For this month’s edition of A Healthy Balance, I want to discuss dealing with life’s daily pressures. In order to do this, I need to start by giving you a glimpse into the Collins home.
And my 3-year-old son, Drake, is a defiant ball of energy enveloped in sneaky curiosity. My husband, the rock of our family and the one person who can keep me grounded, travels regularly for work so there are many nights I am left alone with the two monsters…err, I mean darlings.
It was just last week that I had a particularly stressful day at the USANA office. The kind of day where I had a gazillion emails bleeping in my face, a phone that didn’t seem to stop ringing and an endless line of people outside my office. I couldn’t wait to get home to see my family and escape the chaos.
Ahhh, what a nice and comforting thought — while it lasted…
A Common Scenario
As usual, Addie and Drake were in a particularly chatty mood. Both were talking over each other and trying to tell me about their day. I was doing my best to volley their questions, but even they could sense I couldn’t keep up and they started getting frustrated with one another. Both of them yelling “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…” louder than the other. (I have never wanted to change my name to “dad” so badly as in that very moment.)
The irritation continued as I tried to navigate my way through their dinner routine. (My kids have completely opposite taste buds yet are always jealous over what the other has.) At the same time, Merlot, our needy Labrador retriever, was whining at my feet for attention and dinner of her own. And all the while, email notifications kept buzzing on my phone and the calls continued coming in.
This was just the first hour of our night. You can image the madness and multitude of “moms” that ensued as we tried to accomplish homework, baths and actual bedtime.
I was ready to lose it. It was one of those days (there seems to be more like these lately) where I felt like everyone wanted a piece of me and was pulling at me from every which way.
This scenario may be unique to me, but the feelings conjured up by it are some many others can surely relate to. I know so many men and women out there with countless stories of their own. Stay-at-home moms, single moms or dads, students, men and women without children — all feeling like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Dealing with Pressures
Which leads me to the question: How do we cut through the chaos and deal with the pressures?
Although I still feel overwhelmed at times, here are some tips that I’ve found to be helpful:
- Just breathe. I know this sounds like a cliché, but when the walls start to cave in, I like to close my eyes and take a deep breath. This inevitably leads to more deep breaths and keeps my blood from boiling. It works. Try it.
- Baby steps. I borrowed this idea from one of my favorite movies, What About Bob? When things are flying at you faster than you can manage, slow down and take some baby steps. One step, task, or question at a time, and soon enough you’ll see the noise starting to clear.
- Unplug. In today’s connected society, it’s hard to disconnect. But once in a while it’s OK to shut off the power. In fact, not only is it OK, it’s necessary to maintaining sanity. Those emails, calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, etc., will still be there after you’ve enjoyed an hour or even an evening of silence.
- Remember you’re not alone. Someone out there is feeling as overwhelmed as you are. You don’t always have to be the superhero, and it’s OK to admit it’s too much from time to time.
- Don’t take life so seriously. We tend to get caught up in work, responsibilities, being everything to everyone, and following rigid routines. When we do, the joy slips through our fingertips. There’s so much life to live, so don’t take it all so seriously. Sometimes when my kids start the “mom” competition, I will just break out in maniacal laughter. It’s contagious after all and gets things moving down a different path.
- Take a retreat. A getaway with friends to celebrate life and enjoy time together is essential to feeling fulfilled. I know I’m a better mom and wife if I can have some time to myself or with some of my girlfriends to take a break from the daily grind.
An Empowering Event
And here’s where I shamelessly plug USANA’s SWEET Retreat. Though this retreat is a USANA event, it is hands down one of my favorite few days of the year. At last year’s event, not only did I get the opportunity to meet so many fabulous women and make new friends, but I also learned some new skills to apply both personally and professionally while being completely entertained in a relaxing environment.
If you attended last year, I hope you’ll come again (Feb. 22-23). And if you didn’t have the opportunity, it’s the perfect chance to take some much-deserved time to be with women from all walks of life that share some of your hopes and challenges. After all, you can’t underestimate the power of sisterhood.
I hope to see you there.