I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve been at breaking point recently. Running two busy jobs simultaneously, finding time to be all things to all people and the not so small matter of keeping two children alive has left me feeling completely bewildered and on the brink of exhaustion.
If you read my recent update reflecting on three months back in the office, then you have probably picked up on my stress levels. They’re at an all time high despite the odd and rather oxymoron-ish fact that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I know it doesn’t make any sense but there it is.
I suppose what I mean is that I ought to be happier than I’ve ever been. My family and I have our health, we have everything we could need and I’m fortunate enough to work in a job that I love some days and at least tolerate on others. It’s just that there’s not enough hours in the day and I literally cannot spin one more plate or I think I will tip over and lie in a blobby-bottomed mess of hormones, dry-shampoo’d hair and self-pity. Breaking point see?
However, after a good few weeks of snatched reflection time I’ve made a few tweaks that are both helping me to de-stress and to drink less wine. Another oxymoron I know. Bear with me – my life is one long literary drama.
I know from speaking to many of you recently, that there are lots of you feeling the same way. Women (and men – no discrimination here!) are busier than they’ve ever been. Family, finances, work, health – the list of things to do, see and achieve can leave us all feeling like we are spinning too many plates in the air.
Right now, if those plates are more smashing than spinning, here’s a few tips to get you over the feeling you are at breaking point.
Tried and tested my me, myself and I.
So you can’t take on anything else? Then don’t. Have a ruthless look at the ties on your time and inclinations and cut out those things that aren’t absolutely mandatory. For a while at least. For me, this was time on my beloved social media (hashtag first world problems) where I’ve been busy trying to build a decent following. It was taking up hours every evening and it just had to stop.
Too busy, too unfit, too tired too….Blah blah blah. Get off your arse, stop making excuses and do it. Replace your time on Instagram with a quick round of squats and lunges. Go out and walk on your lunch break. Plank challenge your abs into oblivion at 5am if you have to do but in the words of a very famous brand – JUST DO IT.
I’m no fitness fanatic but I’ve developed a new respect for my body and as such I have realised that what I put in it and what I do with it, has a direct effect on my energy levels, mental health and va va voom.
Exercise has many obvious health advantages but the absolute biggest (and quickest) one is the de-stress factor. It may be 30 minutes of torture but the rest of the day you will feel alive, motivated and just a touch smug.
#3 Turn it off
Technology. Ahh it’s a beautiful thing isn’t it? It brings you my lovely blog (sorry – not sorry), Faceache, Instagram, endless visits to Dr.Google, ridiculous but slightly amusing memes and much more besides.
It’s also one of the biggest causes of stress, for me at least. I love it but as I work in digital communications (i.e. social media) and I also run a blog, I don’t need to be spending my free time on here too.
Practice what you preach springs to mind and I’ll admit, I’m really bad at following through with this tip BUT when I really feel pushed to the edge, I switch off for a day, week or whatever. It’s really important to come away from it for periods of time.
If you are feeling extremely on edge then I suggest you stop indulging in the passive aggressive comparison games on social media and switch off. Only after reading this post obvs….
#4 Ask for help
There is no hidden superpower in you. Unless it’s the ability to raise humans on no sleep. Kudos for that by the way.
Once you have completed tip number one, come back here and think about what you can ask for help with. Swallow that pride and ask. Whether that’s getting someone to pick the baby up from nursery once a week, someone to do the ironing or whatever just ask. Family, friends and partners aren’t psychic but they often are helpful if instructed correctly.
So let them help.
#5 Spend some time alone
This may be a tricky one and the possibilities will sure as hell be different for everyone reading this. So I’m just going with the best case scenario and saying that if you have someone who can watch the kids once in a while – then take advantage of it. If all that’s holding you back is mum guilt, then shake it off baby. You are a person as well as mother and you are allowed some alone time.
I know that you will keep this show on the road without it if you have to BUT if you can get some alone time then take it. It may be just enough to reset the stress-o-meter that’s going into meltdown in your head.
Basically, that’s the tip’s that I have been following over the past few weeks to stop me feeling like I’m hitting breaking point and I’ve started to turn a corner with my stress levels as a result. I hope that if you are going through something similar, my tips and virtual fist pump / cuddle of parenting solidarity will see you through this tough patch.
Failing that, it’s wine. All the wine.