The last few days I have been thinking a lot about busyness. A more recent favorite quote of mine is from Lysa TerKeurst.
“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”
This year has been one where I am mindful of living my life intentionally. I’ve been conscientious of doing more activities for myself, building quality relationships, and focusing on the pleasures in my life which bring joy to my heart such as drinking bailey’s on the rocks and Netflix binge watching Twin Peaks. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, it always seems like life throws a busy schedule my way to keep me on my toes.
If you go back and read about my new journey, you’ll see I’m in the process of moving (to say my parents are thrilled is an understatement). I have been scattered across states for quite some time. I have a storage unit in Nashville, TN, stuff at my parent’s house in Knoxville, TN, and a few items in New York. While that’s due to change in a few weeks, it’s been weighing on my conscious over the last few months. Even as I type this, I’m sitting in the middle of a pile of boxes I need to sort through (which I JUST picked up from my storage unit and drove three hours back to my parents house), a heap of clothes needing to be washed, folded, sorted, and packed, and a to do list up to my eyeballs with errands I need to accomplish before heading to New York.
That’s just what’s pushing my immediate stress button. My other to do list involves moving to New York in August, a mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa early September, a birthday trip to Italy in October, and a concert I’m attending in Amsterdam in November. At some point in the middle of all my fun, I will be spend every free moment working to accumulate enough money to fund all these adventures popping up on my agenda.
While I know my to do list sounds like a humble brag, it’s anything but. I listed all my upcoming excursions as a way to explain while you see pictures and posts on social media about all the adventures, trips, and fun experiences your friends might be having, each of us still experience stress. Life is not always so happy go lucky as it may appear on social media.
As far as handling those topsy turvy moments life throws our way, our reaction is entirely up to us. One thing I have been working through is how to be intentional when I am unable to control stress happening in my life. These are just a few ways I work through whatever worries are on my mind.
We often try to cram too many things in the limited amount of hours we have during the day. Try as you may, a day will always only have 24 hours (I know, bummer, right?). Most of us do this at the sacrifice of our sleep, but over time this just enhances the negative emotions we feel when we allow ourselves to get bogged down.
I’ll spare listing the benefits of sleep because as we all know more sleep = tons-o-health-benefits and less homicidal tendencies. But, in all seriousness, step away from the distractions we allow to interrupt our bed time, and focus on getting at least six hours of sleep. I shoot for eight, but I know I can function okay on seven. Getting enough sleep is imperative to preventing a toddler style meltdown, and will help with the clarity of working through the anxieties brought on by the day.
On the heels of rest is me time. Often we mistake rest as meaning sleep, but resting and me time compliment each other. When work, friends, significant others, or family begin to divide our attention, we need to remember to give ourselves time, too. Maybe this means a quick thirty minutes on your lunch break or an hour in the evening to decompress. It’s critical to set aside time for yourself.
This is a fantastic time to mature your prayer life, read your Bible, and grow in your walk with God. If you don’t practice Christianity, maybe you meditate. Perhaps all you do is sit in silence and paint your nails (and work on your whistling skills as I have been known to do). Maybe you simply read a few chapters of a murder mystery. Whatever floats your boat, remember to set aside time to do that one thing. This directly goes back to the earlier Lysa TerKeurst quote. Nourishment is the key to preventing an “underwhelmed soul.”
It’s such an adult word, but I truly regret not putting this skill to practice sooner. One day I was chatting money woes with an accountant friend of mine. She asked if I budgeted, to which I replied “no, how can I budget when I am living pay check to paycheck and every penny pays bills?” While I disagreed at the time with her reasoning why I should still budget, I now realize she was on to something. Now, I’m the one blown away when people tell me they don’t budget.
Research, figure out what works best for you, and put pen to paper (or a handy excel spreadsheet). Mint has been a lifesaver for me! Budget both your financials and time. It allows you to be practical in your commitments. Sure, you can go out to eat putting dinner on your credit card ooooor you could simply say no, save the money by cooking dinner at home (and freezing leftovers), and get caught up in the me time department you probably haven’t visited in awhile.
Talk It Out
I’m quite social and can certainly hold my own in a conversation (read: I talk a lot). Fortunately, my friends know this and give me space to talk out my anxieties. I’m always thankful for their advice regarding my situations (despite the fact I’m terrible when it comes to taking said advice). If you, too, are fortunate to be surrounded with a good support system, use your friends!
Bottling our feelings, stresses, and whatever other emotions weighing on us inside is not constructive nor healthy. Good friends should be there to walk us through the emotional hurdles in life. Sure, we open ourselves up to some serious vulnerability when we chat with friends and admit we actually can’t do it all (newsflash, the only ones who can are those with real personal assistants balancing everything), but acting as if the tasks in our lives are hunky dory when they really aren’t provides no benefits. We miss out on the opportunity to get advice from someone outside of the situation and we stunt the ability to allow closeness to develop in our friendships.
I know over the next few weeks I will need to be even more cognizant of these stress relieving techniques or I might have a toddler style meltdown myself. I would absolutely love to hear your ideas and how you deal with life’s curveballs. Leave them below.