Stress is part of life. There are many components that are out of our control BUT there are many things that you can control to make stress manageable. I love this topic because it helps to remind me of the things I can do to minimize my stress & feel stress free. I am not perfect at all of these things but do my best to incorporate them into my daily or weekly routines. Although I have 4 kids, a busy practice & many different demands, I have found when I put these tips into practice, life is enjoyable & stress is managed. I hope you find these next 5 tips helpful & will be able to implement them into your life. (The next 5 will come in the next blog)
#10 Find 20 minutes for yourself every day.
Each day is 24 hours. There is nothing we can do to change that. I’ve had days where I wished I had 4 more hours or one more day to the weekend. No matter what there will always be 24 hours in a day. We get to choose what we do with each 24 hours we are given. If we think about in terms of dollars, it’s like each day we are given $24 dollars. For me each day is different & we each have different breakdowns of what our day looks like. Let’s say for example, We spend $7-8 sleeping, another $7 at work, maybe $3 preparing meals & eating, $1 driving, and so on. At the end of putting in the time for the necessities, there isn’t a lot let over but there IS time left over. How will you use that time? 24 hours is 1,440 minutes so to take 20 of that to refresh yourself is 1.4% of the day. 1.4%! Less than 2% for yourself so you can have more to offer to your family & whatever demands you have for the day. I know some moms feel selfish or are afraid the world might fall apart if they step away for less than 2% of the day. I’m here to tell you moms that you can do this. You need to do this. It will help you to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend and whatever hats you might wear.
Now what should you do with this 20 minutes? Whatever refreshes you. To one person it might be to exercise, another it might be to read a book, maybe 20 minutes of silence & doing nothing. I want you to think about what refreshes you the most & try to incorporate that into your daily routine. For me, I enjoy spending that time taking a bath (I throw in some Epsom salt & accomplish some detoxing while I’m relaxing- multitasking!) reading a book or going for a walk. I have started doing these things more regularly that even my husband can recognize how helpful they are for me. When I am started to get stressed he will encourage me to do one of these 3 things. I know some women who do not enjoy a bath whatsoever. That’s okay, it just needs to be something that after you’ve spent 20 or more minutes doing it you feel refreshed.
#9 Organize your menu during the week for healthy meals, prep on Sunday for the week ahead and include your family.
This step is important on so many levels. Later we will talk about the importance of having a family meal together. This step helps you make sure that happens. Also, when we’re eating healthy we are giving our bodies better fuel to get through the busy days & weeks. It’s like giving your car the best quality gasoline for better performance. How many of you had felt that panic at 4:00 from not knowing what to make your family for dinner? That’s stressful! By doing this step, you can completely cut that stressor out of your life. How many of you have to fight your kids to eat the dinner you prepared? While, I can’t promise you can eliminate that stressor completely, getting the kids involved in the menu planning can help ensure there are a couple meals they will eat willingly. You might be surprised what they pick for their choices. It can also help with the mental block of what should I make for dinner but you are doing it days in advance. Kids like repetition, so don’t be afraid to make the same healthy meal frequently. Once you’ve found something healthy they eat well, make it often. You’ll have the recipe memorized quickly, which will make meal prep a synch. My weeks always go much better when I’ve done the meal prep and planning on Sunday, or sometime during the weekend. The weeks do not always go according to plan but it is much easier to move a meal to a different day than to come up with meal on the fly.
#8 Use music in your home, car or during breaks to set or change the mood.
Technology has made this so easy to do. There are so many different ways to access music. The trick to this is to recognize what kind of mood you want the music to encourage. Do you need quiet & slow to bring things down from a busy day or do you need something fast & upbeat to boost your energy? Let music help you accomplish the mood that needs to be set.
#7 Avoid negative thinking.
Studies have shown that staying positive is good for your general well being. Get in the habit of gratitude. No matter what, there is always something we can be grateful for & the more we focus on that, the better our outlook becomes.
A good or bad attitude can take any situation & either give it a boost or drag it down. It can also be encouraging to others when you have a good attitude during hard times. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neurologist says “We have to develop disciplined thought lives and part of this is increasing our awareness of what we are allowing into our minds.” Our
tendency is to think negatively, especially towards ourselves. We can become unaware of the many negative things we say to ourselves, about ourselves and our situation.It all starts with awareness and then becoming disciplined to change you thought pattern. We might still have bad days. Days when you feel discouraged and disappointed. That’s okay. The main thing is to not stay there. Don’t let this become your normal. When we look for things to be thankful for and the positive things in our life, they become our focus and our attitude improves. This is huge in managing stress.
#6 Motion is Life – take time to move your body in exercise 20 minutes a day (walking, rebounding, dancing).
You may choose to do this as the time you take for yourself. Only if that refreshes you. If it does, you can accomplish 2 things at once. If you do not particularly enjoy exercise, look for things you do enjoy that involve movement. It doesn’t have to be the traditional things we think of with exercise. Incorporate your kids with this, if that helps. Kids have motion mastered. At least for my 4 kids, there is no shortage of energy or movement. You can just go outside and play with them for 20 minutes. This will improve the quality time with you family, which it tip #3 for managing stress, we will discuss that in the next blog. Go for a walk or a hike. We like to have dance parties at home, with the kids. There are lots of ways to move. Especially if you work a job that requires you to sit all day, motion will help counter act the damage of sitting and is much more of a necessity. Motion truly is life and will help you manage you stress better. It is a great stress reliever.
Stay tuned to Facebook next week for my remaining 5 tips! Start implementing these this week and in next week’s post tell me how you delt with stesss this week!