I’m sure you read the title of this post and thought, “Really? There’s no way you can be prepared for stressful situations!”
Yes, I know, how can you predict when stressful situations are going to come?
In a recent episode of Live It Out With The Planning Woman, I talked about how to deal with stress. I shared a little bit about my journey over the last couple of months where I’ve had one stressful situation after another crop up with no warning. And this is on top of other stress I was already dealing with in my life.
What has tipped the scale for me and has been a life changer is that both of my parents fell within one day of each other. This resulted in a sprained arm for my mom and a stay in ICU for my dad.
Thankfully they are recovering and are at home. However, their falls have ushered in a new season of life for all of us. They are needing more help and care. And as an only child, lots of things are now on my shoulders. This is in addition to taking care of my own family.
I’ve had to make some adjustments in my life to make sure I’m available to help when needed. It has not been easy, and I always feel like I’m not doing enough. But I’m doing the best I can.
As we’ve been walking through this new season, I realized that there were ways I could have been prepared to deal with this new stressful time. It’s true that their health crises could not be predicted. However, if I had been consistently managing time well, I could have been a little better off time management wise.
Let me share what I’ve learned.
Be more proactive by not procrastinating
I’ve known all summer that my son was going to college in August. I even knew by the end of June on what date he would be moving. But I kept putting off buying what he needed for his dorm room.
Now in my defense, one reason I procrastinated is because we’ve been trying to sell our home and have not had a good place to store all his dorm items out of sight. But I could have probably stashed them in my parent’s extra bedroom if I had really wanted to.
So when my parents both fell, I only had about half of what he needed purchased. That meant I had to fit in time when I could over the last couple of weeks before he left to get the rest purchased. Had we done this sooner, I would not have had to worry about it at all.
I think just keeping up with things and tasks as they come into our lives will save us so much hassle in the long run. If we are keeping up with things as we should be, then stressful times can be a little less stressful because we know we’ve been taking care of what needs to be done.
Consistently live out your priorities
Living out my priorities means I’m doing the things that matter most in my life. And if I’m tending to those things well, then there is room to handle whatever stressful events come up.
That’s not to say that our priorities may have to change for a while during stressful seasons. In fact, during the time my dad was in the hospital, I had to have two episodes of my podcast replayed. I just could not physically get new episodes written and recorded.
However, if I had been living out my priorities consistently before this happened, I would have seen fruit from my efforts and would not have been as frustrated by the interruption of this stressful time.
Be aware of potential stressful times
I also think we can predict some times of stress and prepare for them so they won’t be so bad. For instance, I always know when school is going to start. So I can be prepared by shopping for things all summer instead of waiting until the last minute. Or, I know the holidays can be stressful for me. Because I know that, I can do what I can prepare ahead of time to make the holiday season less stressful.
Take a few moments to think about times in your life that are coming up you know will bring you stress. Brainstorm ways you can get ahead of the stress.
Again, I think it all just comes back to avoiding procrastination. I know that is easier said than done. However, use the thought that stressful situation will happen no matter how hard we try to avoid them as motivation to manage your time well.