Family

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Time Saving Tips

944a4e488d7c4f30af08f1dda9a09a6f

Are you wondering how it got to be Friday?  Did the week fly by?  Is your to do list just as long as it was on Monday and you have been crossing off things you have done?  Sometimes I feel like little elves come in at night and add to the list or erase what I crossed off, what about you?

I have found some time saving tips so you can get stuff done and move on to the stuff you really want to do.

#1 Eliminate Non-Essentials

Decide your top priorities and don’t worry about the rest. Pick no more than 3 things you want to get done on a particular day and just do them.  If you have time and can, do something else off the list – BONUS.  What are some of the non-essentials tasks you could eliminate?

1. Washing and folding kids’ laundry – Let younger kids fold their own clothes.  Then pick an age when your child becomes completely responsible for their own laundry.  I never did this but I know lots of moms who say this works great.
2. Folding sheets — I don’t fold bed sheets. I keep one set of sheets for each bed, wash them once a week and place them back on the bed.  It helps we only have one bed now to worry about.
3. Making breakfast — Keep easy to prepare foods like bagels, cheese toast, cereal and yogurt so breakfast is a DIY event.  This also helps for those of us who don’t usually eat breakfast.
4. Answering the phone – Our house phone is turned down so low, we never hear it BUT people can still leave a message on the machine.  I am learning to turn off my cell phone too so I can focus on what’s most important. You can use the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your smart phone and answer calls and texts when you have time. I didn’t even know there was a feature like this!

#2 – Just Say “No”

The key to eliminating non-essentials things in your life is learning to set good boundaries. UGH!  Sometimes you will need to make the tough choice of saying “NO” to things outside your values and priorities. This is never easy.  Learning to decline social engagements, job offers and other requests will be easier than turning down friends, family and work associates. Sometimes it is necessary if you want to live your best life focusing on what matter’s most.  Remember it is progress not perfection.

#3 – Batch Tasks

Once you have eliminated tasks you can’t or shouldn’t be doing, how about finding a way to do them more efficiently.  One trick is to group them together and do them at one time. Here are some examples of task batching:

1. Bulk cooking — I always cook for 4 – 6 people even though there are only 2 of us.  Why?  Hubby works the night shift and I freeze portioned meals for us to use during the week.  No pre-packaged frozen meals in this house.
2. Errand day – Pick one day a week to complete all of your shopping and other errands. This not only saves time, but gas money because you can plan the most efficient route.

#4 – Use Online Services

I am learning how to do this more often.  We use JET.com where prices drop as you shop.  They offer discounts on your first 3 orders, Ebates offers a 3% rebate all of the time and shipping is free for orders over $35.  I am now using Amazon PRIME and learning as I go along. Have you checked out Amazon Family? It’s part of Amazon Prime and gives you 20% off on diaper subscriptions, free shipping, exclusive baby registry and family discounts and more.  You can get a FREE trial of AMAZON prime.  What is your favorite online service?

#5 – Create Routines

One of the best way to save time and simplify your life is by creating routines as much as possible.  Specific days for specific tasks, create a morning and evening routine for you and your family, clean your house in the same order every week.  Routines help to ensure you can take care of important tasks without expending much energy. Regular routines will also help your kids feel calmer because they know what to expect.  I learned this early when raising Belinda.  “Winging” things did not work well for her but when she had a set schedule, life was so much easier for this single mom.

Want are you best time saving tips for moms?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!