I have been a stress-ball for the last few days. I completely overcommitted myself, which I have a tendency to do.
Right now, my full-time job is dealing with a merger, so my regular workload has exploded. I’m doing a community theatre show, so that’s every weeknight from 7-9. I tutor twice a week. I have about ten hours a week of freelancing work to do. Plus I’ve got a few friends I’ve been playing phone tag with for weeks, I’m attempting to maintain a social life, I would like to actually get some exercise, oh and I keep intending to post on this blog again … all in all there’s a lot going on.
I often function at my best when I have to schedule every minute of my day (down to the shower). I love to-do lists, and I like it when my life gets complicated.
Stress, though, can make it really easy to spend extra money. You run out of time to cook, so you go out to lunch. You want some comfort, so you buy a super fancy coffee. You feel run-down, so you shop online for some cute new dress. You don’t have time to go home after work, so dinner is fast food. Or is any of that just me?
Limiting your spending is always about planning, but even more so when you’re under a lot of pressure. (Anyone reading this who happens to be a parent or work 80-hour weeks or something is laughing at me right now).
I knew this week was going to be tough, so over the weekend I prepped seven different crockpot meals (which will cook up to 3-6 servings each). All I have to do is yank them out of the freezer and put them in the crockpot, and then portion into tupperware for work lunches and speedy microwave dinners, all while being way cheaper and healthier than prepackaged food from the grocery store. I’ll go into more detail about what I made once I know they all actually turned out well.
In the afternoons, I make hot chocolate packets at work. It’s about fifty cents a cup instead of $5 for a mocha, and it gives me that treat I’m craving around 2:30.
I continue to take walks during my lunch break, so I can get some exercise in … except for those days when I don’t have time to leave, like today. Yuck.
I try to sneak in some social time, like a last-minute glass of wine with some friends after rehearsal yesterday. I’m an extrovert, so being with my friends totally recharges me. For other people, making time for an hour of Netflix might serve the same purpose.
Sometimes, I revert back to college-style and have a work party. On Sunday, I got coffee with a friend and did freelance work while she wrote a couple cover letters. We got to catch up and spend the time productively too.
A pb&j and a banana in my purse has prevented many a fast-food burger.
Personally, I know that watching my back account plummet at the same time as my mental energy bucket plummets would just leave me more stressed out. None of these are amazingly unique things that I do to take care of myself, but they help me handle rough weeks without going into the red.
What helps you stay balanced when you’ve got a lot going on?