I’ve been nicknamed “The Energizer Bunny.” I love to be busy. In fact, I thrive on being busy and getting stuff done. Recently, I took on some new things in my life I clearly didn’t have time for but thought I could fit in. I was wrong. The result of taking on too much was me being stressed, unhappy and completely frazzled. My busyness got the best of me.
Everything came to halt when I crashed and burned during a workout at the gym. My gym performance has been suffering for the past few months. I wasn’t sure why, but now, looking back, I see it was due to stress from having too much to do.
During a grueling workout (Kelly, anyone?) I bit it on a box jump at the start of the fourth round and totally lost it physically and emotionally. As my coach wrapped up my shin and the tears flowed, I felt a release inside. She said she had noticed a big slip in my performance. She asked me how my eating, sleeping, and other health habits were.
I had been eating well for the most part, but lots of stress snacking had slipped in to my diet. I had been sleeping great, although I had been getting less than I normally do. As I talked to my coach I realized that my health habits were contributing to my poor performance but the biggest factor was that I had completely overextended myself. I was stressed about a new job I had taken. I wasn’t being the mom I wanted to be. My days were totally calendared, and I had no room for anything to not go as planned.
Most of the time I know my limits, but this time my “busyness” got out of control causing me to crash and burn. I needed a reset in my life to get control of my busyness and have a little more balance. If you feel the same, here are 5 ways to reset your life when busyness gets the best of you.
Evaluate Your Schedule
The first thing I did when I came to the conclusion that I was overextended was to write down everything I had to do in a day. I also wrote down how much time I needed to accomplish each item on my list. I wrote down everything from taking a shower to cleaning up breakfast to throwing in laundry and running kids to music lessons. I included 7 hours of sleep because I know that is exactly what I need.
When I tallied everything up, I realized that I have about 4 hours a day to do “extra” things like work, blog, do volunteer and church work, etc. This exercise was eye-opening because even though my kids are at school all day, I really don’t have as much extra time as I thought. Knowing how much time I really have will keep me from over-committing myself in the future.
I have several things I do on the side to make money including editing and writing as well as virtual assistant work. One of these jobs, which I had recently taken on, was proving to be much more time consuming than I had anticipated. I made the decision to quit, which was so hard for me. I don’t like letting people down, but it was the right decision. I gave my notice and immediately felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.
A word I kept thinking of over and over as I was so stressed out with my busyness was “margin.” I needed more margin in my life so when my child was sick and needed me I wasn’t totally thrown off or when my friend called for a ride I could jump in the car and go help her.
For the past few months I have been scheduled to the max and I didn’t have the luxury of just living my life as it came. I see now that having a little room in my schedule is essential to my happiness. I need margin.
Practice Spiritual Habits
I have had a habit for years of praying, reading scripture and writing in my journal, but in recent months, I haven’t been consistent at all. After my realization that my life was out of alignment, I got back to my daily, spiritual habits. They make all the difference in my day. The habits help me have the Spirit to guide me and help me make decisions that will keep my priorities on track. I also feel happy and peaceful when I do these things on a regular basis. They are not something I can do if I have time. They are essential to my well-being.
My overall eating has been healthy, but I definitely needed to reset a few things. I mentioned that snacking when I was stressed was an issue. I was also struggling to eat lunch. I was so busy slaving away on the computer, trying to get everything done while my kids were away. I never took the time to stop and eat a good lunch. When the kids got home I started snacking and didn’t stop until dinner or beyond.
I have spent the last week meal planning and prepping. My freezer if full, and I am cooking consistently every night. I am making a container of leftovers each night so my lunch is ready to go the next day. Healthy food is fuel that keeps me from feeling unbalanced and frazzled.
I know that I have the capacity to have a lot of plates spinning at once, but not if any of the things I mentioned above are out of whack. I’m not superwoman, and I can’t do everything, but I can fulfill my need to be busy without being frazzled and stressed to the max.
How do you keep from overextending yourself? What do you do when busyness gets the best of you?
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