16 Oct How do we find the time?
Is this your schedule too?
Wake, have shower, get dressed
Kids awake, get them dressed and in front of TV
Make breakfast for the kids
Feed the Cats and make a coffee for the partner
Do own makeup and hair
Rush kids into the car
Drop youngest to Day care
8 – 8:30am
Play with oldest child
Drop eldest to School and drive to work
Start working day
Barely have time for quick lunch break
Leave work, pay parking, drive to School
Pick up eldest from After School care
Pick up youngest from Day Care
Arrive home, make dinner for children
Bedtime Stories and homework
Kids Lights out
Quick 2 mins to catch breath!!
Start making dinner for yourself and partner
Whilst dinner cooking, put on a load of washing, and fold dried washing from night before
Sit down and eat dinner
Having tended to 2 interruptions from screaming children, finish cold dinner and start dishes
Make children’s lunches. Lay out school uniform, pack bags and clean the kitchen
Put rubbish out, put clean laundry on the line, pick up toys/clothes off ground and pack away, get clothes ready for next day, catch up on emails
Brush teeth and flop into bed
The schedule posted above is mine. This WAS my life. Sound familiar?
OK, so WHEN do I have time for Cancer!?? Of all the people this could happen to, couldn’t God have chosen someone with a little more time in their day for treatments and relaxation? Seriously, when my Oncologist told me that I had a choice in treatment, but didn’t REALLY have a choice, I thought “How on earth am I going to fit this all in!??” A 3 hour chemo session doesn’t easily fit in to one’s day, and then I had to commit to travelling there and finding a car park too?!! And to top it off, I would then be forced to have DAILY Radiation sessions once I’d finished Chemo… Oh, come on!
And so the “buzz” that is underlying stress and frustration grew ever so much louder.
But I’m here to tell you I DID survive the stress and chaos of the added committed time. When you need to, and there is no choice, you tend to find that impossibly non-existent time.
I’m sure, just like me, you look at your day written down in the list outlined above and feel one word: Overwhelmed.
You absolutely have every right to be so. But you don’t HAVE to be. That is the choice you only can make. When given this choice, we always ask what the easiest way out would be. It’s our fundamental fall back plan for everything; the path of least resistance. So the big question going through your head is obviously going to be: “WHO is going to help me with all my tasks?!”
But the answer to that question is not who you think it should be. The person who has the most power to help, is actually you.
So without further discourse, I bid upon you the following tips in how to quiet the OVERWHELM in your head, and gain back that time that you so surely need.
- If you’re aged between 30 and 65, then on average you need to have 7 hours of good restful sleep every night. Get to bed as early as you can, as for every 1 hour you sleep before midnight, is worth 2 hours after midnight. Your body starts to repair in stage 3 of your sleep cycles, so it pays to be in bed with the lights out by 10pm, allowing 1am-3am to be your most intense regenerative time. Then wake up at 5am or 5:30am to get your ME time in. Whether you spend this doing exercise or catching up tasks, after 21 days (the habit forming cycle) you’ll feel like you’ve been cheated if you then sleep in! If you’re an obsessive night owl rather than a lark, this may sound impossible, but the human psyche can be trained out of any habit through determination.
- Have a frank discussion with your boss. You may be an over-achiever in your working environment. In fact, you may even (subconsciously of course!) think you work 2x as efficiently as your co-workers, but the time has come to step it down a notch. Make an appointment with your boss, and be honest with them. Try something like this: “Although I’m usually an over-achiever and you have high expectations of me, which I cherish, my life means more to me than any job could possibly mean. Therefore, I’ve committed to those people around me who love me, to do everything I can to find some balance in my life. And that means me starting here and now, asking you for help. You know I’ll always be committed to this organisation, but I just need some additional assistance over the coming months to allow me to reclaim my health. Perhaps you could ask your PA to spend 10% of her day helping me on simple tasks, or is there a colleague who is looking for a challenge who could job share for a while? “. Your boss is not a mind reader, and you must forgive them that they do come to expect grand things from you. But once you ask, they’ll be so relieved you did. There is not one manager out there who would prefer to hear you say you’d give your life for their company!! Get over yourself, let go, and make that call NOW.
- Call a family meeting. You could go on forever thinking you’re the only one in the family that ever picks up clothes off the floor, or hangs up wet towels, but how do you really know if you’ve never asked? And yes, you’re probably reading this right now thinking “I ask my partner ALL the time!” but calling a family meeting does make a subtle difference to how things are interpreted. Explain that Mummy or Daddy is not feeling as good as usual, and would LOVE a little help over the coming months. Even your toddler can get involved! Before the meeting, prepare a list of any tasks that are easily doable by another family member. Give each task an expected amount of time to complete and a frequency (whether fortnightly or daily). Then ASK your family to talk amongst themselves (whilst you walk away, so are not within earshot) and see what Daddy (or mummy) and the team come up with. I guarantee you’ll see amazing results. For the littlies, make it fun; give them a reward when they perform the task. It could be as simple as putting their dirty washing in a basket each day.
- Plan an evening out with your “fun, loving friends”. You may not feel like a big night out right now, so arrange a trivia night at a friend’s house instead of going out. Be careful though; do NOT spend the night talking about troubles and gloom. This night should be dedicated to fun, laughter and abandon to allow you to recharge your energy through social interaction. It is recommended that your partner is not in attendance, to allow you to fully relax and unwind without feeling guilty, or costing you in babysitting fees.
- Write it all down. Our mind gets overwhelmed when it perceives there is too much to process. If you write down your tasks and your worries, your brain finds relief in knowing things have been dealt with for the time being. This will allow you to sleep better at night, and to reduce those feelings of being completely swamped. Then if you can, circle tasks that relate to each other, to make them a larger “Chunk”, thereby reducing the amount of outcomes in your mind.
In order to battle your feelings of overwhelm, start now. Be prepared. Don’t feel like you need to do everything in life. Start believing in those people who love you by allowing them to make a difference in whatever way they can. You’ll be relieved you did.