I used to be stressed. All. The. Time. Over every. Little. Thing. I lived in a state of stress. I think I could attribute it to being overly tired and exhausted from being a teacher, wife, and mom, but I reflected on just what I was getting frustrated over.
A lot of it was having too much to do and either too little time or energy to get it done.
Some people would tell me the dishes can wait, the kids are only little once. Things like that.
But really, if I have a sink stacked full of dishes, 5 baskets of laundry mocking me on the couch, and clutter piled high on the counters I don’t enjoy digging for a black sock on the morning of the day I have breakfast duty at school.
I don’t enjoy spending an hour emptying the dishwasher, loading it up, and washing the rest of the dishes because they wouldn’t fit in one load.
So I changed that.
Instead of coming home and plopping on the couch, I rush to get all the “chores” out of the way while my kids watch a show or eat a snack.
Then I can focus on relaxing or playing with my kids without having the nagging feeling of needing to get something done.
I try my best to “keep up” with the chores before they turn into mountains.
I stay weeks, even months ahead on lesson plans so that when “something comes up” during my plan time I’m not stressed about my lesson for the next day.
I keep a list of things that are running low, or better yet stock up, so I don’t have to run to the store at 9 o’clock at night because we ran out of toilet paper, diapers, or deodorant.
I try to stay ahead. Keep up. So I don’t feel the stress of being behind.
I feel like I have more time to actually relax than “relaxing” (procrastinating) myself into a state of stress.
While semi-potty training two toddlers, you can imagine why it takes us 20 minutes from the time I say “put your shoes on” until we are actually pulling out of the driveway.
This one was really bad. It was so bad, and we would be so late, that sometimes it would make me want to just give up and stay home (mainly getting to church).
I would set my alarm to have just enough time to get ready, in a frenzy, yank the kids out of bed, get them dressed, and run out the door holding them under my arms like footballs.
I would be late because of “red lights” or “slow drivers.”
I since figured out a genius idea.
Wake up earlier.
Earlier and earlier until I find a time that I don’t have to rush and have accounted for time if I do hit every red light.
I can kiss my kids good bye, follow a slow driver to work and still walk in 5 minutes before I have to be there.
I lay out our outfits for the whole week and pack everything the night before.
We get ready for church as soon as we wake up. We leave “30 minutes early” because remember it takes 20 minutes for them to put their shoes on, go to the bathroom, get in their car sets, and drive away.
Late still happens in our house occasionally, but it’s not a habit we put ourselves in anymore.
Dreading Sunday nights. Monday mornings. Waiting for Friday to feel relief. Not looking forward to a majority of the days in the week.
That’s a sad way to live.
Maybe it’s time for a change in what you do during the day. Start something new. Shift around or change within where you are.
Step away from former responsibilities or commitments that take away energy from what matters most.
Pick up a passion or hobby that you once enjoyed or dream to do. I started painting again, a couple times a month when the kids go to bed.
I taught English for 7-12th grade (yes every grade in between, each hour of the day) in Alaska for a couple years, then back in Missouri at a high school, and then finally landed at a middle school.
I gained something from every experience, but I feel like I’ve finally settled in the right place, where I feel like I’m making the biggest impact with my talents and personality.
I don’t look forward to every aspect of my job, but I do feel an overall sense that I’m where I’m called to be at this time.
I find joy knowing what I do during the day, and at home matters.
If you don’t, reflect on what you dread and what you might be able to do to change that.
You probably have one, two, or a handful of people who truly know the real you. Not the polished, jeans wearing, casual conversation you.
I’m talking about the I-had-a-rough-day, I’m at the end of my patience, and I just changed into my comfy-not-for-public sweat pants you.
The you that is ugly and doesn’t think before you speak. The you that pouted, and rolled your eyes, and said mean things to your husband.
What is the root of your crankiness?
Is it because you stayed up too late too many nights in a row?
Is it because you are stressed because you are late because you are dreading going to wherever you are headed?
Figure out why you are cranky and knock it off. Quit complaining about how things are and do something about. Don’t blame other people for your lack of happiness. (This is me talking to myself).
Not just tired. But like running on empty, chugging coffee, and too too too busy.
You give everything to everyone else, and you have nothing left at the end of each day.
You lost touch with what you once enjoyed. You aren’t using your talents. You don’t feel like you have enough energy.
This one seems like common sense, but it takes some self-discipline and maybe a shift in your family’s schedule.
Get more sleep.
Can’t sleep in? Go to bed earlier.
Got kids? Put them to bed earlier.
I need at least an hour or two after the kids go to bed to myself or for my husband and I to hang out. So that means I need the kids to go to bed earlier. We set alarms just like in the morning.
My son helped pick out the sounds.
The ducks quack at bath time. The dogs bark at book and snack time.
The motorcycle rumbles when it’s time to brush teeth. A song plays when it’s time to go potty and say bedtime prayers.
Our whole house is a lot happier when we go to bed at a decent time and stick to our routine to keep things normal.
We made a lot of changes this year and I’m still learning as I go. Take some time to think about it. Are you sick and tired of how things are going? With your health? Job? Mood? Parenting?
Then make some changes.
Don’t waste your best days being tired and wishing for the weekend.
Go for it. Change it now.