We’re ending our series with this post and I hope you’ve found a lot of encouragement and helpful tips to get you out of survival mode! If you haven’t yet, check out the rest of the posts in this series:
Once you’ve made the hard decisions and jumped in to implementing big changes, it is important to figure out how to make those changes last. You don’t want to just slip right back into old habits next week. I did that over and over again, before I started doing these things.
1. Create an Ideal Daily Routine
I do not recommend a “schedule” with set times to do each task. That just sets you up to fail when life happens and you can’t actually get everything in your day done at exactly the right time. Instead, create a routine that you can do on autopilot that will keep things humming along with minimal thought required.
You can look at my basic routine in my Homemaking Routine series. To create your own routines, I recommend these two courses. Crystal went far more in-depth than I had in creating morning and evening routines and going through the courses really refined and established my routines into something that I actually enjoy!
2. Keep Momentum Going
Go back to your “must-do” list often to help keep yourself on track. Try out a fun new way of keeping track of what you need to do and make checking what it says a part of your morning and evening routines. Until you have your routines established, you might need to write them down to follow every day, with any unique tasks for that day added into them.
My favorite way to keep from wandering aimlessly (and frantically) through my days is to use my bullet journal! Look it up on Google or Pinterest to see if it might be a good fit for you. For me, it is such a flexible system that I don’t feel anxious about dealing with it (the way that set-in-stone meal plans or by-the-minute schedules make me feel) and yet it keeps me grounded and focused.
Whatever system you go with (sticky notes in a binder are what my hubby uses and loves!) just commit to finding something that works for you and review it every morning (to see what needs doing that day) and evening (to add new things so you aren’t keeping yourself from restful sleep by having all those things swirling in your head all night).
3. Replace the Bad with Good
Part of the struggle will likely be that whatever “bad” or unnecessary things didn’t make it on your must-do list are habits that you will be drawn to doing without thinking. Checking Facebook, starting “extra” projects or committing to be a part of something beyond your must-do’s, for example. It’s hard to just quit doing what you’ve been doing for so long.
The best way to keep from reverting to those things is to replace them with new habits that line up with your must-do’s. For something like food choices, simply refuse to allow yourself to buy any of the junk at the grocery store. Take a friend who will hold you accountable, if you need to. Or take a photo of your shopping cart and post it on Instagram for accountability.
If your biggest struggle is always saying “yes” when people ask you to do things, you’ll need to practice a nice “no” every single day. Put it on your morning (and evening?) routine. Keep it simple. Something like, “That’s such a great idea, but I’m not able to be a part of making it happen. Thanks so much for thinking of me!” And have a plan to fix it when you do slip up and say yes. As soon as you realize what you’ve done, say, “I am so sorry, but I hadn’t thought through all my other commitments. I won’t be able to fit that into my schedule, but I’d be happy to suggest a few people who might like to do it.”
4. When Survival Mode is Necessary
We all have times when survival mode truly is necessary. Make sure you have a plan to get through those seasons and back to normal as quickly as possible. If it’s something expected (a new baby, a planned surgery, etc.) you have the chance to really keep things running well. For unexpected problems (like my four lovely brown recluse bites that I am dealing with now- yuck), have a backup plan.
My favorite survival mode tools are freezer meals and a simplified version of my routines. Everybody in the house helps get the must-do’s done. Yep, things aren’t done the way I would do them, but that’s okay. We are still eating nutrient-dense food (yay for my deep freezer!!) and we have clean clothes and dishes, thanks to delegating and keeping it simple.
Once you’re through the survival mode, figure out what needs to happen to get things back to normal. A couple days of deep cleaning? A family planning meeting to decide what to do next? Whatever you need to do to get back to your routines, do it as soon as you can so you don’t get stuck in survival mode.
I would love to hear about your journey out of survival mode! Please feel free to share you tips, inspiration or questions with us!