I need out: 5 tips to get beyond survival mode to embrace an intentional life
Feeling l like you’re just struggling to survive? Survival mode is real and it stops us from living an intentional life.
Friend, I see you.
Even before your feet hit the floor, your heart is already overwhelmed with stress and worry. You have people pulling on you, needing your time, calling your name, wanting you to show up.
The reality is some days and some seasons are just hard. There are sleepless nights, endless meetings, numerous doctor appointments, never-ending homework, crying children, and changing hormones.
You sit wondering if you have anything left to give. A part of you questions even wanting to walk away—just for a bit. Step away from responsibility. Walk away from being needed. Walk away to have quiet, to have peace.
But you don’t.
You do all you can to make it through the day. You get up. You push forward. You show up.
If you are anything like me, survival mode can be a familiar friend. You put the game face on. You get the work done. You cook dinner. You do all you can to make through the next day, the next hour, the next minute. You’ve learned how to push through and keep going.
Maybe you are right there today.
If so, remember–surviving is not your stopping point. Be encouraged.
You can have the thriving, full life not bound by circumstances.
Lean on Christ
One of the hardest parts of being in survival mode is the lie; I am responsible for making all things happen for all people. We put the entire weight of making things happen on our shoulders. Friend, the first step in living an intentional life beyond survival mode is intentionally choosing to surrender to Christ every moment of every day. Christ is more than capable of carrying the weight of all of our stress, cares, and worries. Choose to lean on Christ. He’s got you friend!
- What scriptures can I apply to my situation?
- What is God showing me?
- What areas am I trying to control instead of surrender?
- Have I prayed about my day?
Every time you start to complain or fuss about your day, take a moment to reflect on the good. Say what you are thankful for out loud. Show appreciation for those around you. Start your day and end your night jotting down all you are grateful for. Whether you choose to keep a gratitude journal, a family gratitude jar or write thank you cards, making gratitude a regular part of your day is vital. Gratitude is a daily choice, regardless of your situations. This intentional step will help retrain your mind to see the good instead of seeing the lack.
- How has God blessed me today?
- What is something positive about my day?
- How can I encourage someone else today?
Make wellness a priority
When we go into survival mode, one of the first areas we sacrifice is our wellness. We stop exercising, overeat, and go without enough sleep. All of these are bad habits that have long-term implications. Instead of putting off your wellness to take care of everyone, make it a priority.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- How am I taking care of me?
- Am I eating healthy to fuel my body?
- What hobby have I ignored? How can I add it back into my life?
- How can I incorporate exercise in my day?
- How will I prioritize my health?
- What will I do to protect my boundaries?
Pick your battles
There have been numerous times I lived in survival mode, especially when I was a momma with three fellas four and under or a momma taking care of four fellas while my hubby was on deployment. While it may be easy to pick the argument, fuss about the clothes not folded, be irritated about all the noise the kids are making, or tell off the coworker, we must be willing to know what does and does not require our attention or emotional space. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.
If you want to know if you are picking the wrong battles, ask yourself:
- Do I have the emotional capacity to respond in love?
- Will responding to this create positive change?
- Am I trying to be in control?
- Will this matter?
Limit your commitments
To shift from survival mode to embracing an intentional life, be okay with paring life down to the basics. Don’t be afraid to cut everything that isn’t essential to your day. Would the play date be nice? Sure. Is it necessary? Nope. In some seasons, we must be willing to say no to things we want to do so we can have the capacity for what God has assigned to our hands.
To know how to pare down your commitments, you need to acknowledge every area you have said yes. Make a list ON PAPER. Looking at these commitments, ask yourself:
- Why did I say yes? Obligation? Fear? People-pleasing?
- Why does this commitment matter?
- How much time does this commitment require?
- How does this commitment impact my family and me?
- Will I be solely responsible for this commitment?
- Is this my best yes?
- What happens if I say no?
Lovely one, I hope today you have the courage and the strength to take just one step forward out of survival mode. One step toward the abundant life in Christ. You can step forward by leaning on Christ, practicing gratitude, making wellness a priority, picking your battles, and limiting your commitments. Just pick one. One step. One change. One decision.
Cheering you on,