The past few weeks have been a little crazy here at home; we are remodeling part of the house, we are living in our child’s playroom, she is in a large theater production with lots of rehearsals, I have been drafted into working backstage during the production handling fly ropes, and I am working during the day at home trying my best to breathe in as little drywall dust as possible (not doing too good on that one). In the midst of trying to manage or at least maintain the illusion of being on top of all of that, I have learned a couple of helpful habits to bring some semblance of organization and predictability in the face of complete chaos.
1. Lists, Lists, Lists: Empty your head at all times and at any time. If it is not written down, it cannot be crossed off as being accomplished or delegated. This may not seem important, but at 2am when you cannot fall asleep because there is something you are trying to remember you will greatly appreciate the comfort a list (or lists) can provide.
2. Schedule Escapes: The continual pace of frenetic activity can quickly become a soul-sucking stressor over time beyond the actual events occurring at that tempo. Carve out regular times through out the week that you can look forward to as mini-escapes from the din and density of everything else going on; a workout, a long shower, 30-minutes with Alton Brown, whatever you lifeboat may be, guard its priority and status with maximum effort.
3. Go with the Flow: Not even the melded powers of the Justice League would be able to control chaos like this, so let go of trying to do so. Going home after rehearsal is what’s important, not what time it actually happens. Shooting to be done with the remodeling by a certain date is optimistic, not scheduling anything happening in the house until two more weeks after that is realistic.
4. Eat Right (for you): Not gonna go down the healthy eating highway here, you’re already under enough stress as it is. Nope, just be smart in eating right … for you. If grazing on greens is what makes you smile — go for it! If it’s a juicy hamburger, then, by all means, enjoy! This is not an excuse to go off the reservation and binge on fast food. It’s to aid you in managing the number of stressors you are dealing with. Besides, with all the other angst on your plate, your metabolism is already amped up so a few extra calories won’t make that much of an impact on your waistline. Double down and consider mealtime an “escape” to enjoy something you actually enjoy eating. Just be smart and avoid fatty foods or carbs late at night or you won’t be following tip #5 below.
5. Rest, Rest, Rest: The best weapon for dealing with stress is enough rest the night before to not let that stress get to you. Hold off on that second glass of wine or beer after dinner. Bourbon has important medicinal values, so it gets a pass on that one. Let the DVR stay up late so you can watch it at your leisure that weekend. And refer back to #1 to ensure a fair shot at an uninterrupted good night’s sleep.
Not saying that this is a perfect or even optimal approach. It’s just one that has been working well for me — most of the time. But if anyone has thoughts on how I can safely and permanently expel this dry wall dust from my nasal cavity, I would be most appreciative.