I think we can all agree that life is busy.
Even when it is a ‘quiet’ week, there is still loads that needs to be done.
Sometimes, life gets seriously crazy. There just seems to be something (or multiple things) happening everyday and even keeping up with the minimum seems like an impossibility some days.
Usually when life gets this busy – taking care of ourselves is one of the first things to go.
When we know that we have a busy week coming up, it can be helpful to plan ahead so that it takes some of the stress and pressure off us. It doesn’t need to be complicated or need to take a long time, just 15 minutes of planning can save such a huge amount of stress throughout the week.
Feeling like you have a bit of control over things can make such a difference to your mindset.
It things get busy, perhaps unexpectedly, and you don’t have time to plan ahead that is completely fine too. There are still so many ways you can take care of yourself without needing to plan.
Before we get stuck in, remember that nobody, regardless of what social media may have you believe, has it together all the time. Everyone gets frazzled, and stressed out and overwhelmed and that is totally okay (and normal!).
The point of this is to help you support yourself when things get busy – not to do things perfectly.
So let’s get stuck in…
Plan this important things
As tempting as it is to cram a million things on to your todo list to stop you feeling like you are falling behind – it isn’t actually helpful.
Especially when you don’t manage to cross anything off because it was such a busy day and it just makes you feel even more stressed and like you can’t keep up.
Take 5 minutes and make a list of the important things – the things with due dates and the things that HAVE to be done this week.
Like that form that has to be sent off by the 7th. Or that red top the kids have to wear to school on Friday that you still need to order. Or that bill that needs to be paid.
Cleaning the oven can wait.
Making this list doesn’t mean that that is all you are going to get done, but you are making sure that the IMPORTANT things are done, anything else you manage to get ticked off your list is a bonus and if you don’t get anything extra crossed off your list then it doesn’t matter because those things aren’t important this week and they will still be there next week.
There is nothing worse than being out all day or being non-stop all day and then 5pm comes around and you have no idea what to cook for dinner tonight.
While there is nothing wrong with grabbing a takeaway sometimes, having one multiple times in a week because it’s so busy isn’t going to allow you to feel your best or support you that well when you need all the support you can get!
So sitting down and making a meal plan for the week can be one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself when life gets busy.
- Keep it simple, pick simple easy to cook meals – a busy week isn’t the week to be trying out new recipes!
- Use your slow cooker if you have one – it can be a life saver on those very busy days!
- Batch Prep or Batch Cook – prepare a salad or chop your veg up ready, or cook over the weekend so that you don’t need to worry about it throughout the week. This isn’t something that works for me personally, but I know a lot of people swear by it!
- Use your meal plan loosely – make a list of all the meals you are going to make, get the ingredients but don’t decide on what you are cooking the next day until the night before. If you are the sort of person who’s food choices can be influenced by the weather or your mood that day this will suit you!
- Alternatively, use your meal plan rigidly. If there is a lot going on that means you may be out of the house a lot, or if you prefer more structure, it may be more helpful for you to have a specific plan for each day at the beginning of the week rather than going with the flow. For example, making a big roast dinner on an evening you know you won’t be home until 7pm is probably not the best idea but making that slow cooker meal you planned for the week on this day does make more sense.
Which leads me on to…
It can be tempting when there is a lot to do to skip meals to save time, but when life is busy we need a stable supply of energy and you are only going to achieve that by eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar balanced.
Work out your weak spot. If you have a tendency to skip breakfast – try making something the night before that is ready for you in the morning (e.g. overnight oats). There are loads of slow cooker breakfast bakes you can make too – have a look on Pinterest for some inspiration (feel free to follow me at the same time!)
If it’s lunch that you keep skipping, make some lunch for yourself the night before.
Make a pot of chopped fruit or veggies and hummus in the fridge (or whatever else you fancy) ready for snacking on in-between meals to stop you reaching automatically for the less nutritious choices because it’s easier to grab one of them.
Do as much as you can the night before
Think about how you can help your future self by doing some prep work the night before.
It doesn’t need to take long, but doing so will ease the pressure on you the next day.
Things you can do the night before:
- Pack bags ready
- Fill in any forms or paperwork ready for next day
- Make packed lunch
- Lay out clothes for the next day
I swear by this for making the school run mornings a bit easier.
If you want to know the secrets to a stress-free school morning you can read more by clicking the link.
Easier said than done, I know. It’s such an important one though.
Having enough sleep means that we are better able to cope with our stress level. I’m sure we have all been in the situation where we haven’t had enough sleep and end up as an emotional wreck over the slightest of things. So when our stress-level is higher than normal because life is busier than normal we need all the support we can get.
Having enough sleeps means that we have the emotional support we need to deal with whatever the next day throws at us.
Not getting enough sleep and having a too high stress level affects our hormones as well, and I don’t know about you but when I am busy and a bit stressed out the last thing I need is my hormones making things even more difficult!
Sleep, alongside balanced eating is what is going to keep your energy levels balanced and topped up throughout the day – so make it a priority!
However, sleep isn’t always that simple for everyone – whether it’s because it’s something that you actively struggle with or whether you have a baby or someone you care for for which means you wake throughout the night, you can still support yourself by making sure you are getting as much sleep as you possibly can.
I’ve got a post here all about how you can improve your sleep, even as a mum.
Drinking water has so many benefits – including putting us in a better mood, helping us think clearly and keeping our energy levels up.
If you don’t like water, try adding some chopped fruit or cucumber to your glass for a splash of flavour. Or even add some squash in there. The important bit is that you are drinking enough water.
If you are going out, fill a water bottle up and take it with you to make it easier and to save some money (and the environment) from buying bottles of water.
If you are in the house keep a glass of water topped up all the time on the worktop or on your desk – if it’s ready to be drunk you are more likely to drink it!
Prioritise time for yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Whatever it is that you love doing – whether that’s reading or running or journalling.
Find a bit of space to fit it in.
Feel like you don’t have any spare room to fit it in? Just find little mini chunks of time throughout the day to fit it in. Read one page instead of a chapter. Run for 1 mile instead of your usual 3.
Something is better than nothing.
A bit of tough love here too – while there is nothing wrong with scrolling instagram or playing with your phone, most of us are finding time to do that so replace that time with your book etc to recharge yourself.
I’m going to add this one in, even though if things are very busy you may not be able to fit this in.
But it is a definite mood booster, stress reliever and energy giver if you can fit it in.
However, if life is genuinely way too busy – don’t beat yourself up for not being able to fit it in – just try and fit it back in as soon as you can.
Remember a walk counts too.
Remember about your needs and reframe your mindset.
I bet when you leave the house with your kids, you make sure you have their drink, snacks, medication, medical equipment, a change of clothes.
You probably look like you are going away for the weekend sometimes when you leave the house.
You do this because you care about them. You don’t want to think about them being hungry or thirsty or wet or anything else whilst you are out.
But, what about you?
You are important too and you deserve to be taken care of, and it’s up to you to do it.
Make sure you pack yourself a snack. Make sure you have got a drink. Make sure you have whatever you need with you so that your needs are met.
If you aren’t taking good care of yourself, how are you going to take good care of your kids?
When things get crazy, aim for the basics and everything else is a bonus.