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These last few weeks have challenged my sanity. A dear friend passed away, work has been insane, kids have been sick, one kid broke his arm, and I blew up the washing machine during a vigorous anti-germ campaign. Plus I’m writing this blog post while washing clothes at the Laundromat. I was counting on it to be quiet here. Unfortunately, this one dude is giving a loud blow by blow of his weekend to an audience he’s held hostage by the change machine. He’s about to snip the thread holding my sanity in place.
I have a few sanity savers at my disposal. Buckets of caffeine, chocolate, and wine can bandage this problem until I can put my house back together from moving washing machines in and out. The only problem is that I can’t find them. The sodas, the wine, and the Valentine candy I’ve been hiding from my kids is buried under all the stuff I moved out of my laundry room. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to result to healthy coping mechanisms. Here are four to get you through when nothing seems to work.
1. Take time feel the emotions challenging your sanity.
Sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed with feelings during times that challenge my sanity that I don’t take time to let my brain process events. Allowing myself a time-out when I’m struggling is so important. Giving the mind some time to assimilate and deal with stress is a huge part of staying healthy through rockier periods. When the head and heart are struggling to come together over a tough issue, trust the process and give all that mental friction time to work itself out.
2. Stop, take thirty minutes to exercise, then inhale some sanity.
I can be ready to snap but a half-hour sweat session can seriously take the edge off. Once the heart starts pumping, the endorphins flow. Those feel-good chemicals build energy and help my brain generate some much-needed perspective. I have an elliptical inside, but I find that a walk or run through the field near my house helps more when I’m stressed. Fresh air, nature, and movement can weave my sanity right back into place.
3. Prioritize to regain some sanity.
Once I’ve exercised a little, I can then decide which problem is the most pressing, and which on the list can wait. Our lives don’t have to look like our Pinterest boards, people! My house looks like a bomb went off, but my new washing machine is on its way. The kids are healthy, fed, and clean. Homework is done. We’ll just step over the chaos and wait until it can all be put back together again.
4. Embrace your mess and feel your sanity return!
The piles of pantry and laundry room crap in the floor means we have what we need. A crazy work schedule allows us to keep that pantry stocked and provides this basket of wet clothes I’m taking home to dry. Learning to be happy right where I am instead of when I accomplish certain goals keeps me centered and allows me to bend and not break when inevitable chaos blows through.
So there you have it. Four ways to maintain your sanity when life unravels a little. Take time to feel, exercise, and prioritize. Who knows? While you’re busy being thankful, your stress just might be replaced by a brand new washing machine!