We all have those kind of days — you know, the kind when you’re stressed out. Those days are just part of the parenting package, and if you add homeschooling to the mix, there will more than likely be more of those kind of days.
Days when the washing machine breaks down, the kids are fighting, the baby is crying, and company is coming in 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s a temporary situation that adds some extra stress to your already full schedule.
What’s even worse is when it’s more than a day of stress; maybe something extra going on, so things are really tough. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, and you either want to cry or scream! (Yes, I’ve done both!)
Let’s face it; life is busy and it’s easy to live in a state of chronic stress. Add that one extra thing to your full load, and it’s crunch time. How do you stay sane through the stress?
Here are some sanity secrets that will help when you survive stressful times.
1. Don’t neglect your time alone with God.
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3
When you are stressed and feeling overwhelmed, your thoughts are probably very scattered, running in many directions. I realized that when I am in that situation, I NEED God’s help, wisdom, and strength!
It’s so common during extra busy times to neglect THE most important thing – spending time with God. We think we don’t have time for that because we are so busy, when our thinking really should be “I’ve got SO much to do that I HAVE to take time to pray!”
Don’t neglect the very source of your strength ad peace during those stressful times. Make it a priority to spend at least a few minutes in God’s Word, and spend time seeking His wisdom.
You and only you are in charge of your schedule every day. Though there will probably be lots of demands coming your way that seem urgent, you get to decide what is going to take priority every day in your actions and thoughts.
After seeking God, make a list of the absolute “must do’s“. Don’t worry about the things you’d LIKE to do, but focus on what you MUST do.
For example, if in the middle of a busy day you find out that you are going to have an unexpected overnight guest, start with the important things. Don’t go deep cleaning and de-cluttering. Go put fresh sheets on the bed , and do a quick house pick-up. Do the essentials, and don’t stress about the rest of it.
4. Plan your schedule to accomplish the must do’s in the time you have.
Make a quick list of what needs to be done, and schedule out the time you have left to get it done. At times like this, the TIMER is my best friend.
When I begin one of the tasks on the list I set the timer for 15 minutes, and try to get the task done before the time is up. That helps me to be motivated, and to stay focused.
It’s easy to get distracted, and start doing something else on your list, before finishing the project you are working on. The timer helps you stay on track, and when you beat it, you have a nice feeling of accomplishment
5. Delegate whatever you can.
When life is busy, you need to discern what can be done only by you, and what can be delegated. Your family will probably willingly help if you explain that you need their help, and tell them specifically what they can do to help. Don’t just expect them to see your busyness and jump in! That’s not realistic, and will lead you to frustration or disappointment and more stress.
Ask the kids to make some of the meals for you each week, or to clean up afterwards. (they should be doing that anyway!) Have your husband pick up some of the things you need from the grocery store on his way home from work.
Think what would be helpful to you, and delegate that to a responsible person.
By the way, don’t feel bad about asking your family to pitch in and help. It makes them feel needed and important. You deprive them of the blessing of serving when you never let them help.
6. Eliminate your time wasters.
Identify your time wasters, and avoid them! For example, turn the notifications off on your phone or computer so you won’t be distracted by them. Often a notification comes in, and you think “I’ll just spend a minute reading it“, and then end up staying on for an hour. (Ask me how I know!)
I suggest having a couple of set times a day that you get on to check your email, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Set a limit, and use a timer so you don’t get drawn in for hours. You know that happens!
7. DON’T skimp on your sleep.
I’ll admit that’s something I have to work on! It is SO easy to stay up late working, trying to get “just one more thing” done! The problem with that is you will pray for it the next day. Being tired makes everything even more stressful and overwhelming.
Have a set time to go to bed in order to give yourself the amount of sleep that you need, and then discipline yourself to stop what you’re doing and go to bed when you should.
I have found from experience that often after a good night of sleep, things don’t seem as overwhelming and stressful as they did the night before when I tired.
Which of these areas would help you better handle the stress you are facing? Seek God’s wisdom daily for His priorities, schedule those priorities into you day after delegating any of them that you can, and be sure to make time to get the rest you need.
Don’t allow the pressures of life to overwhelm you, stress you, and steal your joy.