What To Do When Chaos Erupts

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by kevin dooley

There are times when life gets chaotic. And sometimes it is more than a little chaotic.

I’m not sure what cosmic influences have inspired the changes in my life right now, but they are all big.

Since the last week in August, this is what has happened (chaos has erupted):

  • We drove three hours to my hometown in the middle of the country to visit my mother (who was in the hospital for 3 weeks earlier this summer). After a week, which included me working half days remote, we drove the three days back home.
  • My daughter started school again, the grade in which she has to compete for a spot in the magnate middle school.
  • I was chastised for something that is part of my job, and it pushed me past the breaking point. I issued a warning to my management that they needed to get a transition team in place. I then started a job search.
  • My husband interviewed for a government contracting position, three hours from home.
  • I interviewed at a client site for a consulting company, the first time I have done a client interview in 8 years.
  • My husband received a job offer.
  • I received a job offer, accepted and gave notice at my job.
  • My daughter started orthodontia treatment, leaving us scrambling for soft foods and ways to ease her discomfort.
  • We started looking for an apartment for my husband to live in Monday through Friday.

It’s been a time of upheaval and quick change.

And quick change means a lot of adjustment. Which means that I am undergoing a lot of stress.

Not that any of these things is bad. But even good change causes stress.

Here is how I am dealing with things.

Make A Plan

I am a big advocate of planning. But right now I am not likely to fly without one. I sit and plan every day the night before, just as I always have done.

There is one big difference. I plan only to do the minimal. I make sure that I do what is truly necessary, and plan other activities that are refreshing rather than taxing.

Listen To Your Body

I have been through stressful situations before where I failed to listen to what my body is telling me. This time, I am working on paying attention to what my body is telling me, and obeying.

It means I am sleeping more. It means that I am taking time to eat the healthy foods my body wants, rather than grabbing grease-laden food on the go in a quest to do more. It means I am taking longer showers and more baths as I relax. It means that I am reading more fiction. It means that I am writing less.

Write Down The Tasks That Fly Through Your Head

It’s good to write things down and get them out of your head, as a general rule. But for me, added stress means that tasks fly through at an even faster pace. It also means that if I don’t write it down, it will come back with even more of a vengeance than in normal.

When the things are running through my head, my stress level goes up. When I get things out of my head, I can actually calm down and bring my stress level down.

Know It Will Settle Down

Here’s the biggest thing that has helped…I know that things will settle down. Eventually things will be quieter. Life will return to a less stressful time. I know that things will work out with my mother’s health, my husband’s job, my new job, and being a single parent for most of the week. Things will work out for the best.

It’s a wild ride right now. But I’m just going with it, knowing that things will eventually quiet down.

BTW, since I made the decision to leave my job, even in spite of everything else that is going on, my symptoms of burnout are easing. Imagine that! :)

Photo by kevin dooley