by Kate from Spouses in the City
Meal plans, family calendars, work schedules, TODO lists and home planning binders are just a few of the methods many of us use to organize our busy lives. Most of us are busier then ever, so planning is a necessity to keep a household running like a well-oiled machine. Controlled chaos seems to be the norm for most of us, but how do we deal with unexpected or last minute changes?
As a military spouse, I have learned to deal with unexpected twists and changes as if it were scheduled into my daily routine. Early on my coping skills were non-existent. Let’s be honest, everyday changes to your daily routine take some time to learn how to adapt. After three moves in three years, unpredictable work schedules, life changing often and an always unknown of where the Navy will send us next has taught me to be the type of person to just “roll with it”.
Whether you are military, non-military, single or married, life changes all the time. Here are my Top 6 “Roll With It” Rules that keep me sane and my family life happy, healthy and fun!
1) Just Plan It – Instead of waiting to see what the Navy throws my way or what life throws my way, I just plan it. Dinners, social activities, dates with my love, work, fitness activities, etc. Although we cannot control the outside factors of life, we can control OUR life. So, plan away and make those schedules. It’s the best way to stay sane and stress free.
2) Organize Your Life – Planning is one thing, but keeping your life organized is a monster you must master. I keep it very simple, but utilize tools that help keep me on track and organized without taking up a lot of my time. If you plan and are organized about it, life will run smoothly.
My Little Helpers
Weekly Cleaning Schedule
I like the simplicity of this one from Blooming Homestead.
Electronic or Paper Calendar
Organize your schedule/plans in your calendar & utilize the reminders setting
List & Brainstorming Notebook
I carry this notebook with me to jot down all the random ideas and TODO’s that pop into my head.
What’s for Dinner? Meal Planning
Find a meal planner that works for you. I like this folder that allows me to put printed recipes in the daily pockets and post-it notes with the page number of recipes I’m going to cook.
3) Have Your Moments – Day-to-day life will be much less stressful and chaotic when you plan and are organized. Unfortunately, “stuff” happens that is 100% out of your control. It can become too much to handle at times, so it’s ok to have a “moment”, tantrum or freak out. No one is perfect. Have your moment, let it out, lean on your family/friends and then you will find it’s much easier to cope with whatever is thrown your way.
4) Don’t Stress What You Can’t Control – Most of the “moments” or freak outs stem from stressing about what is out of your control. Therefore, you have to learn to just let it go. For example, the day gets away from you and no time to cook dinner? It’s ok! Order take-out or enjoy a visit to your favorite restaurant. Your kiddo’s doctor appointment is running behind and he or she is going to miss practice. It’s ok! Call the coach or one of the other parents and let them know your peanut won’t be at practice this evening. That’s it! You’re done and no need to stress. The list could go on and on with different scenarios that can throw a wrench in your daily routine. When you feel yourself getting stressed, ask yourself this question…what’s the solution? Often we dwell on the problem instead of taking a step back, thinking about the solution and fixing it. Let go of the things that you can’t control.
5) It’s OK to say NO – There is only so much we can accomplish in a day, week or month. As you set your schedule make sure you realistically look at how much you accomplish. Running a household, working, taking care of yourself and everyday life activities take up a lot of time. Don’t be afraid to say NO! Only say yes to social functions you genuinely want to attend or friends you want to spend time with. There is no need to say yes as a courtesy because you feel bad about saying no. Over committing is a huge reason people get overwhelmed. It’s OK to say no!
6) Surround Yourself with the Positive – Negativity will suck you dry! Yes, we all need to vent from time to time, but don’t surround yourself with people who are constant downers. Dealing with the unexpected and last minute changes of life is so much easier when you have a positive outlook. Your time is precious, so spend it with family and friends who make you smile, support you and have a healthy impact on your life.
I have learned a lot as a newer military spouse over the last two and a half years. I have made the mistake of getting sucked into the negative, throwing my hands up because I could no longer keep up with life, stressing over every little thing and freaking out because I couldn’t control what was out of my control. The positive from all this chaos is what I have learned from my mistakes. Six simple rules allow me to live a stress free, organized life, while enjoying the time I spend with my family and friends.
Cheers to living in the here and now!
Spouses in the City