I said I would talk about keeping things serene during stressful times. I wanted to talk about it because I have been living it. When my husband was in the hospital for a week earlier this month, I tried really hard to keep all the horizontal surfaces clear and my apartment tidy. I did less of the things that did not matter. I dropped the things I could drop. I said no more often. I was in the energy conservation mode and I knew that was the best place to be to keep sane and serene. I wanted to keep from getting sick. I knew if I got sick it would be a disaster.
I also knew that if I let things go around my home, that it would have the negative effect of overloading myself emotionally and mentally when I was already up to my neck in stress. My goal was to keep my head above water. I found it helpful to put clutter in a basket and stash it in a closet out of sight. This was often the best strategy for maintaining a sense of inner calm.
During times of crises or stress, it becomes harder to focus. When we purposely take the time to keep our environment tidy and essential chores caught up we are doing our future selves a favor. We won’t be searching for misplaced items or forgetting important things we need to do.
I came up with three things that I believe will help you:
- DROP THE FALSE GUILT: Don’t feel guilty for not being with your loved one in the hospital as much as your “inner critic” is telling you should. Be good to yourself and try your best to keep your head above water by maintaining order in your home environment. Also, don’t forget to enlist some friends and family to help you with whatever you may need even if it is just a listening ear.
- DON’T LET THINGS GO: Don’t let your good habits slide – try to keep your morning and evening routines as normal as possible. Prioritize so you will do the most important things first, that way when your body reaches the “I can’t do another thing” point you will at least have the most important things done. And, you will fall asleep with your teeth brushed! I found that exercise was one habit that paid off big time especially when sleeping more soundly was concerned. That daily swim in the pool was essential for me. My stress just melted off in the water!
- WRITE IT ALL DOWN: Keep good notes because your mind will not be functioning at optimum levels. You may be forgetful, so your notebook will become your best friend. You may have trouble making decisions. This is the perfect time to ask a friend to help you. Also, keep a bag of things you will need when you visit the hospital by the front door. This will keep you sane when it comes time to leave the house.
It is my hope that these tips will help you when you enter into your next stressful time. You are not alone and God is your best resource – be sure to talk it all over with him each day and get a team of people to pray for you and your family.