Life can get nuts. So far this year, I’ve made a career change and started a new venture. We moved from a 2,400 sq. ft. house to a 1,000 sq. ft. condo. Spent 65 of the first 85 days of the year in and out of hospitals and rehab with an ailing parent. Two trips out of state to visit other aging parents. Gail went through hand surgery. Helped one son and his family move. Currently helping another son and his family prepare to move out of state—taking four of our five grandchildren, mind you!
And, yet, with the exception of a few rattled moments, we’ve been able to maintain our health and sanity.
You may be going through such a season right now. If not, you have and will again. Pregnancy. A new born child. A long-term illness of a family member. Moving. Changing jobs. Starting a business. A new school. We all face many such unstable times in our lives.
Gail and I have learned a few things that help keep us stabilized in times when seasonally imbalanced. And those things are transferable. We’ve had the chance to talk with numerous couples in the last few months making huge life changes. As we’ve shared these tips along with a healthy dose of encouragement, we’ve seen them keep their bearing as well.
7 Stabilizers For Unstable Times
- Focus on essentials. Go minimalist. It’s okay to scale back your lifestyle to the irreducible minimums. Get sufficient sleep. Eat regular but simple meals. Maintain time with your spouse and kids. Think sustainability. Keep it simple as possible.
Maintain your routine as best you can. Even if you have to scale back due to less time, keep some semblance of your norm. For example, my morning routine spans over two hours. But when push comes to shove, I can do a little bit of everything within thirty minutes. Not my norm but I preserve what I can.
Stay connected to your support network. We weren’t made to do life alone. There is life-sustaining power in close relationships with family and friends. Even medical research confirms the role of a loving support network in physical healing. Be on guard for the tendency to take out frustration and stress on those closest to you. You need them!
Recharge regularly. There are times we have to push, but you can’t continually put out without replenishing. Again, think sustainability. Make time—even just a few minutes— for things that help reduce stress and energize you. Five minutes of deep breathing or a short walk. Pray. Read your Bible and other inspirational books. A few minutes with a favorite hobby. A worship service. Things like these can be a welcome calm in the midst of a storm.
Laugh. A lot. When things go wrong—and they often do in seasons of imbalance—don’t freak out. Laugh it off. It may not be super funny now but probably will be later on when you think of it—if you even remember it at all. Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff, is a powerful message in just the title alone.
Call for help when necessary. If things do, however, get to the place where you can’t see even a glimmer of a brighter side, call for help. Don’t be too proud—be smart. Let someone you trust help shoulder the load. Whether it’s just a few minutes to vent, to pray, or reach out for help with the kids, do it. And be quick to pay it forward when you have the chance to help someone else.
Remember—this, too, will pass. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. When you’re in these seasons, it’s hard to see anything else. But, it is a season. Stay focused on what’s before you today and stay the course.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are good reminders for all of us when life goes sideways. You don’t have to be a victim. You can stay healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically even though imbalanced.
Question: What stabilizes you during seasons of imbalance? Share your answer in the comments below.