How to Keep Going When Things Get Stressful



Listen, I get it. Life can be hard sometimes. And I'm not even talking about the life and death situations that many people in this world have to face. I'm talking about having a job, and being a parent, and being a daughter/son, and being a spouse, and being a friend, and managing finances, and cooking dinner, and keeping basic personal hygiene, and...and...and...


How the heck are you supposed to do anything on top of that, let alone invest in real estate or maintain a business?? This is the question I still have to grapple with all the time, and sometimes still struggle to answer. Things come up, and life gets stressful. If I always knew the answers I'd probably be the next Oprah (who am I kidding, it's OPRAH).


For example, recently my husband, Jeff, and I bought two Short Term Rentals that we planned to list on AirBnB and VRBO. We bought them almost at the same time, and had to manage bringing them both live, and all the struggles of that, in parallel. Oh, and we happened to be gut renovating two units on one of our other properties at the same time.


And bring in life. We have a beautiful 18 month old daughter, Ellie, and rambunctious (but lovable!) dog, Piper. Well, Piper gets easily spooked, and while I was bending over to help get her toy from under the couch, something fell off and spooked Piper. Chaos ensues. The result, Piper and I smacked heads and I ended up with a concussion (Piper was fine of course).


Turns out concussions are serious business. I'm still feeling the effects more than a month later. With my symptoms, all I could really do was lay down and stare at the ceiling or sleep. No walking around. No bending over. No screen time. If I did any of those things, I would experience severe motion sickness and vertigo. Did I mention no screen time?!


So now here we are with a toddler and dog, renovating two properties at once, and I'm out of commission. Oh and of course the handyman on one of those properties has been ghosting us and stole a bunch of money.


Cue my amazing husband! I don't know how Jeff handled all of this as well as he did, but he somehow pulled it off. He managed the renovations and brought the properties live. Oh and he solo parented a toddler, managed an anxious dog, grocery shopped, cooked us dinner, did the dishes, and somehow kept the house clean (because oh yeah - German Cockroaches invaded our house and we were in the middle of getting those killed). So I'm going to do something a little different here and let him speak about how he got through two renovations amid everything else.


From Jeff:


Hi! This is Jeff. I'm not as amazing as Taylor makes me sound, but I did make it through that very stressful time, so here's what I learned:

  • It's 90% mental.

  • The rest is about doing as little work as possible.

The Mental

When I say it's mental, what I really mean is that if you don't take care of yourself first, you won't be able to do the rest of it. It's like that overused metaphor about setting up your own oxygen mask first on the airplane. Overused, but true. This is what I would say got me through the majority of the experience:



  • Diet. I completely eliminated all added sugar and processed food from my diet. My energy went up, and I felt great physically. And that made me feel better emotionally.

  • Be kind to yourself. Not everything went perfectly. I burned food. I forgot things. The renovations took longer than they should have. But I told myself that was OK, and I was doing the absolute best I could. And none of it was really that bad anyway.

  • Be kind to others. When under extreme stress, it's so easy to get annoyed with little things people do, but giving into that frustration and snapping at people doesn't help anyone. And it would have helped me least of all because I just would have felt bad about it after and dwelled on how crappy I felt.

  • Have a routine. I couldn't control most of my day. Contractors call at weird times, and the toddler does what she likes. And sometimes the dog gets sick in the middle of the rug. But I could control what I did in the morning and the evening, and that made all the difference. I'll spell out my whole routing below.

  • Rest. I have enough things to do that I could have worked until midnight every night, but I didn't. I stopped at 8pm, took an hour to rest, and went to bed at 9pm. If I didn't do that, I think I would have caved to the stress after a few days.

  • Set achievable goals. I wouldn't try to do everything in one day. I would usually have 3 or 4 big tasks that I would target, and hopefully get all of those done. And those tasks would just be something like "Schedule the deep clean for the property."

  • Exercise and Meditation. I lumped these together because one is about exercising your body, and the other is exercising your mind. If you routinely make your mind and body stronger, you can better handle the stress and problems during the day.

  • No booze. Now I'm not a teetotaler. I love a beer or a glass of wine at the end of a good day. But not these days. These days were too hard and strenuous to risk any type of hangover the next morning. And I find that whatever my mental state before I start drinking just gets magnified after I stop. I was stressed. If I drank I would have been more stressed.

  • Caffeine. I'm not going to pretend I didn't use any chemical boosts to get me through this. I usually don't have much caffeine, but boy did I need coffee for these few weeks.

As Little Work As Possible

This is a little more hard to quantify, but basically, I couldn't be a perfectionist on the results, but I could be a perfectionist on the process. For example, I did all of the grocery shopping on top of everything else, but I ordered all the groceries online mostly using the things we got in previous orders. I didn't always get all the food we needed, but I got close, and I spent very little time doing it.


Another example, when I found someone I knew I could trust, I wouldn't manage them as closely. I would let them do their job and just verified with picture evidence at the end that they did it right. For people that I didn't feel I could trust, I would work out a process and schedule for them, and try to hold them accountable to it. I wasn't perfect all the time, but I got it done.


My Routine


I'm going to break this down into two routines: weekend and weekday. It may seem unlikely, but I did all of these almost every day at these times.


Weekday

  • 6:00 AM: Wake up. Take out and feed the dog

  • 6:10 AM: Work out, meditate

  • 6:40 AM: Shower

  • 7:00 AM: Breakfast (no sugar, no processed foods)

  • 7:15 AM: Put away dishes

  • 7:20 AM: Start work (W2 job and renovation tasks)

  • 8:00 AM: Ellie wakes up. Feed her, dress her

  • 8:30 AM: Drive to in-laws to drop off Ellie

  • 9:30 AM: Start work again (W2 job and renovation tasks)

  • 3:15 PM: Play with Piper

  • 3:30 PM: Drive to pick up Ellie

  • 4:30 PM: Home with Ellie

  • 4:45 PM: Cook dinner and watch Ellie

  • 5:30 PM: Eat with Ellie (and bring food to Taylor in the bedroom)

  • 6:00 PM: Bathe Ellie

  • 7:00 PM: Ellie Bed time. Start renovation tasks

  • 8:00 PM: Stop working. Turn on dishwasher. Clean

  • 8:10 PM: Rest

  • 9:00 PM: Go to bed

Weekend

  • 6:00 AM: Wake up. Take out and feed the dog

  • 6:10 AM: Work out, meditate

  • 6:40 AM: Shower

  • 7:00 AM: Breakfast (no sugar, no processed foods)

  • 7:15 AM: Put away dishes

  • 7:20 AM: Start work (Renovation tasks)

  • 8:00 AM: Ellie wakes up. Feed her, dress her

  • 9:30 AM: Take Ellie to the park.

  • 11:30 AM: Come home, eat lunch

  • 12:30 PM: Put Ellie down for a nap. Start work

  • 12:30-3:15 PM: Renovation tasks, mow lawn, clean house, etc.

  • 3:15 PM: Play with Piper

  • 3:30 PM: Ellie wakes up. Feed her, take her to park

  • 4:45 PM: Cook dinner and watch Ellie

  • 5:30 PM: Eat with Ellie (and bring food to Taylor in the bedroom)

  • 6:00 PM: Bathe Ellie

  • 7:00 PM: Ellie Bed time. Start renovation tasks

  • 8:00 PM: Stop working. Turn on dishwasher. Clean

  • 8:10 PM: Rest

  • 9:00 PM: Go to bed

Conclusion

Back to Taylor...It's never going to all go smoothly or be perfect. Be kind to yourself, focus on the most important tasks at hand. Remember YOU are the important factor here. Take care of yourself first - it's all going to work out.


YOU GOT THIS.


xx,

Taylor

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