Caption: Marj (our office manager) helping me massage my schedule. She maybe laughing at me as I work on scaling back. She knows me well and knows this isn't my best gift!
I have never been good at setting boundaries for myself in my life. I constantly want to try and do everything. Pinterest has been an issue because it has fun crafts to try or home projects to do. I am a bleeding heart and always want to help out with every job at church or sit on any board that I feel matters. The problem is most of these things matter and I want to help when I can. The result is usually exhaustion and fatigue and sometimes even headaches for having worked too hard helping in too many areas. But my biggest struggle is deciding where my priorities should lie and what should happen first. So, how do I decide each day what I can and can’t get done to live a more balanced life and achieve better mental health?
Start with facts. How much time do I need to complete something? Be realistic. Recently with COVID schooling and working longer hours with patients, I realized that I was falling further and further behind in getting our house cleaned. I loved cleaning the house but it was now a major source of stress for me and I was resenting not getting help from my family who were also very busy. Solution: get house cleaning every other week to improve the family dynamic and help drive down my stress.
Choose the better things, not just the good things. Spending hours re-organizing the book shelf may be a good activity, but actually spending time reading with my kids is definitely better. And maybe I can’t sit on 3 non-profit boards because I am needed at home to raise the kids. Non-profits are good, raising responsible adults…BETTER!
Focus on one task at a time. Rushing around trying to do everything at once will only lead to nothing being done very well. This means you may end up throwing away food that you burned while trying to cook and sweep the floors and mop at the same time, (yes, I did this).
Decide your Goals for each day. What must get done today? Does a patient’s lab need to be ordered? Do you have to get the dog’s appointment scheduled? Decide and then keep a mental list (or written) and proceed. I even talk to myself to help with my efficiency. “Ok I will fold laundry, then do a patient report, Ok Jenny go!”
Don’t over schedule you or your kids’ schedule. This will lead to emotional and mental exhaustion. Sure, you want to see all those patients but packing your schedule so tight that you don’t get lunch or have to rush your kids through homework is not worth it. So sometimes you have to say “NO, I am not available.” Really hard one for me let me tell you, because I want to do it all.
I want you to take these rules to heart and practice them daily so that when stressful times such as COVID schooling hit, you can weather them without getting mentally ill or worn down. This is one of my causes of the adrenal fatigue that I showed in my previous blog which showed my Labrix test results.