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09 November 2015

Can we talk organization and life skills? With the addition of the niece everything has changed, and I am finding myself overwhelmed. What do you do to stay centered and on top of things?
My partner has stepped up, but there are still an overwhelming amount of responsibilities that are mine. Work is about to get busier, too (huzzah).

What do you do to stay centered and not cranky?

My organization currently is google calendar, to do list/reminders on my iphone, a combination of outlook calendar and paper notebook list at work.

I recently got the Badger app for my iphone, so that I can set up recurring text messages for my niece for all the things that we have to constantly remind her to do (laundry on Sundays - reminders for 5 hours on the hour to check and switch over if needed; reminders to put her things away; reminders to take medicine). Yes, we're doing some ADD testing.

But in addition to a full work week, I still need to come home and do (some) cleaning, (some) cooking, animal care, help niece with schoolwork (daily - she's failing chemistry), etc. I also visit my grandmother several times a week on the way to work - these are super short visits (15 min or so) to fix her some breakfast and put on her socks. I don't want to give those up, either.

With the additional expense of a third person in the house, we don't have the funds to hire a housekeeper or buy prepaid meals. I could potentially have my niece do some of the housework, but she's slammed with schoolwork right now, and if you consider how much I would have to remind her to do it, it's likely simpler to do it myself. Just letting the house go is only an option for so long, as my mom can't breathe (asthma) unless we keep it semi-clean, and it drives my partner batty to have things laying around.

I do have the ability to do yoga classes at my office, plus a YMCA membership. However, pet care somewhat interferes with that - we're having to go home at lunch each day and give the dog medicine, so we're splitting that up as well. That kills lunchtime yoga on those days.

I have a meditation app, but haven't been using it. (So I could!)

I have the tendency to go and go and go until I simply break, but have been noticing that I am crankier lately, and have a shorter fuse. I don't *want* to be a cranky person.
It helps to do ALL the cooking on weekends. I'd suggest the three of you rotate the housework, maybe in two person teams, each Saturday. A shared calendar, and the old fashioned kind that hangs in a kitchen works fine, or an electronic one, may be best for both areas.

For your niece, who I assume has a smartphone, I'd install the Due app to nag her instead of you.

I'd check into whether her school has any free chemistry tutoring. Also I'd schedule, on your shared calendar, your own tutoring sessions with her for particular nights.

For a quiet mind, I find that floating has made a huge difference for me. I did a three float package and floated three weeks in a row, and now float twice a month. It's essentially forced meditation, and it is super effective. If you can't afford that, then I'd schedule your yoga sessions and meditation app sessions and treat those as a priority. You can't function if you are frazzled.

posted by bearwife 09 November | 15:57
Yes, bulk cooking! I've been enjoying doing freezer meals, and doing 1-2 a week so I always have leftovers for lunches. The nights where I've driving home from work and I already know that dinner is waiting for me in the crockpot are the best.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 09 November | 16:15
What is floating? Other than the obvious. Tough to google.
posted by amro 09 November | 17:34
Bearwife, do you mean a flotation tank? The one I tried was a big bathtub filled with saltwater; it felt weird to be on the water and not in it.

The only way I passed chemistry was with a tutor who showed me the long way to do equations. Solving for x never clicked for me.
posted by brujita 09 November | 20:25
I think my partner is about to go back onto a low carb diet - if he does that, I could likely handle the freezer or bulk cooking. They both have such different dietary preferences, it can be a little difficult to satisfy everyone. (I'm happy with cereal. Seriously.)

I tried to plan easy dinners for this week, and it seems to be working well - we have a crockpot meal set up for tonight.

Free chemistry tutoring sounds like a good option - we had thought of it before, but she kept saying "I think I know everything, and then I don't when the test comes, so I wouldn't know what to ask a tutor" and we ruled it out. I hadn't thought of going back to it.

I am just not thinking clearly because I'm totally overwhelmed. Thank you!

Bearwife, do you not fall asleep? I have some budget for really effective things - I'm currently using it on massage, but I could reallocate!
posted by needlegrrl 10 November | 09:34
Set aside SOMETHING that you know you can look forward to to keep you motivated and let you know that a break is coming. That could be a special dinner, a night without [responsibilities/niece/having to make dinner], going to the movies, or a vacation down the road. Anywhere on that spectrum.

The point is not to go to the movies, per se; it's knowing that that movie night is coming up and a break is in sight.

I'll let you know how that goes when I get a break :P
posted by Madamina 10 November | 12:30
Floating: yes, I mean a flotation tank. This is the website for the studio I go to in Seattle. (I hear the Seahawks go there too but haven't seen any.)

I agree it feels weird the first time. That's why I recommend three floats in a row on successive weeks.

Yes, I have fallen asleep sometimes. When that happens it is incredibly restful and restorative. But the norm is . . . I get in, I count 200 breaths and notice my body, and sometime before I get to 200 I am in different, meditative place. Sometimes I plan my week. Sometimes I work out difficult emotional problems. Sometimes I just . . . go somewhere else.

Floating is a touchstone for me now. If I have trouble falling asleep I visualize myself in the tank. If I get stressed I visualize myself in the tank. If something starts to upset me I visualize myself in the tank. I'm just a calmer, more centered person these days.
posted by bearwife 10 November | 18:10
Bearwife, that sounds amazing. There is a flotation place in town - I may check it out!

Tutoring application achieved, they will tutor one day a week, which would still be better than not at all...
posted by needlegrrl 11 November | 10:14
My meditation app helped me a real lot - I recommend it. It really does help you stay calm, and the one I like best (Buddify) has ones of different lengths, 4 minutes to 15 or so - so they can always fit in somewhere. It really does help.
posted by Miko 13 November | 22:08
Miko - I will check that one out. thank you!
posted by needlegrrl 16 November | 09:52
Don't rake leaves. || The theme for this week's Photo Friday is : Remembrance