Unrealistic Expectations, stress, and ways to manage.
Posted by Liz Sims, PT, DPT - Redpoint Physical Therapy, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Elliot from Scrubs gives a nice segue into this week's blog in the first 40 seconds of the video.
I was just laughing to myself about how ridiculous I am. Today is Monday, but when I thought of the idea for this blog, it was Thursday. And Thursday is my half day (hallelujah!).
You see, I (like many of you) work a *very* full-time job, but still have to find time to be a parent (Job #1), and clean the house, and cook dinners, and exercise, and… you get the point.
So, Thursday is a magical day! I finish work on Thursday at 1pm, and from 1-5pm I am a free woman! It is my day to:
Clean the kitchen. Clean the guest bathroom. Clean the full bathroom. Vacuum and tidy the living room. Do the laundry. Go grocery shopping. Make a nice dinner (and perhaps a prep-ahead) meal for another day. Prep lunch for my daughter so she gets something other than PB&J for once. Exercise. Blog. Catch up on paperwork. Catch up on bills. “Relax” (haha).
Oh, and I forgot… it’s also my “pick-up-the-baby-early-so-I-don’t-feel-guilty” day. So you can bet I start to feel guilty after 4 o’clock, and more so at 5:35 when I pick up my daughter LATE on my magical half day.
All of this is impossible! Yet, every week, I set these unachievable goals for myself. I know I’m not alone! On Thursdays, I normally don’t even stop for lunch. But, until we create a more magical 8th day of the week, I don’t know where else to fit everything!
Setting impossible goals for yourself - which many of us do more than we even realize - may not seem like a bad thing. Aim high, right? The only problem is, if you are consistently unable to achieve goals you set (no matter how unreasonable they are), you are left with a feeling of failure (read this article so you know I’m not telling lies). And you *are not* a failure! You’re a hard-working (insert self description here)!
I am trying my hardest to curb my ridiculous expectations of myself. There are some things I am doing to try to decrease stress in my life that I will pass along to you:
1. Rely on others. Delegate tasks to willing helpers when possible.
2. Prioritize the top goals for the week, and spread them out over the course of the week.
3. On the tail end of number 2… remember that a busy period in life is a phase and should pass in a somewhat period of predictable time. If busy is your norm and it causes you stress, you should look into changing something in your life.
4. Hire help. I would like a cleaner, but my husband points out I would probably clean the entire house prior to their arrival out of embarrassment (good point, hubs). Whatever it takes.
5. Move closer to work (or switch jobs closer to home). I always laugh at my commutes… Over the past 5 years, I improved a 60 minute commute to a 15 minute commute to an 8 minute commute to a 4 minute commute currently. And that makes me very happy :)
6. Find time to exercise. Believe it or not, taking an hour out of your day to exercise will actually make you more efficient than if you sit at your desk the whole day. And yes, I realize that my office could be considered a “glass house”. And yes, I realize I am clearly throwing stones. I am a work in progress. ;)
7. Do something you love in your free time. Create free time during the week, because things are always more fun while other people are at work. My new favorite thing (during the 3 days of spring we’ve had so far) is to take my daughter for a quick walk in the mornings. Quality time, fresh air, and beautiful Plymouth make for a great start to the day!
8. Don’t procrastinate! Get it done, then enjoy stress-free time later.
9. Focus less on what you failed to do and give yourself credit for what you do achieve every day, week, month, or year. We cram so much in! There are some days where my only successes were remembering to eat lunch and keeping the baby and cats alive and healthy. But hey, those are big wins!
10. Last tip… learn to relax. Use breathing, yoga, meditation… or just find time to do nothing! But find a way to let go, even if only for 5 minutes. Just getting up 5 minutes earlier and stretching can make a difference. :)
Good luck, and be nice to yourself!
We’d love to hear some of your tricks to managing a busy life. Please comment below.