Trauma? Medical challenges? A move? A relationship loss? A career shift? A new baby? Yes, we just had our first born baby by C-section, and we are incredibly happy and blessed. However, parenting is also creating stress for both of us as we try to figure this all out. Really, any change will create stress on the brain. No matter what the situation is that is creating the stressors, we always need a plan to keep moving forward.
What I have learned is that if I don’t want to lose momentum, I have get back to or create a new routine as soon as possible. So, I went through some of my old journals to figure out the best methods for me to stay on track. Here are my steps to keep moving forward with my dreams, instead of being held captive by stress…
Step 1: Acknowledge The Changes
Stress changes how you view the world and your priorities. Even if it is a temporary change, there needs to be time taken out to acknowledge and adjust to your new reality. I say this while downing my 4th cup of coffee while my head slams against the keyboard in pure exhaustion. I am working on adjusting to this semi-permanent loss of sleep that is going to last a few years or even decades!
Your changed reality may be bigger than a lack of sleep or it may seem smaller, but it means the world to you. I don’t know what you are going through, but you can NOT move forward until your mind has accepted the changes. Acknowledge it and accept that change has happened. Allow yourself the time needed to feel the emotions of stress, loss and confusion, this will help your mind adjust to the changes that have happened. Here is a great article from Scientific America about allowing our minds to feel the stress rather than just breezing over it or denying it.
Step 2: Decide To Make The Adjustment
During times of high stress or change, our brains are in shock, overwhelmed by trying to figure out new neural connections. However, if you allow your brain to shut down completely, you will never move forward to embrace the changes. Every time you get discouraged about your progress or the stress, remind yourself you can turn your situation into something wonderful and work toward peace with every thought.
To start moving forward again, make sure you are practicing self-care with sleep, journaling, walking and even getting a support group, these things will help you recognize and deal with the stress that you are experiencing.
Step #3: Make The Bed
We all have something, a habit or thought pattern that is so easy to slip into and forget about the stress and changes. It is our brain’s way of attempting to keep us from making these really hard changes. It’s kinda like a bed. HOWEVER, you made it through acknowledging the emotion, you have no need to stay in the comfortable and now you are ready to move forward.
So get out of bed! You know you are ready to remind yourself that professional sleeper is not on your resume nor is it a goal for your life. Since you are up now, make the bed. It’s a small thing, but it helps. Take the shower, do your makeup, make the coffee, open the windows. It helps you feel more positive when you can do little things that make you smile. Start with the bed… even if you slip back in from time to time… start with making the bed.
Step #4: Declutter The Clutter
There are 2 ways that hubby and I accumulate clutter during stress – the trash and the laundry. Anyone relate to this? When we get busy or stressed, we dump trash everywhere BUT in the trash can. And, somehow, the laundry is gets shed in all sorts of random places in the house. It becomes clutter, and that is the first thing I take care of when I am getting back on track.
Clutter has to go! Mental, physical, financial, time, relationship and responsibility clutter has to go! It seems that during times of stress, everything feels sooooo important that it is hard to tell people or things no. But think of everything as clutter that is just taking up your time and space. Get back on track by decluttering and putting everything (and everyone) back in their places.
Step #5: Re-evaluate Your Priorities
If the changes are going to be around for awhile (aka – a new baby), you need to reevaluate your priorities. What used to be higher on the list of priorities may not matter so much now. Whether that is the budget or the chores, plan your day based on what you are able to do now and what is most important. For me, I pick the top 3 most important things for the day and only focus on those. I plan the week the same way – if I could only do 1 thing this week, what would it be? If I could do 1 more thing this week, what would I add?
It is much easier to keep moving forward if you are focusing on the most important priorities first. Remember most of the things in your life can be viewed as clutter or a priority – try asking these questions when you aren’t sure which it is – “Is it good… or best? Is it urgent… or a well thought out plan? Is it temporary … or a permanent decision? Is it stress induced… or peace induced?”
#6: Figure Out A Schedule
This is the one most of us fail on. We have everything else going and ready, but we never create and stick to a schedule. Priorities don’t just happen, they take work and dedication. For instance – I need to work a part time job during certain hours, I want to write and grow my blog to self-supporting, I want to run a marathon again and I get to be a stay at home mom with my little baby. These are 4 different priorities I am working on, but all are important, so each one needs to be given time throughout the day. These priorities need to be scheduled during the day or we will end up wasting our day watching TV.
Get a notebook and write out your day from time you get up to time you go to bed. Give blocks of time to what is a priority and make sure you stick to it. Make sure you are working with your body’s natural cycle. Morning and night people need to schedule life differently, don’t be afraid to work with what your body needs, it will make it much easier to get dreams accomplished.
And, remember, stay flexible with yourself as you are adjusting and recreating your goals. It isn’t always a straight line through stress, most of the time it looks more like a bad highway system in 5 o’clock traffic. But it will happen eventually! There is no timeline on how long each step takes, spend time in meditation/prayer and you will know when you are ready for the next step. Make sure you subscribe to my blog or share this post on your social media, so you can come back and review your next step as you get ready to move forward. I hope you reach your dreams and stress never paralyzes you again. Leave a comment – I would love to hear how you are going to conquer your stress and move forward with your dreams.
Check out my other blogs for more life advice…
Check out these great resources for dealing with stress, yes, I can make a small commission of them, but I only recommend what I found to be useful –