Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finding Calm Amidst the Chaos

Greetings and happy Wednesday everyone!  I am back from my trip to Charlotte.  It was a great trip, but as always, it felt good to return home.  Honestly, my life feels extremely chaotic right now, mostly due to all of the traveling I am doing for work.  In fact, last week I woke up during the night and a) I wasn't sure where I was, and b) I had to think hard to figure out what day it was...  My apartment is spotless these days, the fridge is empty, and it looks un-lived in because I am not around to mess it up!  I like the spotless part, but would love for my fridge to magically fill up with meals to bring to work for lunch!

I knew this crazy time was coming, but I will say the amount of traveling I am doing is even more than what I expected as a result of my previous boss leaving.  But now is my time to shine at work and prove that I can handle whatever it is that they throw at me.  So I am trying to keep a smile on my face, which is challenging at times - like when I found out I do have to take ANOTHER licensing exam for work (by Nov 30th) or that I have to go to Charlotte the Wednesday-Friday of the week of my marathon.  I was not happy about that.  It's not the end of the world, but work trips are exhausting and I want to go into race day feeling rested and ready to perform, so that is going to be a bit tricky.

It's only natural for us all to have seasons of our life that are so busy and test us.  I feel this way during CFA study season for different reasons, but going through 2 study seasons has helped me handle these chaotic seasons of life.   So here are some things that I do to find calm amidst the chaos.

1.  Make time to attend weekly mass.  No matter what is going on in my life, I make time to go to mass on Saturday night or Sunday.  I am not super open about my faith on here, but I am a practicing Catholic
 and going to mass really seems to center me and I always walk away with a sense of peace.

2.  Reading for pleasure.  I sometimes feel like I should be reading articles for work or reviewing my slides for a presentation when flying for work, but I give myself permission to read a novel for pleasure.  Reading is such an escape for me, and it makes the plane rides fly by.  As you will see, I have read  A LOT of books this month and that has helped me stay sane.  I make sure to read for pleasure when I am studying for the CFA, too, as I need the lighter reading to offset the intense study materials!

3.  Exercise.  This is tough to fit in when I am traveling so much as the days get long, but I try to keep up with my runs and I try to get out of the office and take a walk to grab lunch at noon.  Feeling the sun on my skin and breathing fresh air sort of 'resets' me during the day and gives me some energy to tackle the second half of the day.  And the endorphins from running really seem to help me stay more calm!

4.  Make time to talk to my parents or a friend.  Honestly, I hate talking on the phone.  But my parents don't live near me, so unless I pick up the phone, I'm not going to hear their voices.  I try to check in with them once a week, especially during really busy phases of my life as it lightens my mood and calms me to hear their voice.  My dad called me out of the blue when I was at the airport on the way back from Chicago just to see how I was feeling and to let me know he was thinking of me, and that call meant SO much to me.  I need to be the one initiating those calls, too!

5.  Cook.  This is one area of my life that has really suffered as a result of all the traveling since most of my travels require me to leave on Sunday.  But when I do have a free weekend evening to myself, I try to make something delicious that will yield leftovers for the week.  For whatever reasons, the act of chopping up veggies and other ingredients is so soothing for me and I just love being the kitchen!  

So that is what I do to say sane.  I am also trying to remind myself that I wanted a fast-paced, challenging career, so I can not complain because I am getting what I asked for.  Sometimes I feel like I am juggling the "balls" of work, running, being a friend/daughter/sister/aunt whilst walking a tight rope, and I am dangerously close to dropping one of those balls, but I just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

What do you do to find calmness during chaotic times?

26 comments:

Sue @ SimonsSistaSaw said...

I was just thinking last night as I chopped vegies for the week ahead how meditative it is. Reading, fresh air and some semblence of a routine seem to ground me during the busiest of times. Baking as well is really calming for some reason. Good luck with the rest of your travel period and I hope you enjoy.

CharisFaith said...

I love that you are making sure to do things to take care of you that is so important!!! I know life is crazy but I also know that you know how to dial it back when you need to. So glad I got to see you!!!! HUGS!!!!!

Caroline said...

Best of luck with everything! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate! The only thing I'd add to your list for me is focusing on sleep. Sleep is like the magical ingredient for me

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I definitely can relate to these feelings and I'm thankful that in the summer I can focus more on the being a friend/daughter/sister aspect but then when the school year starts again I always feel guilty for not being nearly as good at it haha.

Anyway, I don't go to church these days but in college I used to go with friends because I just found it to be really a calming way to start the week. So I get that too.

Gracie said...

I totally know what you are going through! There are times at work when I just need a break from being awesome but I can't because of timing. Like my performance review being yesterday after an insane week of business and projects. It seems like big contracts or people to impress only come up when you're already swamped. I know you're handling it like a pro, though! All your ideas are smart and will build in balance. I also make sure I go to church, exercise, read, and cook - those are like the basics!

Mandy said...

I think your rituals for finding calm amid the choas are great ones. Especially going to mass. Its something that's really important to you and when you find something that brings you peace, hold on to it.

You are completely rocking all this traveling.

Lisa-Marie said...

