A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Friday, 16 August 2013

How to Stay Sane in a Busy World

Is it just me, or is life getting more stressful?

And why does nothing seem to go right first time?

We get subjected to inane pre-recorded messages before getting put through to a human and are forced to remember passwords and PIN numbers for everything. From printing off documentation, to reading our own meters - the list is endless.

I'm sure life used to be simpler...

I can't remember my parents burning the midnight oil in an attempt to keep up with everything that was expected of them. But to be fair that was back in the 70s and early 80s before computers and mobile phones were widely available and parenting was so laid back it was almost horizontal.

Meanwhile, I have a 'To do' list that looks like a copy of War and Peace and there are days when I can't bear to look at it. I'm certain for every two things that are crossed off at least three more appear.

My twin daughters received their A-level results yesterday. It was all good news and they'll be leaving for universities a mere eight hours apart in approximately six weeks time. We couldn't be happier. Life is about to take a new and exciting direction and that's good. Consequently, I have a new and very large shopping list.

Mr A and myself find ourselves part of the sandwich generation - having both children and parents that require increasing amounts of support. It all adds to the heady mix of chaos.

As a child I remember craving to be part of the adult world, but now there are days when I no longer want to be a grown-up. I'm tired of domesticity and lists, and wonder what life would be like without them? The only time I ever get a glimpse of the real me is on holiday.

I refuse to be available twenty-four-seven, does that make me a bad person I wonder? I used to have an incredibly stressful job that required me to available around the clock and now I just can't do it. I feel frazzled and worn out and crave time off for good behaviour.

Over the years we've developed coping strategies for when life just gets too much...
  • A mantra - the theory is that if you say it often enough you'll start to believe it. Mine is -  'It's OK I'm a grown-up I can deal with this.' Feel free to borrow it if you wish.
  • Just take one day at a time and don't think about tomorrow.
  • Drink wine, it helps. Although only a glass, or two.
  • Watch a film - funny ones are best. We love Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Furry Vengeance
  • An iPod session - plug in the iPod, blot out the world and dance all over the house.
  • Lose yourself in a good book.
  • Talk to the family pet. Ours is a very good listener and doesn't judge. She also dishes out the most lovely hugs.
  • Keep a secret stash of good quality chocolate for emergencies.
  • Turn off computers and mobiles and let the answerphone take the strain. Although this is getting trickier with elderly parents. We've told them to leave messages on the house phone and Mr A's mobile if there's a crisis and we'll always respond ASAP.
  • Bach Rescue Remedy - surprisingly effective when you're in meltdown.
  • Spend some time outside every day and take a multivitamin with minerals to keep you healthy.
  • Try and think of five things that have made you happy (even if it's been a really rubbish day). These can be simple things like hearing a favourite song on the radio, chatting to a friend, or hugging your child.
I can't help but wonder if the pace of life will ever slow down, but it's healthy to have some coping strategies in the meantime. Be nice to yourself, sometimes you're all you have to rely on.

What does everyone else do to stay sane I wonder?

Copyright © 2013 Izzie Anderton


  1. how fantastic that they both did well! i love your coping strategy!

    Thanks for linking up with #PoCoLo x

    1. Thanks Jaime, I'm so happy they both passed!

  2. Thanks for these tips, though I can't do many of them because of my little toddler! It's interesting, your description of the 'sandwich generation'. I'm sure it adds a lot of pressure on your day-to-day life.

    1. Always hard to find a minute's peace with a toddler!! Good luck x

  3. What a great list, I really needed to read this today - feeling somewhat frazzled! I'm off to find my Rescue Remedy and my head phones :) #PoCoLo

    1. Thanks Sara - hope you're feeling less frazzled!!

  4. You are so right. I was just thinking how the only thing I really wish for myself is quiet. Of the good kind. Not of the "the kids are doing something they know they shouldn't" kind.
    I have to say, when I am in a bad place - turn off every electronic device except the TV. Kick everyone out of my room, close the door and watch as many episodes of all the shows I love bit din't have time to watch. Eat the good chocolate (or any chocolate). Just try to not think.
    Loved your post :) x

    1. Whatever helps you to stay sane is all good.
      Thanks for commenting x

  5. The other day I volunteered to wake my son via a phone call at 5:30 a.m. so he could start his trip home. I went to bed early that night, only to have the eldest DD text me after 11:00 p.m. because she was rattled. My husband doesn't understand why I don't just turn my cell phone off, and I respond with we don't turn the land line off, it may be an emergency. Back in the days, if the phone rang after 11:00 p.m. you knew someone died, now it just our stressed kids calling. What do you do? It's a different world now.


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