Saturday, August 14, 2010

The de-stress list

As wonderful as summer is and as low pressure as it can be, it never lasts.  That is probably good because otherwise I might never get anything done.  I really love sitting in the heat and reading magazines or watching Isabelle run around the yard.  But eventually you need to do something.  With fall coming I am starting to think about what exactly that should be this year.

Last spring as I was busy with church responsibilities, keeping up with Jake's busy schedule and taking care of my family and our home I was feeling a little stressed.  Since I usually figure things out by writing them down I decided to create a list I titled "Things creating stress in my life".  I articulated some of the things stressing me out.    After each stressor I wrote down one or two things that could be done to alleviate the stress.  For instance I realized that I was very stressed by the amount of time I spent cleaning up for other people in our home.  I realized that while at one point in time it had made sense for me to be the sole housekeeper in the family that as Jake has aged, Isabelle was added and my outside responsibilities have increased, it has become more of a burden than a simple task.  Under that stressor I wrote down the obvious answer, it is time for our family to be more accountable for the messes they make. (And yes I realize that it is life skill which needs to be cultivated by the teenager anyway.  He knows he is spoiled.)

So this week as I begin to think about school starting, having another child in school and how to best utilize my 2-1/2 hours each morning I realized I was feeling a little stress about how it was all going to play out.  Remembering how helpful my stress list was last spring in the midst of stress I thought it might be a good idea to create the, "things I am stressed will make me feel stressed" list along with a simple game plan to try to get on top of it before I loose control.  Some of the things on that list include:

 School Lunches

Although I realize Isabelle won't have to bring a lunch this year I am stressing a year in advance realizing she doesn't eat anything worth packing.  Plus, trying to figure out if we just continue to shell out alot of money for Jake's lunches or try to get him to pack a lunch. Add to that the fact that my husband usually skips lunch because I keep no packable lunch food in the house and you see where I am going here.

Actions steps I am considering:
  • weekly lunch menu
  • a lunch drawer to quickly pack a lunch without digging stuff out of every corner of the kitchen
  • starving Isabelle for a couple days until she realizes she does love things that are green.

I have been exercising in the mornings for years and this past year have taken classes at 9:45 three mornings a week.  By the time I drive there, take the class, get home, shower and dress Isabelle will be getting off the bus.  Not exactly how I want to spend my 2-1/2 hours of free time this year.

Possible solutions:
  • Working out in the afternoon or evening
  • Only taking one morning class a week just because I enjoy the friendships in the classes.
  • realizing that I am not training for a triathlon so I can ease off the pressure of working out 5-6 days a week and just be thrilled with 3 30-minute workouts each week over the winter.

Varied Schedules

While I want to get my family more involved in the housework as per the spring stressor list, I know that Jake and John have different schedules than me.  Neither of them are home before 5pm during the week and then there is homework and one of us usually has a commitment somewhere in the evenings.  So bottom line, when I want something done they are rarely around to do it for me.  I don't really have a cleaning schedule to plug my family into, I clean more by gut, feelings or necessity.  How do I get them to see the need and act rather than stepping over things until I give the word?  And how do I give the word when they aren't around to hear it?

Ideas I am considering:
  • Writing down everything I do around the house for a week and making a list which I can then delegate off of.
  • Evening clean up duties so that we start the day with a clean house which always makes my day happy.


Not a job but all the stuff I do outside of homemaking.  One of the things on last springs list was "taking on too many simultaneous responsibilities".  What can I say?  I like to be involved, I like to do things and I like to help.  I already have several things in my head I want to do this fall and I need to keep myself in check and really  look at what I have time for and what my priorities are going to be.

Current thoughts on the solution:
  • Scheduling a day a week or time of day to work on particular commitments.
  • Considering the full commitment I am making before agreeing to something and seeing how it will work in my schedule.

That is what was on my list today.  With school still a few weeks away I am sure to add to it as the time gets closer. 

In my world the first step to relieving stress is naming it and making a plan.  The second then is follow through and management. 

Step one complete.  Step two in process.

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