Over the years I've come to realise - if I fix the little frustrations in life, there is much less background stress to deal with.
During my sabbatical last year (working half days) celebrating my 25th year in ministry - I was dealing with some level of burn out. I guess burning the candle at three ends for such a long time took it's toll - I'm not getting any younger !!
During the year, I had time to think about all the little niggles that I had to deal with every week, that I never seemed to have time to fix. So they were always there - niggling away in the back of my mind. Here's a sample of things that were causing background stress, the things that didn't let me fully relax.
Marketing emails coming into my inbox - I must unsubscribe from.
The broken lightbulbs in the house which needed replacing.
The yard that needed tidying up - which I never got around to.
The cutlery draw in the kitchen which was always a mess.
Sorting the fridge out and getting rid of out of date jars of stuff.
Replacing garbage backs which ALWAYS broke, with a heavier duty type.
Getting a small shoe cupboard so we didn't keep on tripping over shoes in the hall.
Those random chipped plates that you don't want to give guests at meals.
The side table I usually walk into because it's in the wrong place.
The uncomfortable pillow I never got around to replacing.
The phone charge lead that needs to be 2m long not the 1.2m lead I have.
You get the idea, and believe me the list was a LOT longer than that.
I did have time on my hands to think through all of the things that irritated me, that because life was full, I just overlooked or ignored, even though the irritation never ignored me.
So I decided to bite the bullet and make a Niggle list of all the 'little things' that caused irritation. Obviously the intent was to fix them.
If I'm honest doing that step of the process, I felt quite depressed by the very long list of work I seemed to have created for myself. Then when I started to tick off some of the simpler things, I realised......
Most small irritations only take a few minutes to fix !!
That created some momentum, and I soon found myself dealing with 4 or 5 things on the list each time I had a spurt of energy to try.
That was last year and I've found that that Niggles are the gift that keeps on giving. Things always go wrong, stuff always breaks, there is always a better way to do something.
So these days I tend to look at stuff early on a Saturday morning, I call it pottering around, I discover and problem and fix it.
The outcome is a lot less background stress, my mind is free from the list of things which need to be done. In a world of rush and busy, it's been a rest bite of chaos and made home more of a sanctuary.
If you feel overwhelmed, this exercise is a good place to start.