The impossibility of a stress-free life

photo-390This has been a long week. My husband was in Nigeria. The baby has been sleeping poorly and, oddly enough, I have been too. The kids are just bored, which means there’s either screen time or fighting. Work has involved the feeling of spinning my wheels on a few things, which is frustrating since I simultaneously feel like there’s a lot I need to do. I think the interrupted sleep has a fair amount to do with that. We’ve been trying to get some additional help for the fall given that I will have an intense travel schedule, but after what seemed like progress I am back to square one.

When the annoyances stack up, it’s easy to be fatalistic. But I do know that no one is entitled to a stress-free life, and my “tough” is no where near what other people experience. So in situations like this, I try to do a few things.

1. Ask if there’s anything to be learned

Often the answer is “no.” Life is not lived in epiphanies, and stressful situations may not be resolved by making changes. However, I have made a few discoveries. My kids need to be in more weeks of camp next summer. I think they need at least a half day of structured activities to avoid going Lord of the Flies in the basement.

2. Prioritize self-care

I aim to be gentle on myself. I find exercise energizing, so I’ve made space for that. I try to go to bed early, though that’s not been easy. I let myself read mindless things.

3. Celebrate small moments

While everyone was gone the other day, I went in the pool solo for a bit. That was awesome, with the sun on my face and watching the butterflies in the butterfly bushes. I enjoyed taking my 5-year-old on a school bus orientation, with the added bonus of a fellow mom asking what I did for a living and then telling me she was going to be at one of my speeches this fall. I’ve had some nice snuggles with individual kids.

4. Look at the whole mosaic

You can have stressful weeks in a good life. I am doing work I love and have many other good things going on too. That counts for a lot.

What do you do to keep stressful weeks in perspective?

Photo: Sleeping. Just not at 4 a.m.!

2 thoughts on “The impossibility of a stress-free life

  1. Thanks. This is wonderful. Personally, I feel that staying in the moment, especially when things get heated, using meditation for example, is one of the best ways for me to handle these kind of weeks.

  2. Great post, Laura! I watch one of my favorite movies, something that makes me laugh out loud like Baby Boom or The Devil Wears Prada. It acts like a reset button and then I’m able to move on…with a smile on my face.

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