We all go through times in our lives when we're in “survival mode”. Whether it's a life change such as moving or a new baby, illness, or a busy season with a job, those crazy, stressful times come upon all of us. When you're going through a “survival mode” season, you might wonder if you're going to make it through with your sanity, or perhaps even your marriage, intact.
My personal “survival mode” as of late has been caused by my health problems. Add to the chronic fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, dizziness, brain fog, and digestive issues an unexpected pregnancy (Surprise! That was an announcement!) and you can understand why I spend a lot of my days in the bed. Three kids 5 and under with their mommy in the bed is a recipe for disaster!
Here's how I'm surviving my “survival mode” season. I hope these ideas will be of help to you next time your life is crazy and stressful.
This is hard for me, and I'm sure it's hard for most people. It's embarrassing to let someone see your messy house, let alone allow them to clean it for you. You feel badly letting someone else trouble themselves to cook your supper or watch your kids for you. But if people want to help – let them! They want to be a blessing, so allow them that opportunity.
Don't get upset if you're not serving your usual home cooked meals for supper. Let everyone eat sandwiches, be happy they have something in their belly, and leave it at that. You may be running clothes through the washer and dryer and never getting them folded. If you have to live out of the laundry basket for a while, don't sweat it. Just be glad everyone has something to wear. Your house will not be spotless. Accept that fact, do what you can, and don't worry about the rest.
Make everything as easy as possible for yourself. Remove everything from your schedule that is not absolutely essential. Use paper plates at meals. If you're in the bed and you have small children, try to keep everyone confined to the same room. This will save the house from getting torn apart by curious little hands. Occupy the kids with videos or activities they can do themselves (coloring books, puzzles, etc.)
Whether you're suffering from illness or are just extremely busy, most people can carve out one 15 minute cleaning session each day. Set the timer for 15 minutes and straighten the house as quickly as you can, starting with whatever area is bothering you the most. If you absolutely can't do 15 minutes, try to do just 5. You'll still be surprised how much can get done!
When you're not feeling well, the house is falling apart, and you feel like a lousy wife and mother because you can't keep up with everything, it is easy to start feeling depressed. Make it a priority to spend time with the Lord each day (the joy of the Lord is my strength!) Find other ways to cheer up the atmosphere of your home. Raise the windowshades and let in some sunlight. Clean one room thoroughly, shut yourself in away from the rest of the mess, and enjoy the view! Turn on some uplifting music. Count your blessings and focus on the positive.
How do you survive when life seems crazy? Please share your ideas!
You may have been wondering if I was ever going to finish this series! There just always seemed to be something else that I needed to post!
I ended part 5 by telling you that things were going extremely well. We were eating healthier meals. Our grocery budget was lower than it had been in a long time, and I was ready to settle into this well-balanced plan for the long haul.
However, around that time I realized that the extreme fatigue I was experiencing was not going away. In fact, I began getting worse. I would have to sleep 10 – 12 hours at night just to function the next day. I could do the basics of feeding and taking care of the kids, but by their naptime I was shot.
I decided that since the doctors weren't really doing much to help me, I was going to have to try to take things into my own hands.
My healthy eating must not be enough, I decided.
I determined that store-bought meat, produce, and dairy products must not be giving me the nutrition I needed.
I began purchasing all of these products from local farmers. Our grocery budget doubled, but my husband and I decided that in the balance between time, money, and health, our health had to hold more weight. (Plus, even with a doubled grocery budget, we were still only spending a maximum of $400 a month. That's still not bad for a family of 5 eating organic, local food!)
I bought organic whole wheat flour and oats in bulk. I began making our own bread and making oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
I began making the drive 30 minutes away to pick up raw milk from a local farmer.
It was summer, so I was purchasing produce in bulk and canning, drying, and freezing things so that we could have healthy food available through the winter.
I drove hither and yon to get clean meat from whoever happened to have it available that week.
I read and read and read articles about how bad this ingredient is for you, and how good this food is for you. I turned up my nose at certain items that I used to toss into my grocery cart without a thought.
I did all of this while I was still suffering from the extreme fatigue.
Soon, I was absolutely overwhelmed. And tired. Just plain ol' tired. I couldn't keep up with the pace of living like this. I was torn. I wanted to keep toxins out of my body and put only the good things in, but it was so much work, and I just didn't have the energy!
It wasn't long before my husband's diet was worse than it had ever been. The kids and I would scrounge up some cheese, yogurt, nuts, and whatever few healthy foods we had that didn't require any work. I stopped cooking substantial dinners because I didn't have the energy to prepare it, but I didn't want to go back to the store-bought foods either. My poor husband was hungry all the time. He'd buy chemical-laden sausage biscuits at work for breakfast and get a candy bar out of the vending machine for lunch. My healthy living plan was backfiring big time.
We had some talks, and I had to agree with my husband that I definitely had not achieved that delicate balance of time, money, and health.
We made some decisions and came up with a plan that would work for our family's particular situation.
Next week will be the final post in this series, and I will share with you what that plan is.
(In the meantime, I will tell you that all of that nutrition I was trying to get into myself was not doing making me feel any better because I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. All the thyroid-boosting things I was eating were being blocked by the disease. I'm going to a specialist in Atlanta this week to start a program to try and help me overcome it.)
Tell me your thoughts! Where is your family on your healthy living journey? Have you ever tried to be so healthy that it backfired on you?