So my posting and all blog-related activity slowed down significantly the past couple weeks. My husband and I are both in the final stages of our master’s degree programs, which is great, but incredibly busy. On top of that, we’re dealing with work, family situations, and a teething nine month old. So basically, it’s been a stressful month.
While I’m not always successful, I try my best to keep the stress at least somewhat under control. Different things work at different times so if you’re in a similar boat, give them all a shot.
Prioritize and adjust your expectations
Very rarely will everything you’re stressing over be essential and immediate. So it help to prioritize things. Take a look at your to-do list and see what needs to be done and what you would like to do. Be brutally honest with yourself. Sometimes the thing you’re dreading most and just want to have done has to be shoved aside for more immediate concerns.
Also remember you can’t give a hundred percent to everything all the time. That has been difficult for me to learn and I’m still struggling with it. In order to stay afloat with school, family responsibility, and paid assignments, I’ve cut back on blogging. Instead of posting 2-3 times a week, I’m going with once a week. Which stinks because I love it and I’m trying to get it to become my business, but it is necessary right now.
I’m also focusing on assignments and sites that I know I can earn money from, rather than trying to expand. In an ego-checking blow, I’ve been rejected from a few sites I wanted to write for recently. So instead of focusing on applications and other unpaid writing, I’m sticking with the familiar for the time being.
Once life calms down, I’ll reassess and adjust my expectations again.
Have a clean, nice-smelling home
This one can sometimes come into conflict with the first tip, but I think it falls under that brutal honesty section. Is the house a little cluttered? Yeah, focus on school and take care of it later. Are you drowning under garbage and dirty clothes? Take a break from school for a little while and get your mess under control. It’s so much easier to concentrate when you aren’t in a cluttered environment.
Also, scents can have a major impact on your mood. I love having a candle lit while I work or bask in a freshly cleaned apartment. My absolute favorite candles are from Kringle Candles in Barnardston, Massachusetts and I go to the flagship store at least once a year to stock up. If you’re in New England, I strongly recommend the trip. If you aren’t, you can explore their collection on their website. Not as relaxing as strolling from room to room, sniffing everything in sight, but also not a bad substitute.
(Note, not an affiliate link above. Just a big fan)
Take care of your body
I have a tendency to lose sight of this one when I’m too stressed out. Once the baby is finally asleep and my work is done for the day, I don’t have the energy to chop veggies. And I definitely don’t want to work out. But it doesn’t take long for the easy meals and lack of movement to catch up to me.
I find the best way for me to stay healthy is to make small changes and not expect huge results. A half an hour of yoga as soon as possible in the morning and some easy, healthy food in the fridge make a big impact on my energy and mood. Maybe once school is over (come on, May 2017!) I’ll focus on eating more whole foods or losing the baby weight, but my focus right now is on simply staying healthy.
And if you aren’t on a meal plan/aren’t in college, get a slow cooker. (If you live on campus, check the policy on these). Seriously, this is what saves my family from eating cereal for every meal. There are slow cooker recipes all over the internet and you really can just toss the ingredients in in the morning and have a healthy, adult meal waiting for you later.
These are my three top ways of reining in stress during busy times. They aren’t earth-shattering but they’re dependable and easy to implement. Good luck to everybody whose fall semesters are really getting into gear now. Take care of yourselves!