When we go through hard things, it can be extremely difficult to take care of ourselves and fulfill our responsibilities. The problem is, our responsibilities don’t go away just because life gets hard. Here are seven tips for how to be productive during hard times.
Do you ever have those days where you’re so exhausted you’re not sure how you’re going to make it to bedtime? Or you’ve got so much on your plate you don’t know where to start and want to give up before you begin?
Maybe you’re dealing with depression and every step you take feels like you’re walking through mud. Or perhaps you just got life-altering news: job loss or sickness or death and you don’t know how you’re going to move forward.
We all go through hard times and sometimes it feels like we just can’t adult anymore. Life’s hard sometimes.
The problem is, when life gets hard, our responsibilities don’t just go away. Sometimes we have help, but other times we don’t. So here are some tips to tackle necessary tasks when you’re sure you can’t do anything at all:
1. Accept Bare Minimum.
Start eliminating to-dos. What actually HAS to get done? If you’re dealing with really bad depression, cut yourself some slack and order take-out an extra night per week. If you’re sick, don’t worry about ironing. Who irons anyway? 🤷😂
Use paper plates for a while to eliminate dishes. Make the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day to lessen decision fatigue. Lower your expectations for a clean house. Have your kids take a month or two off of extracurriculars.
Take a look at your life and narrow in on the basics. You’re in survival mode and that’s okay. You’ll be able to add more back in one day–it might not feel like it now, but the day will come. But for now, accept what you can do and let go of the rest.
2. Take One Small Step Forward.
Pick one thing that’s within your control and do that thing. Even if it’s really small, like taking a shower, scheduling an appointment, or unloading the dishwasher. Do one thing and let that be enough for now.
A small step forward is still a step forward!
3. Ask for Help.
Now look at the things still on your responsibility list. Is there anything that someone else can do for you? Really think about this.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to admit you can’t do it all. That doesn’t make you any less. You’re human, and right now, life is a little heavier than normal. Cut yourself some slack ❤️️.
See if your neighbor can pick up milk and bread for you at the store while she’s already there.
Ask a friend if she can watch your kids while you run an errand.
That neighbor girl who loves playing with your baby? See if she can come over for an hour to entertain your little one while you catch up on laundry and dishes.
Or, if you can spare the funds, hire some tasks out for a bit. Hire a one-time housecleaner. Spend a little extra to have your groceries delivered this week. Pay a babysitter so you can take a nap. Get creative.
4. Identify Tasks that Require Minimal Energy
Find some tasks on your to-do list that require very little mental or physical energy. Do these while you sit on the couch and give your body rest.
- Organizing photos on your computer or phone
- Reading emails
- Planning an upcoming event or vacation
- Paying bills online
- Calling or texting a friend
- Starting that book you’ve been putting off
- Spending some quality time with your kids or spouse
- Listening to a podcast
- Learning to handletter or draw
- Writing a thank you card
They may not be the most important tasks, but if you’re sitting on the couch anyway, this will help you feel like you’re accomplishing something.
5. Take Care of Yourself
When life gets hard, we oftentimes forget to take care of ourselves. Basics like remembering to eat or being able to sleep go out the window. But it’s important that we try our best to take care of our basic needs.
Have easy meals on hand, then, if necessary, set alarms in your phone to remind you to eat. Use lavender or melatonin to help you fall asleep, if you’re having trouble. Drink lots of water. Keep a gratitude journal. Put self-care at the top of your list.
Remember, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of the people around you. Self-care isn’t selfish. And when life gets hard, you need to remember to give yourself a little extra love.
6. Read or Listen to Something Uplifting
Is there something that makes you feel peaceful or calm? What’s that thing that every time you listen to it, life feels a little more manageable? Or that thing you read that makes you feel a little less alone? Read or listen to that.
Maybe it’s a scripture. Maybe it’s a Ted talk. Perhaps it’s a song or a podcast episode. Maybe it’s a religious talk. Or a book. Maybe it’s a stand-up comedy routine. Or an episode of a tv show.
Find that thing and do it. It won’t make everything better, but it might help.
7. Realize It’s Okay
It’s okay to feel like you’re struggling. It’s okay to admit life’s hard right now. It’s okay to fall behind on day-to-day tasks. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to breathe.It's okay to feel like you're struggling. It's okay to admit life's hard right now. It's okay to fall behind on day-to-day tasks. It's okay to rest. You're not a failure. You've got this. Click To Tweet
You’re not a failure. You’re not ruining your kids. You’re not a bad mom or wife or person.
This is a season. And it’s okay.
Step back and view yourself from the eyes of your child or your mom or your Father in Heaven–someone who loves you. Then try to see yourself the way they see you–like someone who’s trying their best. Recognize that your best right now is different than your best last week, and your best two years from now will be different too. But that doesn’t mean it’s not your best.
You’ve got this.
Tools in Your Toolbox
I hope you don’t need these tips right now. I hope they’re just new tools to add to your life toolbox. But if life’s extra tough right now, I hope at least one of these tips will help. You’re not alone, mama!
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