When it comes to time-management, I always thought my greatest accomplishment was finding a way to make more time in my day. Lately though, I’ve learned that I’m still working toward my greatest time-management accomplishment: Stress management in difficult times.
Perfectionism has always been a staple of my personality, and I take pride in my ability to get a lot of important tasks done well, in limited time. Unfortunately, that has been more to my detriment than I realized. It’s caused me to spend more time stressed out than enjoying life.
We all go through seasons of life where making time for ourselves is so difficult, it’s near impossible. Setting too high of expectations for yourself can make these times in your life even more difficult than they need to be.
“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”Marilu Henner
Setting Realistic Expectations
No matter how busy my life is at any given time, I tend to set a high bar for my productivity. I always feel the need to start my day with a minimum one-hour Miracle Morning, take on big projects at work, and maintain a clean, beautiful home.
When a family member is hospitalized, or the car breaks down, or the week is just over-booked, something has got to give. Sleep and rest are just as important for a healthy, motivated life as quality foods and exercise are!
Expectations of yourself should always be set realistically, based on everything else going on to maintain stress management in difficult times. You need to be sure that there is ample time left in your day for a full night’s sleep and a little down time to unwind before going to sleep. If the big, time-consuming project at work needs to be given to someone with a little less going on, it’s okay to let it go. Or maybe you have to temporarily adjust your daily exercise from an hour at a yoga class in town to a ten-minute walk around the block.
There is a time in life to set the bar high, but it isn’t always the best choice.
Put Yourself First Whenever Possible
You should always be your number one priority.
This is a concept I struggle with constantly. I’ve lived my entire adult life serving others both in my personal and professional life, and I tend to have a tough time taking a step back to see if what I’m doing is working for me.
After identifying some stress-induced hormonal imbalances last winter, I was forced to slow down and put my health above all else. This was difficult for me. It all happened when I felt my family needed me most. What I learned, though, was that I hadn’t been doing anyone any good for a long time.
Once I made a concerted effort to allow myself time for ample rest and truly put the health of my whole self first (not just weight loss . . . true, holistic health), I found it so much easier to support my family and show them how much I love them.
Stress Management in Difficult Times – Give Yourself Some Grace
Okay. Even allowing yourself rest and putting yourself first isn’t always going to be easy. And guess what?
Perfectionistic tendencies shine through in these areas too.
Once I realized I needed to put myself first, I started being really hard on myself when I schedule too busy of a day and came home tired.
It’s not going to happen all at once. Actively taking things off of your plate to make more room for the most important isn’t easy. But, it’s completely worth it when you start to feel better and less stressed.
Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself!
Stop focusing on perfect and focus instead on what’s best for you. It’s a moving target, but you’re always going to be better off if self-care is your priority.
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