I probably wouldn’t have even written anything about Crystal Paine’s Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life, except that several of you said you wanted to hear what I thought when I was done. There weren’t too many quotables to pull out, and I’d rather post about The Secret Providences of God or The Liberal Arts Tradition.

But this is the one I finished this week, and you wanted a review. So here you have it.


Life takes work and intentional choices.

The book is a good overview of time-management and intentional-living basics. If you feel lost and don’t know where to start, her outlines would be a great resource. If you already know what you should be doing or you’ve already been immersed in the productivity or time-management or goal-setting genre, then this book would be a retread. It’s a newbie-level book for those who know they have a problem but don’t know how to get out.

She covers goal-setting, making a workable plan, setting a budget, and working on self-discipline.

My favorite part of the book was when she told about a time their basement flooded. The sump pump smelled funny and sounded wrong, so she unplugged it, intending to tell her husband about it when he got home. She forgot. Nothing happened until one day it rained heavily. When she went downstairs, she found the back room waterlogged, 2 inches deep.

The sump pump being unplugged was only a solution until it actually rained.

So much of our exhaustion and burnout are the result of not being plugged in. We think we’re capable of handling life without constantly renewing our power supplies. It might work out fine so long as life is sailing smoothly. But when the rains of stress, change, sickness, or upheaval come pouring down upon us, we quickly start drowning.

I thought that was a great analogy, especially because she followed it up with truth about what being “plugged in” really is: God’s Word and prayer are the places we receive refreshment. Spa days or coffee shops are nice, but they aren’t what we need at the deepest level. They will only be treating the surface unless our foundations are secure.

My favorite post about beating survival mode is from Jennifer Fulwiler: “The Secret to Not Being Overwhelmed.” She defines survival mode as:

If you don’t have at least a few blocks of time per week that are both predictable and uninterrupted, where you can prayerfully get your priorities in order, you are in survival mode.

Just having a definition for it goes a long way toward realizing how to fix the root problem, and I think she nailed the root of the feeling right there. And, in my own life, that’s why getting up before the kids is so vital to my sanity.

My Book Bag

Get more great quotes & recommendations at ladydusk’s Wednesday with Words!


  1. Thanks for the review! It looks like it might be a helpful read sometime, but I think I’ll stick to just going through your course for now, so I don’t get overwhelmed. ;)

  2. I’m reading a little bit of Calvin right now too–The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life–and have a Wodehouse waiting for me. :-) Also want to finish one I started about a year ago, by Rebecca Jones called Does Christianity Squash Women? I started to read it to help another person, but I got a lot out of it, so far. I have my first Wendell Berry on my pile to read too. Otherwise I whittled down my nightstand pile to weed out the things that I really don’t feel the desire or need to read at the moment and finally finished Abilition of Man over the Christmas break!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *