Recently I enrolled in an online course for medical billing and coding. I work from home so I don’t have to commute to work, but I’ve noticed that it is hard for me to get my day organized since I’ve started classes. I have a good friend who took medical assistant training and she complained of the same thing. We’re both over 40 and not as flexible as we used to be. Thankfully our children are grown and out of the house, well almost my daughter still lives with me, so we don’t have the extra responsibility of getting the kids to school and picking them up from day care. Frankly I don’t know how some people cram everything they do into a day. I’ve never been one to try to get everything done at once, I’ve learned to pace myself, but still it is a challenge to work, manage a household, and take classes.
As “older”students we sometimes have trouble getting back into the swing of taking classes. It can be stressful enough trying to get back into the habit of studying, writing papers, and getting all of our homework done on time without putting the added pressures of trying to live up to some unrealistic “Superwoman” or “Superman” stereotype. Our society seems to equate worth with being busy. That is unfortunate. It is no wonder the incidences of heart disease, diabetes and stroke are climbing. All of these conditions can be stress related.
So how can you do what you need to in one day and not have your sanity or health pay the price? Here’s some tips I’ve learned through the years.
Know your limitations. Okay so you can’t stay up until 3am and get up at 7am any more. It’s called aging and maturity. In order to stay healthy you have to know how much you can handle. Just today I had to turn down a client request for more work because I knew I couldn’t handle it. Would the money have been nice? Sure it would have and Lord knows I need it, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to give the client quality blogs, do my other clients work, and get through my weekly lessons. And you know what, that’s okay.
Don’t try to do everything. As parents we have this notion we should do everything for our families. Well this just sets them up for failure because they never learn responsibility. Make a chore chart and stick to it. If you don’t have kids at home ask for help when you need it. If your friend is going to the store, ask him or her to pick you up a few things if you need them. Remember it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
Learn to say no. This is related to my first tip. You don’t have to feel like you have to do everything you’re asked. If you can’t or don’t want to do it politely decline. I find the older I get the easier it is to say no.
Take care of your body. This is a hard one for me. It’s so much easier to just pop open a can of Chef Boyardee and eat it cold while I work than it is to take the time to prepare something healthy. What is worse is if you’re going through the drive through several nights a week. You’re putting a lot of fat, sodium, and cholesterol into your body. Sooner than later you’re going to pay for this with high blood pressure, weight gain, fatigue, and other unwanted health issues. I’m just as guilty so I’m not pointing the finger, believe me this is an area I struggle with everyday.
I hope these tips help you manage your time and save your sanity. Going back to school after 40 is exciting, but it can be stressful. Relax when you can, carve out some downtime, and remember to have a positive attitude. Sometimes you have to just sit back and laugh at life before it gets you down.