You are a trooper, and you are showing them that. It is simply important that you do take time out.

Cooking is one for me - it's a sign that there is too much going on if I don't cook. Reading too, but actually i like just sitting in the quiet with a hot drink and thinking. I guess it might be the same as some part of what you get from mass.

missris said...

Exercising and getting enough sleep are KEY for me. If one of those two things fall by the wayside I turn into kind of a mess!

Marlys said...

You are doing a great job of handling the stress! I applaud the order that you have listed here as making time for God is so important in dealing with the stresses of life! Having to travel the week of the marathon is going to be really tough, so I do hope you can handle that situation, but somehow, I know you will!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Awesome post, Lisa, because I see a lot of myself (10 years ago) written here. =) These days, my life chaos is very different. It involves trying to communicate with and understand a toddler. It involves trying to wrap up work in a tidy little bundle, so I can spend afternoon/evening time with my not to tiny and definitely not tidy bundle of a son. The chaos in my life requires me to focus on time management, prioritize what I can and can't do and be flexible with the things I absolutely need to do (example: exercise for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at lunch, rather than an hour at once).

Stephany said...

You are such a busy bee but I think these goals are so good at helping you keep work at work and keep your time YOUR TIME. It's so important, especially with a career like you have when you really need downtime. Here's to a happy Fall! Let's hope one of those traveling trips brings you to Orlando? ;)

Nora said...

Love that your dad called you; I am pretty sure you have awesome parents. =)

It's so important to find ways to sane especially with all that you have going on lately!

abbi said...

I am not jealous of all that travelling, it completely stresses me out. But, when I'm stressed exercise, reading and spending time with the animals is what I enjoy the most. I go in phases with cooking, sometimes it's great sometimes it's the last thing I want to do!

Amber said...

So important to have things that keep us sane during busy times! I feel really busy and chaotic lately too so I should copy this post idea :)

Some thing that keep me sane:

- Taking mental health breaks of 5-10 minutes in the middle of the work day (read blogs, go to get coffee or go for a walk). Lately my work is really fast paced and I usually always have something (or multiple things) on the go so taking these little breaks helps center me and keep me productive!

- yoga!!!

- allowing myself at least one morning a week to sleep in! This is especially important right now since I'm going to yoga or running a lot in the early morning hours to fit it all in!

Journey Authentically said...

I think you're doing a great job. I honestly don't know how you are doing it all :) I would agree with all your suggestions, although I find it hard to engage in all those as well. But definite centering: church, prayer, time with my gal friends, running, time with the dogs, connecting with family, etc. And in some ways work can be an outlet for me too--if it's not the thing that's stressing me out that is.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I was just drafting a post like this yesterday when my head was about to explode. One thing I'm feeling a pull toward is time to read something other than school books, yoga/calming exercise classes and the opportunity to just do things for ME. Hang in there, Lisa!

San said...

I think this is a great list to keep you centered with all the crazy work stuff going on!
Busy is good, but taking time for yourself is important as well.

Jeanie said...

All of these suggestions are good ones during stress-crazed times. I'm glad you can recognize so many of them and implement them.

And on a cooking note, try Julia's recipes for Coquilles St. Jacques Provencal Style. Made it over the weekend and it was wonderful!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

During chaotic times I get calm by cooking, going for a massage or snuggling and watching TV.

Raquelita said...

It's really a good thing to try to find ways to stay centered and get some relaxation even when things are so chaotically hectic. This year I'm trying not to work most evenings, so that I can actually enjoy time with my husband. I also really enjoy sitting in the quiet and drinking my first cup of coffee in the mornings.

Leigh said...

Ah I can only imagine how busy you are! I definitely agree...traveling for work takes so much out of you. I hope you are able to find a couple calm moments each day to sit, relax and think of anything except work!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I am glad your trip went well! It is hard to balance everything all at once. I like your line about grabbing hold of the balls at work. I know, I know; that's not what you said, but it still made me giggle.

I think it's really important to take time, even when it seems as if you don't have any left, to do things for You! I do things for me, but sometimes end up prioritizing badly! It is hard to fit it all in! However, last night I saw an old friend and went to a ball game and so therefore missed out on reading, relaxing, cooking and running, which are my de-stressers. However, I got to spend quality time with a loved one! So, it's worth it sometimes.

Becky said...

I wish I could send you food that a) wouldn't take forever to get there and b) wouldn't spoil in the meantime!

Those are all great ways to find calm - so glad they're working for you!

I would say mine are knitting, reading for pleasure, and doing yoga - they all relax me in completely different ways!

J said...

I haven't been going to mass lately because of my schedule but I do often find it so calming - almost like yoga. Its nice to just have time to be silent and reflect.

Melissa said...

I can relate to this post on so many levels!! My life is so chaotic right now too, and those little *sanity* moments are so key. Reading for pleasure is a big one for me too, and I know I need to make more time for it in my life these days, as my reading has really been falling by the wayside. A lot of my friends don't understand why I still read during school, but honestly I don't think I'd survive without it. Great post, as always!

pinkflipflops said...

drinking, mindless tv, reading, my friends on the internet...