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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Planning Ahead For When Life Gets Stressful

Hello Friends!  Monsieur is out of the hospital.  Thank you for your well wishes.  While he was recuperating, I had a lot of time to think over what I wanted to talk about here.  Sometimes, life throws you unexpected curve balls and sometimes you know those curve balls are coming.  What can you do for those times in life that you know are going to be stressful?  I have assembled a check list of sorts that might help.

1) Stockpile necessities.  I live in a small home with not a lot of storage space so I don't do any sort of extreme stockpiling (I admit that I have watched episodes of "Extreme Couponers" with stunned fascination at the idea of turning a basement or garage into one's personal Costco warehouse).  Also, coupons are not as easily available here and things like catalinas and coupon stacking are either rare or nonexistent in Canada.  So creating a stockpile on short notice can, in and of itself, just add stress.  However, if you see a good sale or a price that you know is the rock bottom price, then, if you can, buy a few extra.  This way, you don't have to drop everything to run out for a tube of toothpaste.

2) Be honest and tell your friends and family that you are going through a stressful time.  If you have a support system, now is the time to lean on that system, knowing that one day, when they are going through a stressful time, you will be reciprocating.  I don't have a support system nearby but a quick long distance phone call to a bestie does wonders for my mood.

3) Learn to say no.  This goes hand in hand with Number 2.  This is something that has always been hard for me as I invariably tend to feel loads of guilt at the very thought of saying "No."  If there is a regular commitment like a potluck dinner that you always attend, it is okay to say that you can't make it because you don't have the time to bring something.  If they are true friends, they will probably tell you to forget it and come anyway!

4) Meal prepping in advance.  Having something that has already been prepared which you can just chuck on the stove or in the oven is such a timesaver and stress alleviator (is that a word?).

I will readily acknowledge that sometimes you may be in such a time crunch that the very thought of meal prepping may be too much.  You know what?  I don't see anything wrong with buying prepared frozen meals and keeping them on hand in a freezer for those times when you just want to go on autopilot and not think too much about "What's For Dinner?!!"  Sure, it may not be the healthiest or cheapest option but if it gets you from A to Z and stops you from losing your mind, then do it.

5) Automate as many things as possible.  Put bills on auto-debit so that you don't have to think about paying them.  Believe me, when you are stressed, so many things that you are normally on top of, just fly out the window.

6) If you have outstanding items on a "To-Do" list, try to do them ahead of time.  Do you need to go to the dentist?  Is there a checkup at the doctor that you have been putting off?  Do them now, cross them off the list and then put them out of your mind.  This can also apply to mundane tasks.  You would not believe the loads of laundry I did in the week prior to Monsieur's surgery.  I swear the laundry breeds during the night whilst I am sleeping but I finally made a big dent in it and got caught up with the ironing too.  Yay, me!  As I tidied and organized the house, I even managed to take a bag of donations to the thrift store.  Woohoo!

7) When did multitasking become all the rage?  Try unitasking which allows you to focus on just one task at a time.  Do that task and then move on to the next.  Completing that one task gives you the confidence and the motivation to try another task.  I have found that those rushed, scattered feelings begin to disperse when I lean towards unitasking.

8) Lastly, but most importantly, be kind to yourself.  Forget about being Superwoman or Superman. Because I don't have a support system nearby, I had to learn to be my own cheerleading squad.  Know that you are doing your best to keep home and hearth together and no one can ask more of you than that.  I read somewhere about the magic of just thinking about what you need to do in the next five minutes.  And then the next five minutes after that.  All things pass and this time will pass too.

Do you have any tips to share?  I think if we all pool our wisdom we could come up with some wonderful ideas that would really help!  I would really welcome your suggestions.

I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

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