More than enough


I really hate spring. I’m ok with summer and I like winter. I love fall. But spring … not so much. (Thank God it's almost summer!)

It really has nothing to do with weather, or with the transitions that come from our frozen Pennsylvania winter’s metamorphosis into our blossomy summers.

It’s really my own fault.

For years, I’ve packed my spring schedule so full that there isn’t room to – as they say – swing a cat (though why someone would want to do that puzzles me).

Like all things that I find stressful, I hate it. It’s not just the schedule, but, over time that dislike of my spring busyness has morphed into my disdain for spring itself.

I can’t stop myself from packing my crazy schedule tightly – it doesn’t seem that anything is expendable. I know many of you are just like me and find yourself with more to do each day than could possibly be done in a week. What can we do to distress in these moments?

Here are some things that keep me sane.

1) Try to look at your schedule and commitments and really consider what is absolutely necessary. I get annoyed at family and friends who say this to me, but, honestly, they’re right, and I should seriously consider my activities, especially during the busy times. It’s hard to think about actually backing out of commitments, but sometimes it’s really the right thing to do. I like to think of it this way – when I stop doing something, it gives someone else the opportunity to try doing it instead. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.

2) Make sure you have something to look forward to at the end of the busy cycle of your life. In my case, since my husband and I are at that certain stage, it’s travel. Spring has been stressful, but there’s a great vacation around the corner. Even if it’s just a quick getaway – gosh, even if it’s just an ice cream break – build little (or big) breaks into it. They will they give you something to look forward to.

3) Even as you’re planning big things (like vacations) to alleviate stress, make sure you’re feeding yourself somehow on a daily basis. I find that an hour or so cuddling with my husband and watching TV helps, even if I feel I can’t spare the time. It could be sitting for a bit and reading a book, taking a bath (or even a long hot shower), playing a game or just chatting with someone without looking at the clock. The important point is, take a break. Often.

4) This is kind of cliché, but make sure you’re eating, sleeping and exercising. If you don’t take care of your body in those ways, the stress you’re feeling will get out of control. For example, this week, I had a number of deadlines, plus our annual business Open House, plus the regular things on my plate in the spring. I was very tired, not having slept well for several nights. In addition, because I was tired, I didn’t do my normal exercise routine. It all added up to a perfect storm of exhaustion that took great effort to eliminate. I should never have let it get that bad.

5) Keep your environment as clear as you can. When I feel personally out of control, especially when my schedule is nuts, I really need my house and office to be neat and tidy. It just helps.

6) Sometimes it’s helpful to remind yourself of what’s going well, and why you’re doing what you are. For instance, one of my springtime commitments is the annual Friends of Legal Services Book Sale, this year from May 18-20 at Wilson College. I’ve been a volunteer for the book sale for about 25 years, and I’m always amazed at the volume and variety of books we get – I truly love it, even while I find it exhausting. Helping to raise money for low-income Franklin County residents that need civil legal representation is something I’m proud of doing.

7) Keep a great to-do list. Someone introduced me to the concept of bullet journals, and I’ve found them indispensible for figuring out what I have to do and when. It sure doesn’t have to be that complicated, but keeping a detailed and up-to-date to-do list is indispensible, the more so when there is a lot on it.

I’m sure there are many other ways to de-stress in busy times, and I’d love to hear yours. If you have great ideas, email me at ellen@sanctuarychristiancounseling.com and let me know. I may be relaxing after my spring craziness on a foreign beach, but I’ll thank you when I can!

If you are having trouble making your life work, or you need someone to listen, think about us. We not only help with the stresses of life and its transitions, but also with relationships, anxiety, depression and many other difficulties for adults, couples, teens and kids. We’re anxious to help you live your best life!

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