Before I started this series I really wanted to wrap up all of my projects so that I could go into October caught up and ready to blissfully enjoy fall. But of course I had been too busy for that to happen up until that point and it didn’t magically change in the two weeks leading up to October 1. And that’s good…because the whole point of this is teaching ourselves to carve out time and prioritize what’s really important. It wouldn’t have been as “real” if I’d started with nothing on my plate!
Today’s been one of those kinda crazy busy days that just can’t be avoided. My car had to go into the shop after I taught Jazzercise this morning, so two of the daycare kids and I got a ride home via the courtesy car. They planned to have it done early this afternoon (and it was), but I’d been trying to juggle kids’ meal/nap/pick-up schedules and still try to get the car in time to pick up the older girls from school. In the meantime, we’d had snack, bottle feedings and diaper changes, lunch, nap, and my post-workout shower. The courtesy car picked us up right after my first daycare kiddo left and had us to the shop in time, but the stress of the thought that it might not go that smoothly had me a little concerned. To top things off, I failed to get my blog post done ahead last night because my husband just got back from a four-day fishing trip and I wanted to spend some time with him. So now I’m not only no longer ahead of posting, I’m kind of behind.
So when I was thinking about what I wanted to write for today, I decided that I’d embrace the situation I’m in and talk about how to keep it together, stay calm, and try to maintain that blissful fall feeling when life happens and things get chaotic (because life will happen and things may get chaotic).
The more I thought about it all, the more I realized that (aside from the car-fixing situation which is out of my control), a lot of my stress is brought on by self-imposed high expectations. Are any of you checking my blog at 8:00 am to see if my post has gone live yet, or are any of you thinking, “Wow…she hasn’t posted yet today. Bet she’s going to miss it. So much for 31 days…!”. I highly doubt it. The pressure is all brought on by me.
I think many of us do this to ourselves. We make choices to be involved with activities or do things, probably because in most cases we enjoy those things or feel like they’re important, and sometimes it all gets to be too much. But we’ve committed to X, Y, Z…and we think we have to do everything and do it all perfectly. We put deadlines on ourselves that maybe others don’t expect from us, and get overwhelmed and frustrated when we can’t do it all.
First, JUST SAY NO.
The first thing we have to look at are those things we’ve “committed” ourselves to and say “no” to the things that don’t bring us true joy, that don’t fit into our schedules, or that just aren’t as important. I’m one of those people that is always involved, and usually willing to help. I haven’t been able to join our school’s PTA meetings, but told the president to let me know when they need help. I’m open to helping, just can’t make it to the meetings. I want to be involved in my daughter’s school and it’s in my nature to do so. But it’s those of us that always help that always get asked, know what I mean? So last year I helped several times, and this year I got asked again. But this time, I said, “no”. It was hard and I felt guilty, but I was already overwhelmed with all I had going on and I knew I just needed to cut out where I could, at least for now. If things quiet down in the future, I’ll be happy to help again.
Second, quit setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
Guilty! Don’t make your to-do list bigger than you have time for. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Don’t elevate the importance of a task that’s really not that important in the grand scheme of things. Have perspective.
And when you’re blogging about how to have a blissful fall and you’re faced with a busy day, tackle it head-on, get done what you have to, take a deep breath and know that anything else can be dealt with tomorrow!