Do you ever feel like you are trying to push a 500 lb wheelbarrow uphill? Do you ever want to throw a brick through the TV screen or computer monitor?
It is easy to let our emotions get the best of us, especially during this election year. As if we don’t have enough to deal with already like juggling: school, work, children or grandchildren, significant others, household responsibilities, community activities etc. – now we have the stress of the election and the state of the country, the stories in the media, who to believe, who to trust, who is right, and on and on.
We can end up feeling stressed out and overloaded very quickly. This can affect our appetite, sleep, ability to give love and understanding, and overall health.
What can we do?
First, we can get back to some basic ground rules for quality living:
- Realize, that once we do what we can do, God will take care of the rest. He hasn’t brought us this far to dump us on our rear ends.
- Make sure to eat 2 to 3 times a day, even if we don’t feel like it. Our bodies and brains need fuel to function properly and think clearly.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses (8 oz) of water daily. Good hydration contributes to mood, focus, reducing tension and headaches, and more. Medical science has proven this repeatedly.
- Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Avoid use of any electronic devices (cell phones, ipads/tablets, kindles, computers, video games, etc.) at least 1 hour before bedtime. These devices stimulate areas of the brain that interfere with sleep.
Second, we need to realize that we are not God and do not control the universe:
- Acceptance – even if I disagree with someone politically or any other way, no amount of yelling, getting nasty, or expressing anger will change the way they think. If anything, it will push them further away and into rebellion and defiance. Remember you can catch a lot more flies with sugar than you can with lemon.
- Powerlessness – I must remind myself that I am powerless over people, places, and things, as well as, the-end-result. If I have done my part, completed whatever is in front of me to do, and put the rest in God’s Hands – I must let go. Letting go is not exerting effort to force things into the way I think they should be. Letting go is the act of focusing my mind on other things and leaving it alone!
- Trust – When I pray and ask God to take over the situation, I am making the decision to Trust in Him and that He will work out everything for the good of everyone involved, even down to the smallest detail. Including Presidential Elections!
Third, I have to get myself organized:
- Make a list of priorities. List the most important at the top and the least at the bottom of the list. Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide on which are the most important. In order to help me prioritize, I ask myself which will affect the most people involved or which will have the most drastic effect on my quality of life.
- Get a medium size Dry Erase board for your desk. I have one on my desk with my ‘To Do’ list. I have drawn eight squares. Each square holds an area of my life such as: Personal, Family, Home Business, Other, and one for each of the volunteer positions I hold. In each box, under the title, I list the tasks to do for that area with a little line next to each one. As I complete a task, I put a check mark next to it. This makes me feel good when I look at it, because I know I am making progress and not spinning my wheels in the sand.
- Get a Blank Monthly Calendar Dry Erase Board and put it somewhere where you will see it 10 to 12 times a day. Mine is in the Dining Room because I walk by it to get to the garage, so I see it every time I go in and out. Every month I list the current month with all appointments, meetings, and events. The reason I like the Dry Erase boards is that life changes so frequently and I can simply change things around without scribbling all over my calendar.
Fourth, and Most Importantly, we must learn to say ‘NO’:
- I cannot be and do all things for all people. Once my plate is full, if I try to pile anything else on – I make a mess on the floor that I have to clean up.
- Think of a Pitcher of Water. Once you use the pitcher to fill up so many glasses, the water in the pitcher is all gone. There is nothing left to pour out. We are the same way. If we try to pour ourselves out with nothing left to give, it can be ugly.
- Yes, it is hard because we want people to be happy. However, know that you are only one person and the price you pay for trying to do too much for too many is exhaustion, irritability, and resentment. Life is too short to be miserable. Most reasonable people totally understand if you say “I am sorry, I would love to help you, but I have way too much going on right now.” Then offer some type of other resource and people will be grateful for the referral.
Life is never easy, but we can work to make it better by doing a few simple things and keeping our minds focused on the present.
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