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When Life Takes a Left-Turn

Today I’ve been thinking about all the ways life can take an unexpected left-turn. Those events that happen quickly, or differently than expected, leaving us struggling to make sense of the sudden chaos. A left-turn could be something joyful and fully planned, like a new marriage, a new job, pursuit of a degree program or a new house. It could mean something surprising like an adoption, housing a friend in need, caregiving for a loved one or the sudden onset of a pandemic. A left-turn could be something much more difficult like the loss of a family member, troubling news or a house fire.

We had a left-turn last week. Fortunately, it was of the surprising and happy variety. We brought a puppy home on Tuesday. A “look and see” visit to a breeder turned into a “You know I’ve been wanting a standard poodle for years. . .” And so, Hobbes came home to join our family. Having a puppy is like having a toddler in the house. They sleep a lot, they wake up in the night, they want snacks all the time, and they don’t listen to you. It’s fair to say we’re operating in a different mode than we’re used to.

Suddenly, entertaining a puppy has taken up a good deal of my time and I’m struggling to get my everyday things done. I have a business to run, projects to finish, a family to feed, an older dog to protect from the younger, and a house to keep. It made me realize I need to change a few things to keep up with the important things in life. These are good reminders no mater what kind of “left-turn” you’re taking in. your life.

  1. Give yourself a breather when you can. Rest is vital for every system in your body. Don’t force yourself to do anything overly stressful.
  2. Ask yourself what you can let go of. Is this a time to start up grocery delivery for a few weeks? Can you hire a housekeeper every other week for a while? Are there things in your schedule you can drop for a season? Try to free up blocks of time in your day.
  3. If you’re having trouble eating, try to eat several small healthy meals or snacks a day. And drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Any stressful left-turn in life is not a good time to be undernourished and in need of hydration.
  4. Enlist help. Remind yourself you don’t have to do anything alone. Determine who your top “Life Team” members are and lean on them when you need help, support or encouragement. Keep a list with their names and phone/text numbers nearby.
  5. Come up with a schedule. When life is topsy turvy it will help to know when your sleep and wake-up times are, when you’ll eat, when you’ll work and when you’ll rest. This schedule can include ways your life team will be contributing to your day.
  6. Bring some fun into your life. Go for a walk or a run. Watch a funny movie. Talk about good memories with family members. Laugh at those new puppy antics. Never underestimate how a little levity can relieve a stressful situation.

Do you have any tips you’d add to this list? What have been the left-turns in your life lately? Here’s to sending you the best of wishes in the weeks ahead. If your left-turns are home related, how about adding me to your life team? If your stress includes organization, home design, decluttering, let me know. I’m a home coach and it’s my job to help you out!

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