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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Robin Delany's Top 10 Tips for Surviving Unexpected Life Changes


In one short month, my life has changed immensely. First, I sent my son off to Pre-Kindergarten classes, which I haven’t been able to leave him alone in since. We’ve discovered he has trouble with social communication. We’ve started a gluten free, casein free diet to help him with focus and social skills. And this month I signed with an agent, the wonderful Deidre Knight, and have been working to prepare my series for submissions.

So much change in such a short time has made me go into survival mode, so I thought I would share my top ten tips for surviving life changes, in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

10 – Don’t sweat the little things. Forget dusting, cleaning corners, mopping if the floor doesn’t need it, and other unimportant things. At least for a little while, no one will notice if your ceiling fan blades have gathered a little dust. And if they do, tell them they are welcome to clean them themselves, which will either shut them up or get you a clean fan. ;)

9 – Take advantage of conveniences. I’m big on making fresh food, soap, dishwashing detergents, etc. When life throws too many balls into my juggling, however, I try to remember that my time is the most valuable things. I park closer to the store, I take the elevator, I freeze   leftovers for lunches, and I buy the premade gluten free pizza dough.

8 –Make a list. Decide what is most important and write a list you can look at each day. Or get a list app for your phone, if you’re a techie. (For example, number 1 might be spend quality time with husband and kids, and number 2 might be finishing the presentation for work.) 


7 – Prioritize. Now that you have your list, set aside blocks of time for the most important things. (For example, you might decide that the hour after dinner is family game time, which takes care of number 1 on your list. Then you might decide that you’ll spend two hours on Saturday afternoon finishing number 2. Keep doing this until your day is nearly full. Be sure to leave a little spare time in between for incidentals and bathroom breaks. lol)

6 – Laugh. Laughter has been proven to reduce stress levels and increase happiness, so find a reason to indulge.

5 - Be with the people you love. They can give you a reason to laugh, and like laughter, taking a few moments out of the day to spend with those you love will increase your happiness and reduce your stress. So hug the kids, your significant other, your best friend, your mom, whoever makes you happiest. (In fact, studies show that showing gratitude can increase happiness, so while you’re at it why don’t you thank them for being the person who makes you happiest.)

4 – Don't forget to pamper yourself a little. As women, especially, we tend to forget ourselves when other people need us. Taking a few minutes with a bubble bath, bottle of wine, or a good book can really make a world of difference with outlook. If you get twenty minutes in the bubble bath, with a glass of wine and a good book, the idea of losing an hour sleep and meeting a seemingly impossible deadline will seem far more feasible.

3 - Eat! Another thing we women tend to do when we’re taking care of others is forget the basics of our own care. Sometimes we can’t help not sleeping, but we have to eat. Not eating can mess with your blood sugar levels, make you grumpy, and reduce levels of healthy vitamins, which can lead to depression and a general sense of not being able to do what we have to do. When my son started Pre-K, I lost 7 lbs in a week. While I’ve got about 30lbs of baby weight to lose from my youngest, so it didn’t hurt me to lose it, I also lost vital vitamins and wasn’t running as well as I could have, had I fed my body. Doing the things on this list has helped me get my eating under control. After all, my car might be able to run on empty, but probably not for too long.

2 – Ask for help. The people in your life love you. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. If you explain the situation, what you need from them, and a rough timeframe, no one will begrudge you a little help. Okay, so most people won’t begrudge you a little help. :P

And my number one piece of advice for surviving several life changes in a short time is...

1 – Don’t beat yourself up. If you can’t get the dishes done, or if you have to let the laundry basket fill up, don’t get down on yourself. There will be time for that. Besides, didn’t you just ask for help? Maybe that helpful person can do a load of laundry.

So there you have it. Those are my top 10 ways I deal with unforeseen and abundant changes. I’d love to hear your advice too.

How do you cope with multiple life changes all at once?


9 comments:

  1. Great tips, Robin. I'm a tried-and-true list maker. That helps me not feel so overwhelmed, even if there are lots of things on the list. I also use humor to cope with most everything in life. And just being with my peeps (hubby, kids, extended family, friends). When I'm in that circle of support, everything feels more manageable.

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    1. Humor is such a great coping device. Whether I'm standing in line at the DMV, or calling back the gas company after waiting on hold for 20 minutes just to be hung up on, I find I rely on humor to keep me from going nuts. lol.

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  2. Lists have become my new necessity. Born of menopause brain, I think. Or just general too-much-too do.

    Asking for help is becoming a new one, too, but the troops around here are balking a bit. :-)

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    1. I love lists. I've got ADD, though, so if I didn't make lists, I don't think I'd get anything done. :D

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  3. Great post. First of all Congratulations Robin! So exciting for you signing with an agent! I never have a problem forgetting to eat (part of my problem) and as for the dusting, cleaning, yeah, that falls under not sweating the small stuff and prioritizing! My biggest support comes from the wonderful people in my critique group and the other authors who have become such good friends.
    I look forward to reading your books!

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    1. Thanks Nancy. I love the support my crit partners and author friends offer. When I'm crazy stressed, I can shoot an email off and they always say the best things and have helpful ideas for solving the problem. I'm so happy I've met so many great authors, both in person and online, that I am blessed to call friends.

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  4. First of all, congratulation, Robin! I cope with life changes via yoga, cardio and my friends! To keep one step ahead of the frazzle I make tons of to do lists!

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    1. Thanks Julie. I love physical exercise as a stress reliever. I'm a Zumba fan, and some days I just need to turn on a tape and get dancing.

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  5. Awesome list! I agree with all of the points you made and I like "laugh" the best :) Congrats on signing with the Knight Agency!

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