Over the past month or so it’s been a bit hectic here. First, is the realization my kids are going to be out of school in early June and my next book is not even close to done yet. So I’ve been working extra hard, waking up before 5 and going all day. Then there’s the end-of-the-year activities and planning summer. When you add it all up, it equals much more stress than usual. Instead of throwing my usual healthy habits out the window, I make some adjustments. Here are 7 of the most effective:
1. Plan super easy dinner meals
Although my dinner rotation works great for busy weeks, for those extra crazy work-like-a-dog weeks, I simplify to my 5 easiest dinners.
Quesadillas (or turkey tacos, but quesadillas produce fewer dishes)
Spaghetti and meatballs with a strawberry spinach salad (easiest salad in the world!)
Grilled turkey burgers (or chicken) with veggie kabobs
Baked salmon with starch (like potato or mac and cheese), Ceaser salad kit from TJs, fruit
2. Make a batch of frozen burritos and waffles
Easy lunches and breakfasts are key. I find that if I take some time to make big batches, we have easy meals. Two of my favorites are bean and cheese burritos and homemade blueberry waffles. For the waffles, I simply double the recipe and store in the freezer so kids can grab and put in the toaster.
Now that I have an instant pot, making the beans for my burritos is easier and faster. Basically, I saute 3-4 minced garlic cloves with 1/3 cup olive oil. Then I add a pound of dried pinto beans mixed with 5 1/2 cups water and a bay leaf. I cook on high for 45 minutes and allow it to slow release. Then I add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. I drain some liquid in a cup and start to mash, adding more liquid as needed. When it’s done I combine the beans with cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.
Then, when it’s time to break for lunch, I just put in the microwave for about 1 minute each side (the smaller burritos take less time). We usually eat these with salsa, sliced avocado, and sliced apples.
3. Super early bedtime
Instead of spending time with my husband after the kids go down or trying to get more done, I typically opt to just go to bed early. Knowing how important getting sleep is and how much more productive I am early in the morning, I give up my evenings for that extra sleep I know I need (now, I don’t always do this but when I don’t, I regret it!).
4. Be flexible with exercise
Although some days I miss structured exercise, I make a point to fit it in because it’s an important way that I self-regulate. So I plug in time for an easy run or quick gym workout instead of a class. And I always go for walks during the day.
5. Let the house go
6. Revisit deadlines
As it became clear that I wasn’t going to get my book done by the times my kids were out of school, I adjusted my deadline. Now, instead of a summer release, I’m looking at end of summer/beginning of school publish date. I already feel better.
I also decided to take some time off from blogging and Facebook because I just need a break (starting today). I will be back up and running in a few weeks. And I can only let the house go for so long.
7. Remember Rule #6
Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.'” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”
“There aren’t any.”
Since reading this amazing book, I remind myself of Rule #6 often — and it works! It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday stresses and let your reaction to them ruin your day. So there’s traffic when you’re already late or you forget that essential ingredient you need at the grocery store. Just by saying Remember Rule #6, I instantly feel at ease because it reminds me of what’s really important.
How do you keep sane (and healthy) when life gets crazy?