This is a really big area that we can start with to decrease our overall stress level.
Its an easy one to assess by looking at your calendar or, if you are one of those who dont write anything down, thinking about where you have been. Either way, you can determine where you are most of the time.
First, are you home or gone?
Are you one who likes to go, go, go?! Or are you a homebody? Are you someone who hates sitting still? Or one who craves quiet moments?
There is nothing wrong with either of these, as long as you are still fulfilling your purpose while you are there. And, that you are meeting the physical (healthy eating, rest, ordered environment), spiritual, and emotional (security, comfort) needs of those you are responsible for.
I believe the second part of that does require some at home, "be" home time. But, the amount changes for everyone, and is different for every individual in the family.
Here is another thought. Not only can you consider your needs and preferences when it comes to staying or going, but also those of those you are given the task to nurture.
By this I mean, if you are a "goer", but your husband or children (one or all) are not, then you have to consider a balance so that all involved get what they need.
Its one of those "unfair" things...but like I say, it the way it is :)
Also, if you are a "homebody" and you would be fine never leaving the house, but the husband or kids really need that interaction with the outside world, then you have to be available to do that too.
Its about recognizing yours, and your families needs and doing what it takes to meet those needs.
Now, when it comes to looking at your schedule and determining what activities are appropriate and which activities may need to be reconsidered, its about your priorities again.
Time and energy are resources, like we keep talking about. You have to use both toward your purpose, and priorities. If something doesnt fit in there, or by doing something you are neglecting your first priorities then it needs to be reconsidered.
Remember also, something I have heard and pondered often. There are alot of good things to do, but not all are the best to spend your time on.
We can feel bad about not doing everything you are asked to do at church, or with others. Thing is, there will ALWAYS be those things to do, these babies wont always be here. Your job with them is the most important, and its only right here, right now.
If you have issues with telling people no, or feel pulled by things that arent part of your list of priorities and are unable to let them go...I would suggest reading, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This book, and its study have given me alot of insight into how to say no, and how to do it without feeling guilty :)
Some tips related to your schedule:
- Use your Stress List and your Priority List to help you determine which things on your list need to be managed first.
- Assign them a time of day (by noon, by dinnertime), day of the week, or a general time to get them done by
- Try to clump your "out of the house" things together, and those to a time of day that fits your families needs the best (home by the time daddy gets home, the toddlers naptime, nothing on certain days of the week, etc.)
- Look at your calendar, and eliminate whatever you dont love, things that cause "unworthy" stress, things that keep you from your priorities.
- Be HONEST - it may be something that you enjoy, but you know it takes away from your focus. It may be something the kids enjoy, but if its not the best for them, then it may need to be eliminated.
- Dont worry about what others think ..its easier said than done, I know. But so important. So often we do things not because its best for us, but because we just cant say no or we are afraid of what others with think if we arent involved with such and such.
Stress Strategies to apply: get rid of it, get it done, get control of it, get a new perspective, get a new plan