Tuesday Tips: How to “De-stress” Your Day

Good morning all!

Sorry that the blog has been sort of hit-or-miss here lately. The last couple of weeks have been stressful for me. I realize that things could be so much worse and am grateful that they aren’t. My stress comes from busyness. I don’ t like to be busy. If you ask me how I am, I don’t want my response to always be “Busy.” I try to make it a point to limit my obligations and appointments so that I’m not busy all the time. My family will (I’m sure) attest to the fact that busyness leads to grouchiness for me.

Now my recent busyness has not been due to anything bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. Home school graduation was last week. The home school yearbook is due next Friday. I have two nephews graduating in the next couple of weeks, and a new nephew due to make his appearance next Thursday. So it’s all good stuff. Really. And I only have this “feeling” for a couple of weeks and it will pass quickly. But there are those who feel this way all the time. All. The. Time. Busy, busy, busy. Rush, rush, run. Run here. Run there. Drop off. Pick up. Juggle schedules, appointments, work…this list just goes on and on.

So how do you manage to limit the negative effects of stress when you’re busy all the time? No, really, how do you do that? When I worked full-time and then when I home schooled my children (that’s beyond full-time!), I used the following things to try and keep me and my family on an even keel. Didn’t always work; nothing does. But it did help us maintain some semblance of balance at home.

I’m not going to expand a lot on these today. I think they’re pretty clear. You may not like any of them. You may like one or two. I hope you’ll choose at least one thing to try and see if it will help relieve some of the stress you feel (if you are feeling any). If you have other suggestions of things that work for you, please share them.

Anyway, here goes. “Lynne’s List of De-stressers”

1. Start your day with 15 minutes of quiet time.

Devotional. Cup of coffee or tea. Deep breathing. All that matters is that it’s just you. And that it’s quiet. Get up 15 minutes earlier if you need to. Pay-off is immediate.

2. Exercise.

Yes, exercise. With all those endorphins and what-not. Sometimes all you need is a walk around the block to clear your head. Sometimes you need an hour to blow off steam. Either way, try to find some time for it every day. I think that 30 minutes is the “recommended” minimal amount.

3. Plan your meals.

Planning your meals keeps you from that 5:00 p.m., “Oh, my gosh. It’s 5:00 and I have no idea what we’re having for dinner!” freak-out. Plan a day ahead. Plan a week ahead. But try to have a plan. If it’s 5:00 and you don’t know what’s for dinner, you are going to be stressed. (And you are more likely to make poor food choices. Just saying.)

4. Limit your kids’ activities.

No, limiting their activities will not make you a bad parent. In fact, it might do just the opposite. One activity per kid per “season” was my limit. And my kids weren’t all that into “organized” activities and sports anyway, so I had this one easy. But I’ve watched a lot of friends running, running, running to get their kids shuttled between activities. They always look stressed. I would be. (I don’t have much experience with this one, so I’m just going by observation and listening.)

5. Limit your activities.

Whether you work full-time, are a stay-at-home mom, home school, etc., limit your obligations outside the home. Don’t have activities scheduled for every day or night of the week that take you away from home. I always tried for one, with occasional weeks where there were two. Now that the kids are out of school, I have two things per week a little more often. But I’d just rather be home than out at night, so that’s what I do.

6. Find 15 additional minutes for yourself some time during the day.

I enjoy a cup of coffee and reading in the middle of the afternoon. It’s my time and it has been that way for a long, long time. That may not be an option for you. But do try and find 15 minutes in the middle or at the end of your day (both if you can), to unwind. Do something that is relaxing for you. Turn off the TV and read for 15 minutes before bedtime. Do a few yoga stretches or some deep breathing. Take a bubble bath. Just do something for you.

I know six is a strange number for a list. I was going to stop with five, but I felt like #6 was important. So there you have it. It’s not much, but it’s a start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that life is throwing at you – or all that you have allowed in – start small and work your way OUT of the busyness. I’d start with #1 and #6, then add the others as needed or as possible.

Have a blessed – and less stressful – day today!

Lynne

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