Do you feel tired? Are you always stressed out? Do your kids complain about an endless to-do list? Are you known for never saying no? Do you constantly think or tell others that you’re busy? If you said yes to those questions, it is safe to assume that your schedule is out of control. The reality is you’re not alone.
At an early age, we are taught destructive habits, we carry those boundless tendencies into our adult lives, and the vicious cycle is repeated when we teach those ways to our children. We are constantly overscheduling ourselves and trying to do it all. However, it is impossible to accomplish everything. I recently read somewhere that society is so caught up with human doing, that we forget that we’re actually human beings.
It’s okay to say no. It’s okay not to attend every party, practice, and meeting. It’s okay to be content with the slow rhythms and pass on the shiny things. As parents, we can teach our children what is important in life by ditching the unnecessary and dwelling in contentment. If you’re still in denial, here are six indicators that your family’s schedule is out of control.
Everyone is tired.
There will be seasons where life feels like it is stuck on fast forward, and that’s okay. It’s fine because it is a season and not the norm. But, if everyone is constantly complaining that they’re tired, it is time to give some things up.
Adjust bedtimes, so everyone can get the amount of sleep they truly need. Review extracurricular commitments and adjust. Ask yourself some questions. Does volunteering really bring you joy? Does your child really need to be in theater and soccer? Commit to only participating in the activities that bring you joy. Yes, people will be disappointed. But they’ll get over it.
Stop succumbing to the notion that tiredness represents productivity. You can still be productive and not always feel exhausted.
Housework and homework are never done.
If your child is having trouble finishing homework, their grades are probably suffering too. If your housework is slacking, your family is probably stressed because they are living within chaos. There are a ton of studies that prove clutter and your home’s disarray contribute to your family’s mental health.
We’re not saying that you must keep a perfectly clean home. We’re not saying that your child needs to make straight As. We are saying that you should prioritize your life by prioritizing your schedule. Has your child’s homework become deprioritized because of multiple practices? Has your housework been bumped to the bottom of your list because you’re running from activity to activity?
Take inventory of what is really important and life-giving. Give yourself and your family room to breathe. Think about saying ‘no’ to some activities – it doesn’t need to be a ‘no’ to everything. If Wednesdays and Fridays are a free-for-all, make a list of things you and your family don’t need to do. Then, execute it!
There is no downtime.
Everyone needs downtime. Boredom helps stimulate creativity. When our minds have the freedom to wander, we are more likely to have new ideas and innovative approaches to problems and life tasks.
Assess everyone’s schedule and block off time for your family to just live. Downtime is a great way to bond together as a family without an extravagant planned event. Experts agree that unscheduled family time is an important part of a healthy balance for kids and families.
Family members are experiencing headaches, stomachaches, or recurring physical problems.
The Mayo Clinic has found that headaches are more likely to occur when you’re stressed. Stress is a common trigger of tension-type headaches and migraines and can trigger other types of headaches or make them worse. Other studies have linked stress to bloating, nausea, and other stomach discomforts. Vomiting may occur if the stress levels are severe enough.
Pay attention to your family’s health and overall well-being. Talk with your family members about the events leading up to their discomfort and take action. Consider keeping a log of their symptoms and their schedule. It is important to also self-assess because parents often put their well-being on the back burner. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your family.
Everyone is having trouble sleeping.
Having trouble sleeping doesn’t mean you are bored. Oftentimes, insomnia is a red flag for other serious issues. A sleepless night, here or there, doesn’t necessarily warrant change; however, if the sleepless nights are consistent, then you should raise concern.
Promises are always broken.
Yes, all parents are guilty of breaking a promise here and there. It is insanely impossible to do everything your family requests. But if your child or spouse tells you that they feel like promises aren’t taken seriously, you should listen. Breaking promises has the potential of affecting your child’s understanding of priorities, truth, and worth. If people in your family are the ones breaking promises, you should voice concern as well.
Be intentional and authentic with your family’s schedule. If priorities are being put off, figure out what can be deleted and move forward with keeping the promise.
A schedule is a plan that consists of lists, events, and times. At times a schedule may feel overwhelming, but the beauty is that we are the creators of our schedules. Don’t allow a schedule to take over your family’s life – make everything work for you and your family. Consider having a reoccurring family meeting to check-in, and see how everyone feels about upcoming events and to-do lists. Every member of your family should have a say in what goes on the schedule, and creating time together to discuss everything will be appreciated.