within you, is enough to center and relax you.
5. Do not miss an opportunity for fun. If a friend is inviting you out to a party or movie-GO! Do not stay home because you don’t feel you look your best or housework should be done. Our lives are made up of memories and experiences. They should be filled with moments with loved ones and exciting adventures.
6. Get plenty of sleep. Our bodies and minds are recharged with a good night’s rest. Turn the television off and power down the computer. If you are having trouble getting your brain to relax, pick up a book. You could also use this time to write down everything good that happened that day. Focusing on the positive puts you in a more peaceful state.
7. Make the time to eat healthy. When your body has the proper fuel, you have more energy to take on the challenges you face everyday. Also remember to exercise. Not only does it help to relieve stress, but it keeps your body and mind strong.
8. Have a sense of self importance. Many people unconsciously feel that they need to constantly prove their self-worth. The fear is if they turn down an extra project or refuse to take on more tasks that somehow they will be seen as undependable. Do not set yourself up for failure by taking on more responsibility than you already have. If you spread yourself too thin, you will not be putting out quality work but, instead, will be needlessly stressing yourself out.
9. Friendships are important. Everyone needs someone to confide in. It has to be a two way street. You can’t be the one who always listens and is never heard. When you have that perfect person in your life, cultivate that friendship by emails, phone calls and definitely nights out. Don’t let weeks and months go by without getting together.
10. Don’t spend energy revisiting past regrets. It’s easy to do especially if you are not feeling great about yourself. Instead, see the accomplishments that brought you where you are today. Each new challenge gives us the opportunity to learn just how smart and resilient we really are.
I hope at least a couple of these suggestions will work for you. There is no planning for the unexpected twists and turns our lives take.
If life was smooth and easy, it would be boring and we wouldn’t have any interesting or inspiring stories to tell.