When the going gets tough ...

... the tough reassess and re-prioritise.

Life has taken one of those turns where it all just gets a bit complicated. Part of that is my own fault - I might have taken on a few too many things all at once - but part of it is just the way things happen.

There is a big difference between being busy and having things happen. Usually I am busy, and that is fine. I chase around after the small people and their multifarious (wow, see that word!) activities; get my planning, marking and reporting done at the very last minute; do a bit of volunteering at the local Cricket club and a bit of extra-curricular study; unpack a random box or take stuff to the Sallies from the move that happened a couple of months ago; catch up with my MTB crew or the Wine Ladies; and try and be a bit fit and healthy around all of that. However, the last couple of months have brought things.

Firstly, the blue small person has been unwell. We have had a couple of hospital visits and all sorts of testing, but we still don't really know where he's at. It's not life-threatening, but he has spent several random days under my desk at work asleep, which is extremely unusual.

And then the husband is having a bit of a stressful time at work, which kindof affects how everything else happens around the place and means I am the one keeping the day-to-day going relatively smoothly.

So, for me to be able to deal with everything and everyone else, I have had to do a bit of thinking about myself. I have had to ...


  • What are my priorities? Well, clearly the health of small people is the first priority, no matter what, so anything else comes a distant second.
  • What can I stop doing? The extra nutrition and fitness course had to go on hold, as that was becoming more stressful than helpful. The study also took a definite back seat - which meant my exam was pretty rubbish, but you can apply for what is called 'impaired performance', which mine was, and see what happens. I can definitely stop myself from being too worried if I'm not getting the grades I would usually expect of myself.
  • What can I change? The main thing I can change is my attitude - I have been learning to let things slide, or to arrange that things can happen later rather than now. And if it doesn't happen the way it should, well I shouldn't really expect otherwise. This has been hard for me, to start with, but has meant that over the longer term, I have been able to focus on what is important. Also, generally I like to be in control of things, or at least to know what is happening, and the unwell small person does too. We have both had to do a lot of learning about compromise and sudden change and not knowing the answers. This has been challenging
And ...
  • It sounds really basic, but making sure everyone is okay has to be the first priority. This means not only making sure the unwell small person has painkillers that work (always a bonus), but also that the other small person (who is very sensitive) is holding up in the chaos around her, that the husband's work stress and home worries don't get mixed together, and that I can also find a calm spot here and there for just me.
  • Another really good thing is to work out which deadlines are hard deadlines and which ones are a bit softer. Some stuff you can shift and some you can't. Then just do the stuff that needs to be done now. Some deadlines aren't even real, they are often the ones you set for yourself, just to get something done, but I am finding it easier and easier to say "That will get done sometime, but not this week/month. It doesn't matter."
  • A third thing is to make your priorities really clear by saying no. This is really hard, but people understand when you tell them that certain things are just more important. I am getting quite good at letting people know that I just can't do all the things, but I will pick them up again later if they still need me to. 
What this means in terms of my own health and fitness, which is what this blog is actually about, is that they have become not a high priority in themselves, but a means for me of dealing with the other stresses. This is an important thing to realise.

So I can fit a bit of exercise in when the small person feels okay, but I can miss a class or a run or even an MTB with my crew if that's what it is. I can eat well and sensibly most of the time, but if an extra coffee a day makes me feel that I can deal with things better, then that's just fine. 

It's a balancing act between the physical and the mental, and the important thing is work out where that balance might have shifted to, not to let one or the other just fall off entirely. This is also an important thing to realise.

Things change. Things happen. Being flexible and resilient are far more important than being tough.


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