This photo has been used for illustrative purpose only.
Judi Light Hopson
Is there any emotion more annoying than feeling scattered? You’re going in circles, getting very little accomplished. Trying to go faster and faster isn’t working.
You might have several friends and family members yanking you in their direction. Or, maybe your phone rings every hour with a new request from someone.
Your to-do list is overloaded and destroying your focus.
“If we could clone ourselves, we could do great at work, take care of our families, and find time to enjoy life,” says a working mother of three. We’ll call her Jeanna.
“Now that I’m caring for aging parents, I feel like I need to get up at 4am,” says Jeanna. “After work, when I want to exercise with my friends, I have to buy groceries and run errands for two households.
“I used to try positive thinking,” she continues. “But lately, there’s a voice inside me screaming for help.”
In order to get this type of problem under control, try some new strategies to put you back in the driver’s seat.
These tips can help save your sanity:
Risk making some people uncomfortable
In other words: ask for help. Do require your children to gather their laundry and help put away groceries. Do ask your husband to check on your parents occasionally. Enlist one or two co-workers to do some research for you or make calls to clients.
Pay others to help you with chores
For example, hire your teenage niece to run errands for your elderly parents. Hire your grandson to stain your deck. Spending a little money occasionally for household help isn’t a bad idea either. Pay someone to clean just two or three rooms, if that’s all you can afford.
Practice taking care of yourself first
Take 30 minutes to enjoy coffee or juice occasionally. Do get on the treadmill for a short workout instead of starting dinner right away. Put some energy back into your own life, regardless of what’s going on.
“The bad part of feeling pulled in too many directions is that you’re deceiving yourself,” says a postal worker we’ll call Jason. “We like to think that if we plan things correctly, we can really do it all. But, we can’t.”
Jason’s wife was recently in a car accident and he has two toddlers at home.
“Reach out to people for ideas,” Jason insists. “When I did, my neighbour helped me find a few volunteers to drive my wife to her medical appointments and she volunteered to help me with babysitting.”
Don’t try to be a hero. People value you more if you’re human and vulnerable—just like them.
We all remember hearing comments about martyr types such as: “She never complains. Her house is immaculate.” Or: “He works two jobs, coaches Little League, and volunteers on weekends.”
Living a life without breathing room will build up pressure inside you. Feeling admired, but exhausted, isn’t the way to go. Having a heart attack at 50, or younger, can easily happen.
Value the quality of your life more than compliments from others. Your goal? To feel centred, calm, focused and powerful — not running wide open in all directions.
Remember, too, that saying “no” to one obligation opens the door to saying “yes” to something else. If you’d truly like to expand your life—by taking music lessons, going back to college, or making new friends, for example—figure out how to reduce the background noise. Figure out those activities and obligations you can slowly trim away from your schedule.
Tribune News Service
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