When responsibilities keep piling up
It was the end of the 9 week grading period and I needed a few more grades for my two math classes and two science classes. I was teaching second grade and had about 21 students per class. It would be a long night of grading. But, I still had three of my kids at home that were going to need dinner. Not only that, but my son had football practice and my daughter had to go to the school barn to feed her goat for FFA. I knew I was going to be up really late inputting grades, which would then cause me to not get enough sleep for the next day of teaching my 60 plus students. Just thinking about everything I had to do was stressful!
Sure, I could have been more prepared and finished my grading earlier, but as a mom of four, I rarely had extra free time. After a lot of trial and error, I did find a few ways to help me with the stress.
Try these 5 things when the stress of responsibilities is weighing on you:
- A morning routine- It may sound counterintuitive to add more things to do during your day, but this is slightly different. With a morning routine, you are practicing self-care at the very beginning of the day. No more putting yourself last, after all of your other family members get what they need. Most successful business owners already know and practice this tip. I’ve found that I feel happier, more focused and more energized when I wake up an hour earlier than the rest of my family and exercise, meditate, read, etc. You can learn more about my Transformational Morning Routine for Empaths here.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep- I get up earlier, but I also make sure that I get at least 7 hours of sleep at night. I used to have a long night of grading every once in a while, but every other night, I was in bed with lights out in time to get 7 hours of sleep in. When you do not have the proper amount of sleep, you have less patience, less focus, and less energy. You may reach for stimulants, like caffeine or sugary foods to increase your energy, but these only work temporarily and can cause weight gain, and trouble sleeping soundly at night.
- Brain dump the night before– This is a really simple practice of getting everything you have to do out of your head, and on paper. Just make a list of everything you have to do the next day. Circle the ones that are absolutes, like that presentation for work, the package that must be shipped, or buying the birthday gift for your spouse. You’ll sleep better, and you’ll have a plan of action for the next day. You won’t waste time wondering what you should be doing.
- Enlist help- Your teenagers can make dinner, or you can look into a meal plan service, like Sunbasket and Home Chef. Your spouse can run an errand on the way home from work, or another parent can take turns driving the kids to practice. If you are lucky enough to have parents or siblings around, they may be willing to help out too. Also, consider hiring help for jobs that cause you a lot of stress or just aren’t a wise use of your time (house cleaning, lawn care, etc.).
- Schedule in some fun- We can spend so much time caught up in our to-do list that we completely ignore the things we love to do. A while back, I realized I really loved to be outside and enjoy trees, grass, and natural bodies of water. But, I never made time to go outside, (unless you counted recess duty at my school or a soccer game). I also rarely spent time with my friends. I wasn’t making time for joy in my life. When I make time for the things I love, my energy feels renewed, and I feel refreshed. What are you not making time for?
It's really easy to let life slip by
If you’re not careful to build in the times that bring great memories, you may be building a future of regrets. It’s easy to let life slip by while you are stressed with the day-to-day activities. Plan ways that you can take the pressure off a little, so you have a life of joy and peace.