It’s 3:00pm. My appointment is at 3:30. I just logged off work and I need to leave in 10-15 min to make sure I have enough time to find parking, pay the meter, and be at my appointment.
Okay. What’s the best way to use the 10 minutes I have now?
- Clean myself up a bit since I’m still in my work(out) clothes?
- Start prepping dinner so I have more time with my two-year-old post-appointment?
- Put the bins out for tomorrow’s trash/recycling pick up?
- Get out a few of the thank you cards I have yet to complete?
- Look up the recipe for the cake I’m making my BFF for her bridal shower?
Did I mention my appointment was for acupuncture? Yep, I’m supposed to be relaxing. #selfcareisthenewblack
At a recent doctor’s appointment, my physician said I carry a lot of stress and that it could be affecting my health. Blah, blah, stress management, blah. He suggested that I start meditating, take up yoga and consider alternative medicines, hence, the acupuncture. Within 24 hours I also had a dental appointment (#knockingthingsoffthetodolist) and my dentist told me I’m clinching my teeth and grinding. Another symptom of, you got it, stress.
It’s now 3:04. I have 6 minutes.
Yes, this is how my head works and this could better explain why I have this appointment and why my jaw hurts. I live with stress. And I like it that way. It’s how I’m made.
But here’s the thing:
I know that stress, at a heightened level, is really harmful, yet I’ve never been happier.
Yes, it takes time and effort to maintain my role at my company, care for my family, keep up with home and more but I love it. I love a jam-packed schedule. I just had no idea my inability to sit still or even just quiet my mind would cause a level of stress that needs to be treated.
Does it? It must. I’m so tired of people telling me to “calm down” or “take it easy”.
For me, stress relief is not taking things off my to-do list but actually going back to it with a new focus.
Here’s an example of a Daily To Do List from last month:
- Breakfast and lunch prep for family
- Train for next run before/after work. Beat yesterday’s time of 6.37 mph.
- Work (8 hours)
- Assist in M’s afternoon art time at Montessori
- Drop off dry-cleaning
- Check garage for extra items that can be recycled or trashed with tomorrow’s pickup
- Give M her dinner and bath
- Prep dinner for my hub and me
- Dinner with hub
- Catch up on personal email/zone out in front of the TV
I’ve decided there can be a middle ground and I need to find it.
I won’t be sitting around meditating for an hour a day. #nothappening But, I can take some things off my list, and make time for more play and less work.
Here’s an example of my new Daily To Do List:
- Drink Water and take vitamins
- Breakfast and lunch prep for family. Show M how she can help with this.
- Jog or do yoga. Then bird-bath it and throw my hair in a pony.
- Work 8 hours with full lunch break
- Choose a few days to assist in M’s afternoon art time. No more than 3 days/month.
- Give M her dinner and bath
- Dinner with the hub
- Catch up on personal email/visit with hub/call a friend/meditate. Do what feels good.
- Schedule some time on Sat or Sun to drop off dry-cleaning and see what can be done in garage in no time with husband’s help. Also look into what dinner items can be prepped ahead of time for easy reheating during work week.
- Get in 7 hours of sleep
What could you adjust on your To Do List to dial stress back down to a healthy level?
Do you think being a Penelope means also being a bit more stressed than those who aren’t? Is stress your friend, your enemy or your frenemy?