When life is lived on overload

When life is lived on overload

My last three weeks have been so full of the good, the bad and the ugly that I’m writing this column closer to deadline than I consider acceptable, but here I am.

I’ll spare you the details and just say all is fine now.

Among the other challenges, I went 36 hours with only one hour of sleep. Although I’ve gotten some sleep since, I’m still feeling a bit sluggish.

Can you relate?

Have you stayed up with a sick child? Driven through the night to get to a vacation spot? Worked crazy hours because a schedule had to be met?

How did you handle it? How would you get through a similar situation if it happened again? Have you written some notes?

When life gets crazy, and it usually does from time to time, try to stay as normal as possible.

Of course, if you have a truly tragic situation, some of this will not apply. I’m talking about times when life is just so full that every minute feels like it should fulfill at least three purposes.

Don’t whine. It won’t help and will likely just upset the people around you.

Pray. God always has the right answer.

Work the problem. My kids have heard me say this so often they have started repeating it back to me. Consider what is critical. Think about or discuss possible solutions. Decide a plan of action. Get going.

When it, whatever it is, has to be taken care of right away, do so. Drop what you have to and move. Sometimes, time is critical.

If you have a regular exercise routine, stick to it as much as possible. Doing so will help your mental and physical state. Because of a challenge, I have run at least 1 mile every day for about 125 days. Usually, I run more than the required mile, but recent days have found me on the treadmill well past my usual bedtime to squeeze in just the mile. Although I have lost a bit more sleep, the physical consistency has been good for me.

Eat well. Too often when we are feeling rushed, we resort to food that doesn’t give us proper fuel. Keep some fast, easy, healthy things on hand. You’ll know when you need them.

Sleep when you can. Get a full eight hours if possible. If not, try a power nap. Set an alarm and crash for 20 minutes. It can make a world of difference. If you don’t nap easily, try sitting quietly with your eyes closed for the time instead. A rested mind thinks better.

As much as I would like to be in multiple places at once, I am limited to one at a time. I’m guessing it’s the same for you. So when such situations happen, call in the troops. Get help if you can. Rework schedules. Prioritize. What can wait or be dropped? Could you participate in another way?

Keep up with things that pile up. Think dishes, laundry and things in the middle of the floor. You won’t feel so overwhelmed if these have some order. And you won’t have so much to catch up on when things settle down.

Try to develop a style that allows for life’s crazy times. I once worked with a woman who insisted everything on her desk be done before she left the office because she wanted to be ready for whatever came at her the next day. I must admit I have not met her level of efficiency, but it’s worth aspiring to.

So when life truly gets crazy full, don’t freak out. Don’t fuss. Pray. Work the problem. Stay healthy. Keep up on what you can.

Life happens. Life gets amazingly busy at times. Embrace it.

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