Tools I use when life serves up lemons.
I haven't posted a Neat Little Nest blog post in over a month because I just couldn't make it happen. From about mid-December until recently, I wasn't able to catch my breath.
On top of the usual holiday bustle, we had a very busy client schedule and on top of that I kicked up a search to find my parents a new place to live, my dad took two trips to the ER and I took three trips to breast center to get a diagnosis about a suspicious spot. Thankfully, my dad is doing better and my breast biopsy was benign.
While I'm pleased to say that I was able to, for the most part, stay steady, during this time, I had to rely on many tools to get me through this challenging series of life events. So I thought I would share what has helped me in case it might help you to.
I get outside for fresh air as much as possible
Three of my friends and I have a standing date at a lake near our homes every morning at 6:30. While our trips to the lake are less frequent in the winter than they are in the spring, summer and fall, those walks are food for my soul for two reasons. First, I'm able to connect with friends and just share about life's events. Second, I'm able to be outside and revel in the beauty and grandeur of nature.
I read scripture and pray
One of the things that comforts me when I'm stressed or concerned about the future is to read hope-inducing scripture. Through my daily readings, I am reminded that I am not alone and I do not need to carry the heavy burden of the day. I can cast my worries to God and then be content to get on with what I'm called to do that day. Of course I have days that still don't go well and I lose my cool, but I can regroup much easier on these days resting in the promise.
I talk to a therapist
About 4 years ago I started to work with a therapist. Before then, I think I believed that therapy was for people who were in crisis. Oh, how wrong I was. My only regret about therapy is that I hadn't started sooner.
Working with a therapist has helped me dig into my anxiety and people pleasing tendencies and unearth where they began and start to heal those old hurts. By healing them and building new (and positive) neuro-pathways, I am able to see daily obstacles and encounters with a clearer perspective. I've been able to draw necessary boundaries to have a more fulfilled life and create more meaningful relationships.
I write down what I need to do
When my life gets really hectic that is when my planning and routines become more even more important. The reason for this is that when I am stressed because I have more to do than I have time to do it, my memory and recall isn't as strong as when I have a balanced amount of time and energy.
I take time weekly to write down my schedule into my planner. Each day, I spend a moment writing out my top 3 priorities as well as items I need to finish and new priorities. Doing both of these things routinely helps me stay on track and allows me in real-time to adjust when priorities shift which they inevitably do. To read more about the Neat Little Planner I use, read this recent blog post.
I delegate and delete
When my work and personal life are on overdrive, all priorities need to be reevaluated. I have to be honest with myself about what is possible based on all of my life's circumstances. So often, I just need to either ask for help from someone else by delegating tasks or I need to take things off of my plate completely.
As I sat in this recent tough season, I did both of these things. After reflecting on the amount of administrative work I was doing and I hired a virtual assistant who is just wonderful. I also made the decision to take a break from the blog.
You see friends, we all experience low or chaotic times because that is a part of life. Hoping the tough stuff will go away is using an avoidance strategy that doesn't work out in the long run. Better to face what is happening with as clear a mind as you can muster to persevere through difficult times with grace.
What go-to resources or activities do you lean into when you find yourself facing a stretch of time that seems overwhelming? How do you balance the ebb and flow of a full life? We all need to find things that help us right our proverbial ship when it is navigating rough seas. Seeking comfort and connection is expressed differently for everyone but those elements create solace when the going gets tough.