Changes to reduce stress

I had an AHA moment yesterday. When I checked my inbox, I received an email scheduling a meeting for 9pm. I was WTF??? Don’t you know I go to bed by 8:30pm and usually asleep by 9pm? Obviously the person doesn’t know. While I got mad, I contained myself to tell my assistant that going forward, I won’t take meeting from 7pm-7am. Only in exceptional cases, I’d consider. I know this might sound rigid for many as I work in an international organisation with colleagues in all time zones. But if I don’t put boundaries, nobody will, so as part of 2021 January theme (TIME), I’m protecting my time. Unfortunately, 2 hrs later I still got a calendar invite about the same meeting at 9pm. Then I reach out to the person who asked for the meeting directly. I didn’t have to explain why I don’t take 9pm meetings, but the final outcome was that I won’t be joining this meeting.

Two takeaways from this incident: (1) I found my boundaries. Evening meetings are disruptive of my sleep and the next day wellbeing, so I HAVE to protect my evenings. Even if some people won’t understand and complains about it, I’ll still keep this rule. My wellbeing is more important than pleasing all people. (2) I don’t need to communicate to others my personal reasons for not taking evening meetings in too much details. They might not understand and find them not legit. But I can find other ways to defer the meeting, compromise in others ways so the person doesn’t feel rejected. I am not sure I’ve accomplished that yesterday, but I tried and will continue to be sympathetic to others while at the same time protecting my boundaries.

Another change I’ve started is to let our helper to cook. Since the pandemic, I’ve been cooking 3 meals for the family every day. Pre-pandemic when I had a helper who cooks, she did most of the cooking. While I enjoy cooking and it’s a relaxing activity, I want to take away the obligation from it. I will still cook, but not because otherwise my family will starve, but because I want it. So yesterday I’ve taught the helper to cook simple things that the family eats in a regular basis. A steamed fish and few vegetable dishes. She did a great job and I was so relieved. Starting from next week, I’ll ask the helper to prepare lunch for the family while I’m in the office instead of me trying to prepare them before I leave for office. That will definitely help to reduce stress/anxiety.

We will do same meal for everyday of the week. I don’t mind eating the same thing every day, so I think this should work for the family. Here is the plan, all dishes that I know the girls love

  • Monday: fried rice with vegetable + one vegetable (broccoli, cucumber or green bean)
  • Tuesday: pasta with red sauce + one vegetable
  • Wednesday: soup + cheese quesadilla
  • Thursday: curry or adobo chicken with rice + one vegetable
  • Friday: pizza + one vegetable.

With this plan, I only need to think about dinner as breakfast is usually pancakes/waffles that I freeze. Let’s see how this plans works. 🙂

Q: How do you plan for lunches?

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