*I received a copy of Stretched Too Thin for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. In addition, this post contains Amazon affiliate links which earn this site a small commission.
Last year this time I was having a difficult time mentally and physically. I had a lot going on between work, the kids, my husband, and our home life. I was constantly aggravated and snappy, stressed to the point where I couldn’t think straight and tired beyond measure. Looking back, I now realize I was stretched too thin and didn’t even realize it.
What made this time in my life particularly frustrating was no matter how changed my eating and drinking habits and tweaked my night time routine I was still tired. Every day after I dropped the kids off at school I would come home and sleep all day. Mind you, this was supposed to be the time I should have been working uninterrupted. After all, I had waited two years after my first kid started school for my second to begin kindergarten. This should have been an exciting and fruitful time for my business. But instead of it flourishing, it floundered. Shit was bad and I was a minute from snapping.
In hindsight, I can see how my actions got me in a predicament where I would become stretched beyond my limits. If I hadn’t tried to do too much which ultimately left little time for family, friends or myself I could have avoided feeling like I was on the cusp of having a nervous breakdown.
What does it mean to be stretched too thin?
The meaning is simple, you have too much going on but not enough time to accommodate any of it. You know what this looks like, you and your family’s schedule is packed from sunrise to sunset. Most days you don’t know if you’re coming or going. You end up at one place thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s really Thursday and you should be across town. And as a result, you’re in a constant state of frustration and fatigue.
Now the easy thing to say is, well stop piling on so much shit. And that’s true. But you see, I didn’t realize I had taken on so much. I didn’t stretch myself thin overnight. Nah, son. I was doing it without realizing it. One too many extra projects here, taking the kids there, on top of keeping my house in order as a stay at home mom and trying to be a halfway decent wife. By the time I realized what was happening to me it was too late. Shit had already spiraled out of my control.
How I regained control of my life
The first thing I did was say no to every request in my inbox. This was not something that I was used to doing cause if I thought I could do it I would. Which was my number one problem. I needed to realize just because I could it didn’t mean I should. After that, I went into my inbox at all my pending things and told folks it was gonna take longer than promised due to overextending myself. Thankfully, I work with nice people who understood and sympathized with me as they too have been in my shoes.
With projects completed and my whole schedule clear going forward I needed to make sure that I prioritized my family and myself above all else. Instead of working 7 days a week I cut it down to three – four tops. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my personal days. Monday too if I could swing it. The impact of this new schedule was a game changer. I no longer felt overwhelmed or exhausted and I had more time for me. It also made my family happy cause I was fully present. Things were looking up and I couldn’t be more excited for lay ahead for me.
How do you avoid finding yourself in a similar situation?
I’m telling you right now you don’t wanna end up like me and how I was last year. You don’t want to walk around in a state of heightened stress all the time yelling at your family for every little thing cause you’re tired and can’t think straight. It’s no way to live. So when I knew I had to make a change this is what I did to pull myself back together:
Plan shit out
I have never been a planner but over the last year, I’ve come to realize how important planning is. I used to think it was silly, now I don’t make a move without checking my calendar. This is a great way to keep yourself from having too much going on at once. You can look ahead to see if it makes sense for you to add on another activity or project, and it also shows if you need to remove things. Simply put, planning keeps you balanced.
It’s okay to say no
There is no rule that states you have to do everything. You don’t, and you shouldn’t, because you can’t. Don’t put your mental, emotional and physical health on the back-burner for nothing and no one.
Make time for you and your loved ones
When you’re being pulled in so many different directions it leaves very little time to enjoy being around those whom you love and care about. Now that you’re planning out your schedule and learning to say no you’ll see how much free time you have. Use that time to reconnect with family and friends, and most importantly, yourself. You’ll notice those around you will appreciate that you’ve not only have taken the initiative to spend time together but that you’re also present enjoying the moment creating meaningful long-lasting memories.
Get Jessica Turner’s newest book Stretched Too Thin
I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s since her first book release Fringe Hours. I considered it my favorite self-care book, that is until I read her newest release, Stretched Too Thin. Reading this book following one of the most stressful year’s of my life helped me fully understand the depths of what I put myself through, the negative impact it had on those around me and to see how far I’ve come since then.
What makes this book special is the fact that it doesn’t read like a book at all. It’s more of a manual and in it, Jessica gives you the tools to: work and parent guilt-free, invest in your marriage and friendships, establish home and work boundaries, and home management solutions – just to name a few.
What separates this book from other self-care books is that Jessica isn’t suggesting or sharing shit that she hasn’t done or gone through. You can tell as you read or listen along that she knows and understands the struggle a lot of us moms face and is committed to helping us find solutions that will not only be beneficial to us but to our families as well.
But my favorite aspect is the journal like reflection section at the end of each chapter. This allows you to dig deep to identify areas of your life that may be stressful or problematic and improve those areas using the tips laid out within the chapter.
While it took me less than a week to read it’s a book that I will keep handy to refer back to as often as necessary to ensure I don’t end up back in the space I was a year ago. For this reason alone it makes Stretched Too Thin worth the read.