This past week, I reached a moment where I realized that without a doubt, I did not have it together. We try to kid ourselves that we can keep saying, “Yes” to everyone that needs help and still, magically, be able to keep up with all our own work and responsibilities. While we can often fake ourselves into believing it’s possible, all it takes is one or two curve balls to be thrown at us to make us drop this juggling act that we somehow briefly mastered.
While I am often upset at the time when these curve balls come my way, I am later thankful that they happened because they make me stop and slow down a bit. And boy did we slow down this last month. Our school was hit not only with a flu bug but also a high-fever sore throat virus. Things that take you out for days. And when you are juggling more than you can already handle, you don’t have days to spare. Things start piling up and you begin to wonder if you’ll ever dig your way out of this household/work nightmare that you are now in. Sound familiar?
I was stung hard by both illnesses from the school – to such an extreme that I had to cancel a trip I had been looking forward to for almost a year. My husband had already taken the time off work and I already had everything set for meals, clothes, school events etc. so he would have an easier time. Rather than not take the time off, he suggested I have a few days to rest and regroup at home while he took care of the kids and household responsibilities. And I have to tell you, it was like Christmas came early.
I spent time thinking about all the things that add stress to my life and pondering if there were ways I might be able to reduce or even eliminate the stress with proper planning and getting more organized. I pulled out a trusty old notebook and pen and went to work jotting down everything that was adding unhappiness to my life. Now, I’m not talking little quirky things that annoy me but things that truly had control over me that I might be able to fix.
My first plan was to write down one thing for each day of the month of October but I stopped at 20. My being overwhelmed was basically the result of twenty things. I tried to divide them into categories and stuffed them into these areas: Household, Organizational Help, Food & Finance and Personal. And from there, I plotted out one thing per weekday, with a day to “recap” and so became my homework for the month. Yes, at 37 I have homework to do!
Here is my plan and I’m hoping that all of you will take the month of October to follow along with your own plan so that we can all be on our way to a happier holiday season:
1) Each weekday I am going to take one “stress” to brainstorm as many ideas as I can for how to fix it with better planning, organization and/or even help from my family. Slowly I’ll begin putting the best of the ideas into place. Key word there….slowly!
2) Once a week, I am going to have one day to “recap” and take a look at what I’ve accomplished for the week.
3) At the end of the month, I am going to take pictures of what I’ve achieved and have a solid monthly agenda in place going forward. And of course, I’m going to celebrate!
I’m hoping that you’ll join me in this journey. Each weekday in October I’ll be posting my “stresses” and the ideas I have brainstormed for them. Perhaps mine will be similar to yours and my ideas might help you or trigger ideas of your own.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, for today is this: Grab a notebook and a pen and write down all those things that stress you out. See if you can find 20 or so that you might be able to brainstorm possible solutions for them.
Hope you join me in this brainstorming fun!