Do you ever get that feeling that just one more little thing might put you over the edge? Like your head is spinning trying to remember it all and do it all and keep it all straight? Yeah, that can create a whole lot of stress! Well, here are 5 simple solutions on how to eliminate some of those stress-inducers. (No, simple does not mean easy…but some straightforward actions can truly make a difference in your life.) Get ready to have a whole new outlook!
We long for calm mornings, peaceful dinners, easy conversations with our spouse, happy children…oh yeah. Can you just see it now? But then there’s reality. We feel rushed and disorganized and pressured. Simply put, we feel overwhelmed. Y’know, that feeling of being one step behind, like you’re always having to play catch-up? I’ve said that so many times!
Well, here are 5 steps you can take to help reduce the stress and feel better about your day. The first step in reducing stress is identifying where that stress comes from. And it sure does come from lots of places!
Accept the Things You Can’t Control
This one is huge! In a nutshell, all stress actually comes from having a lack of control. I mean, ultimately we never really have full control over anything. But in general, when we feel like we don’t have control, we get anxious…even overwhelmed! Think about it…how would you feel if your house was in order so you knew where everything was, your children were happily playing, your days were planned out, your hubby did all the things you’d like him to do, you knew how to manage your finances…sigh…can’t you see it now? Well, if you’re anything like me, this is NOT the life you live! But I’ve gotten much better at two things; one is I’ve learned how to stay in better control over all those things, and secondly, I’ve learned to accept the things that I don’t have a handle on. Please don’t try to tackle everything at once! You will make yourself crazy. But you can choose just one thing, one goal, to focus on. As you gain control over one area of your life, you’ll be ready to take on the next. And each time it will get easier.
Create a Budget
Okay, this one is huge too! Money is a hot topic and can lead to many arguments. Not having enough money puts a strain on every relationship you have. In fact, money-related issues can have a negative effect on all aspects of your life. The solution seems simple! Bring in more money. But a bigger paycheck won’t solve the problem. In fact, it could even make it worse. What really needs to happen is to start getting control over your money. (Yep, there’s that control word again!) It’s time to create, and stick to, a budget. There are lots of resources out there. I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey. His method for managing money is simple and straight-forward…and it works. Whatever resource you use, you must budget. Telling your money where to go is much better than your money making decisions for you.
Take Care of Yourself and Get Enough Sleep
So, all of you moms out there, raise your hand if you’ve gone a day without a shower because you were taking care of a baby, not gotten enough sleep due to a sick little one, forgot to eat because the dishes and laundry and help with homework came first…oh, the list can go on and on. We moms want to be everything for everybody. Am I right? So we put our families, and all that goes with them, ahead of ourselves. We love them! We want to be the best, and do the best, for them! Here’s the problem…we don’t eat, we get grumpy; we don’t sleep, we get impatient; we don’t relax, we get stressed. And how many times a day do you think about eating healthier, or getting in a walk, or reading that book you’ve been wanting to? But it’s not a priority, so it just doesn’t happen. And to top it all off, as if we don’t feel bad enough already, guilt sets in. Because we know we SHOULD be taking care of ourselves. Ugh! It’s a vicious cycle. So hear me when I tell you, YOU ARE WORTH IT! You are worth taking the time to take care of yourself. And your family is worth it! Don’t they deserve the best of you? You are not able to give your best when there’s just not much left of you give. So let’s start today! Schedule some time for yourself. Yes. SCHEDULE! Seriously, pencil it in on your calendar. Get your husband on board, or a friend or someone, who can take care of things for a little bit. Or if your kids are old enough or in school, make that time happen. Even 15 minutes can help you recharge!
Time Block One Important Thing
I once read something about whether we should want more time, or enough time. It definitely made me stop and think. I’m always saying I need more time. But we all have the same 24 hours, right? Just look at what some people have done with their 24 hours. Bill Gates sure used his time to learn and grow a huge business! He didn’t have more time than we do…so what exactly is the difference? Focus. Diligence. Priorities. Have you ever had a day, or maybe just a morning, where you felt super accomplished and productive? Why did that happen? You stuck with a task and kept from getting distracted. You had focus. You were diligent. You made that task a priority. For most of us, that’s not our usual day, is it? But it could be! You don’t even need that to be your whole day! Carve out some time that you will spend doing one thing, and one thing only. You decide what that will look like. Playing with your kids? Working on a project? Creating a meal plan? If you can block out one hour of your time, just one, every day, you’re on your way to some awesome time management skills! This means putting away your phone, not switching the laundry, not getting the mail. Just one thing. Tonight before you go to bed, think about tomorrow and block out one hour. Make yourself a promise that this hour will be sacred and not touched by anything (barring any emergency). How will you spend that hour? And by the way, when that hour is up, STOP. Set your timer if you have to. Please don’t get carried away.
Start to Organize and De-Clutter
When you look around your house, what do you see? A pile of mail? School papers? Dishes? Magazines? A jacket? Toys? If you’re like me, just seeing all this stresses me out! But for some people (my hubby included!) having a mess actually isn’t stressful. So that kinda boggles my mind, because it simply isn’t how my brain thinks. But here’s what it can do, even when that mess seems like no big deal…you lose things. Yep! I bet you knew I would say that. Who of us hasn’t misplaced our child’s permission slip, or left the school picture forms under a pile only to have forgotten until the day of. And that leaves us scrambling. And that is, well, stressful. How about the bill that got left in the pile of mail and ends up with a late fee? Ever been there? Yeah, that adds stress too. What about stepping on a toy (a Lego!!) or even worse, your mother-in-law stepping on one? Stressful!! So clearly you can’t just decide no more and wave your magic wand. (Picture me waving my pretend magic wand in the air as I tell my kids that my wand is broken. Yep. Done that many, many times haha!) Anyway, so what can you do? How about just one thing? Hmmmm, seeing a pattern here? But truly, just pick one small area. Maybe it’s the toys, maybe the mail…whatever it is, decide to no longer let it go. (This is not the place for Elsa to start singing!) I know big things are overwhelming. That’s why I want you to take one step at a time. When my first child was born, it was the toys that got to me. One day I simply decided no more. I got a basket, and every night my daughter and I picked up the toys. Were we perfect? Of course not. Were there nights toys were left out? Yep! But 20+ years and 6 kids later, my living room stays fairly picked up. And so can yours!
Are You Ready to Reduce that Stress?
So there are lot of ways you can start to eliminate some of the stress that hangs around your home, and this may seem overwhelming. That totally defeats the solution! So here’s what I’d like you to do…start small! Just pick one thing to start working on, and gradually add another and another. Over time, you’ll begin to see results, real results. And this is gonna snowball! Feeling a little less stressed will motivate you to work on another area, and then another. The less stress you have, the better you’ll feel, and the happier and more joyful and satisfied you’ll become. This, in turn, will get you to attempt yet another stress-eliminator. How cool is that?!
Life is just too short, and our families are just too important, to be living a life full of stress. So what will you tackle first?