Saturday, June 4, 2016

Busyness, Stress, and Mental Health

I'm what you might call a task-driven person.  I love being with people, too, but I also love getting things done, experiencing accomplishment, crossing items off the list.  The tasks are good, even, but they can become a problem when I become too busy.  Because (for me) busyness leads to stress, and stress leads to increased anxiety and OCD.

to do list: so many things - avoiding stress while busy

NOTE: Many people can handle commitments and busyness that I cannot.  I used to be one of those people, then I had my third kid.  She totally changed things.

This week was extra busy, so I shouldn't have been surprised when yesterday afternoon was filled with high anxiety.  Or when scrupulosity trigger thoughts bombarded me this morning.  

Here's what this week's extras looked like:

  • Monday: spent Memorial Day at the lake with lots of family; missed naps, weird schedules, and LOTS of activity in the sun
  • Wednesday: made chocolate chip banana bread from scratch and enough homemade spaghetti sauce to feed four families (including ours) while hosting a play date; coordinated getting food to one of the families; counseling appointment
  • Thursday: delivered meal to one family and had a play date; sorted pictures for parents' 40th anniversary party

The rest of June is also unusually busy:

  • We start teaching summer Sunday school to preschoolers tomorrow
  • I'm attending a several-day homeschooling conference
  • I'm helping my sister and sister-in-law plan my parents' 40th anniversary party for the end of the month
  • The kids have Vacation Bible School for 5 mornings at church
  • I'm consulting and coaching participants in an education conference the same week as VBS

I'm hoping to navigate this month with a healthy level of self-care in which I steward my mind, body, and family well to the glory of God.  But this won't just happen.  I need to plan ahead specific ways to alleviate and avoid stress - simple meals, leaving early to be on time, etc.

I'd love to hear tips on how you avoid and alleviate stress in seasons of busyness!  Leave me a note in the comments below!