We’ve all been there at some point. Life seems to be humming along just fine and then you have a child get pretty sick, at the same time your car starts shaking and rattling uncontrollably and needs a pretty extensive AND expensive repair, did I mention you have an incredibly important project at work due where the deadline was just shortened but you’re at home trying to get your child healthy again? Oh, and you’re planning your son’s birthday party, you were asked to volunteer in the church Sunday School class, and your kitchen sink keeps clogging.
This all sounds ridiculous but how true is it that when one challenge comes your way, oftentimes they continue to pile up until you feel you’re almost at your breaking point?! I've had to learn along the way that there is a productive and not so productive way to handle these situations. And since they’re inevitable to happen to all of us at some point, it’s important to continue to refine your strategy on how to work through and thrive during these challenging situations.
So here are my helpful tips (that I’m still adding to regularly):
Get Quiet - it seems counter intuitive in a time of stress, busyness, and urgency to get quiet but for me, I need quiet time to reflect and plan my strategy. It also helps me to gain the right perspective on the situation. Journal it out, do a mind map, whatever you need to do to get the thoughts out of your head so that you can objectively evaluate them and really see everything you have to contend with.
Create an Action Plan - once you have everything written out, every problem concern, etc., ask yourself, “What are the things that absolutely have to get done right now and this week to keep everyone healthy, safe, moving forward?” Once you have those identified, ask yourself if there’s another alternative to the solution you already have in your head. Is there someone else you need to talk with to gain further insight, additional ideas, etc? Oftentimes, there’s better ways at solving some of our problems but our own perspective can be limited.
Make sure you’re giving your body what it needs during this stressful time - drink your water, get plenty of sleep, eat foods that nourish your body, take 15 minutes each day to relax, move your body every single day to keep it strong and healthy and reduce stress. If you’re a person of faith, spend extra time in prayer. Journal. Do whatever you need to do to rejuvenate yourself - you’ll be happy you did!
Delegate what you can - get all of the non essentials off of your plate during this time. Can you have your groceries delivered? Do it! Target pickup? Greatest thing ever and saves you money! :) Have someone clean your house for this temporary season if your budget will allow for it. Do a meal prep or delivery service during this time if necessary to ensure you and your family are still getting healthy meals but you’re not having to meal plan.
Evaluate your progress weekly - execute upon your action items laid out in Step 2 and continually evaluate, at least weekly, whether you’re on the right path. Do you need to do anything differently? Are things heading in the right direction or do you need to tweak your plan? What needs to be added and what can be taken away?
Say no to anything that is not essential right now - there will always be seasons in our lives that allow for more commitments. However in a time where you have a number of urgent priorities demanding your attention at the same time, you have to be willing to say no to anything that is not urgent or critical that it’s done by you. It can be hard to disappoint people but many people will understand and those that don’t, they probably don’t deserve priority in your life if they don't have your best interest at heart.
Above all, remember that this is a season. Busy and tough times will come and go but having a strategy to navigate your way through them while maintaining your peace of mind and health can turn a challenging situation into one where you’re setup to thrive.
So tell me, what are some of your strategies and tips for navigating these challenging times?
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