Like many, there has been a lot of change in my life lately. Prior to Covid-19, there were big changes in my household, changes in a loved one’s health, changes within my place of employment. Covid-19 and sheltering in place added their own unique stressors. For someone who thrives on structure, all these changes, happening at the same time, have been incredibly exhausting.
I live a very structured, organized life. It is how I hold onto my sanity amid the chaos around me. I’m a list maker, and I keep things tidy so that I (almost) always know where things are. In the midst of all of this change, things have slid a bit. My organization has gotten choppy, as I simply cannot keep up with all the things that need to be done. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still make my lists. Lots of lists. My yearly planner and desktop are full of sticky notes and scraps of paper serving as visual reminders of the confetti of my current life.
I also am an optimist, I’m a “look for the silver lining” and “make the best of it” kind of gal. I’ve started making my lists on colored paper and brightly colored sticky notes. That confetti? Instead of considering it fallout from a blown-up plan, I look at it as a bit of a “party”.
I’ve written about the importance of self-care in the past. However, I’m coming to realize, that while I talk a good talk, I really do not take care of myself as well as I should. Starting today, when I make my lists of daily tasks, one of those will be something just for me.
What brings you joy? For me, it could be something as simple as:
- Taking a walk outside and using all my senses; sight, smell, sound, touch. Well, all my senses except for taste (unless I run into an ice cream truck in the neighborhood)!
- Curling up in a comfy chair and calling an old friend for a relaxed conversation. Giving my full attention to the call, as opposed to emptying the dishwasher while we catch up, will ensure that I’m fully engaged and listening.
- Taking a nap. For me, a 20 to 30-minute nap is a game changer. I need to find a way to incorporate more of that into my life. Perhaps after I finish this blog…
- Hopping in the car, rolling down the windows and listening to some great music.
- Losing myself in a good book. Reading can transport you to faraway places and provide a vacation of the mind. Who couldn’t use that every once in a while?
When things get overwhelming, it’s important to stop and take a step back. Look at the areas of your life that you can control. Learn to let go of the others. If you are truly drowning, reach out for help. Friends, neighbors, church members, counselors or coworkers are often eager to help someone in need. All you need to do is ask.
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Leave those dishes in the sink while you go take that nap. They will still be there when you wake up. And you know what? That’s okay.
Ed4Career has two courses designed to teach methods to managing stress and learning effective coping skills: Personal Stress Reduction and Relaxation and Stress Reduction. Check them out today! And if you find that you love the process? Train to become a Stress Management Coach and use your skills to help others!