5 ways to calm the chaos – How I am coping with busy
Lately I’ve been struggling with the pace of life. I am parenting and ‘adulting‘ at a fast and furious speed and it’s not sustainable. I’ve been in this position before and I know if I don’t switch gears I’ll combust. Plus, we are entering THAT time of year. The crazy/silly/manic/combustible stage of the year. It’s so close and I must find a way to calm the chaos.
I am currently living the precursor to “That Stage”. Life with four young kids is “busy” at a bare minimum. But busy really doesn’t begin the quantify the craziness of life right now. With the extra work I have taken on (hello, work/life IMbalance!) I am finding it hard to squeeze in the all-important me time of which I am a fan. I am even partial to a mama’s retreat (well, I did it once and it was so therapeutic) but there is a complete absence of “me time” or “down time” or just even “time” in my life at the moment.
When a friend of mine Face-Timed me from Port Douglas recently (she was on a week’s holiday all by her sweet self) I did the only mature thing I could think of – I hung up on her and told her to call her back “the old-fashioned way”. I am not sure why she thought I needed to see her bronzed legs positioned poolside with a cocktail and a plate of oysters, but perhaps she had a temporary lapse of sanity. I was in trackies and ugh boots at my computer staring into the abyss that is Facebook ads and in no mood for her sunny disposition!
So, in the absence of a holiday or “me time” I am reminding myself of the things I can do to protect and preserve my energy. Because, jokes aside, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got some fuel in my tank if I am to be a good mum, nice wife and just general decent human being!
Here are a few things I am doing more of, and less of, to help cope with the chaos:
1. Starting my days slowly
My new early morning ritual is a game changer. Instead of being woken up by the jarring sound of my screaming baby (well, that noise still wakes me but I don’t actually move) my hubby wakes me with a cup of tea respectably later. Sometimes my 9-year-old daughter delivers it to me as I did to my mum when I was little. I tell you this is SUCH a wonderful way to begin the day. For approximately 90 seconds I have time to sit up in bed and sip on my cuppa before four girls come stomping up the stairs life wild elephants and pile in my bed to have a chat and a cuddle. Those 90 seconds of calm are sublime….and I rather enjoy the cuddles, too.
2. Bookending my day with… a book!
Long-time followers of my blog will know that I am a book junkie. I seriously cannot survive without reading. Like a crack addict who is running low, if my bedside table of books drops below a combined 2000 pages I get withdrawals. Come to think of it, I get a similar reaction when my phone battery drops below 80% but let’s not go there…. yet. Three cracking books I have devoured recently are Sushi for Beginnersby Marian Keyes, Little Fires Everywhereby Celeste Ng, and The Cliffhouse by Amanda Jennings.
3. Making my bed each day
Who would have though that such a simple ritual could elicit a sense of calm? Probably plenty of people, but I am slow on the update. One thing I have found recently is that if my bed is ordered, my brain is, well, partially ordered. So I have made it a habit to make the bed each morning. There are few things as satisfying as getting into a well-made bed at night. It’s quite lovely.
4. Social media curfew
As a social media manager I, unsurprisingly, spend a large chunk of my day on social media. At the end of a day managing the social channels for half a dozen clients, I am ready to throw my phone out the window. But of course I don’t – I need my phone. It’s my lifeline. It’s also an income line! Someone’s got to pay for the obscene amount of money we spend at the likes of Bloch (dance mom, anyone?) and the local chemist. So I’ve adopted a 9pm curfew on social media. I don’t mindlessly scroll through social media like I once did as, quite frankly, I am completely sick of it by the time my workday is done. And blue lights are bad, very bad for people who have trouble sleeping.
5. Learning to say ‘No’
As a serial people pleaser this is probably the hardest of the lot. I find it truly, immensely, excruciatingly difficult to say no. Two letters. Totally benign. But even wen I rehearse the word “no” in my head, somehow it is replaced with “yes “when the crucial moment comes. But, slowly I am getting better at it because saying no actually enables you to say yes (to the more important things). I’ve learned to distinguish the opt ins from the opt outs. I make sure I am at all the important assemblies, award presentations and school/ballet concerts. But I say no to many blogging events, social outings, volunteering requests and school parent dinners. It is simply not possible to do it all and I am satisfied with doing my best. Good enough is good enough.
Tell me, are you feeling the craziness of life? How do you cope with the chaos? Please share your tips.