For the past few months I have been feeling completely overwhelmed. I have goals I am constantly setting for my business (on top of the workload I already have), and the responsibility of raising three kids is no joke. I am basically working two full-time jobs, and I have lived for months hustling and stressing and being so sleep deprived.
I haven’t improved in the sleep area, but I have really worked on trying to de-stress my life. Most of the stress I felt was self inflicted and I just couldn’t let it weigh me down any longer. Over time, I made a handful of small changes that all worked together to finally help me better manage my stress levels. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in control. I don’t spend as much time feeling stretched, guilty, or stressed, and I have come up with 7 tips that have helped me to de-stress my life, which I want to share with you. Hopefully they will help some of you!
1. Keep a positive outlook on situations:
When I get stressed, I tend to get a “woe is me” attitude. I have too much to do, the world is caving in, and I feel like I’m drowning. But when I mentally force myself to say, “things will all work out; this isn’t the end of the world,” the truth is…they really do work out! If I spend less time lamenting the aspects of my life that I can’t control and put my focus toward the few that I can, it helps me feel like I have a much better grasp on things. “I can’t get back home in time to make that 10:30 call, but I can give advanced notice that I won’t be able to make it, and reschedule it for tomorrow.” Focus on the positives because filling your head with negative thoughts will only slow you down and stress you out more.
2. Take time each day to get yourself ready:
After having my third baby, I made an important realization in my morning routine: when I leave my bedroom in the morning to go downstairs, chances are I won’t make it back up to my bedroom for a long time. I turn on my “mom mode” and get caught up packing lunches, helping kids, doing laundry, picking up toys, etc. So I try to get myself as ready as possible before I head downstairs to the kids. It is amazing what a fresh shower, great smelling deodorant, and a little bit of makeup can do for my productivity level each day.
I’ve partnered with Dove and have been using Dove’s Advanced Care Antiperspirant in the ‘Revive’ scent for the past few weeks. I love the fresh fruity sent it has, and I haven’t even felt the need to wear perfume because my deodorant smells so good! It offers 48 hours of protection, and keeps me fresh and dry throughout a long stressful day. Even amid running from school, to karate, to soccer, and trying to respond to emails and meet deadlines in between my errands, I haven’t had the need to reapply later in the day (which if you know me…I’m constantly reapplying deodorant! I have travel size backups in my purse and car!). In addition, the NutriumMoisture formula moisturizes my skin and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. When I am clean and somewhat presentable I’m better prepared to take on the demands of the day.
3. Plan to be early:
As a kid, my family was late to everything and I hated it. I’ve tried really hard to break that mold with my own family. But the mornings that I stress and rush my boys from getting dressed, to eating breakfast, to brushing their teeth and out the door, I realized that I was stressing them out. That is the last thing I want my kids to feel as I kiss them goodbye for the next 6 hours. So I started mentally preparing myself to be ready to leave so that we would be 10 minutes early to school, church, play dates, etc. And for the days that we just can’t get there on time, I make a conscious effort to take deep breaths and hide my frustration from the kids. I just tell myself I will try harder tomorrow.
4. Cut the fat:
This was pretty much my mantra for 2016. If it stresses me out just thinking about doing it, then I need to politely decline. If there is a part of me that wants to do it, I usually agree. I say yes to the things I can, but I try to put my kids and my work priorities first. I have gotten a lot better about predicting what I can/can’t handle. Do I want to make homemade cupcakes for my son’s class on his birthday? Of course I do! I know making food for 25 kids will take time, and transportation could be messy, so I buy 2 packs of Oreos instead and deliver those. My son is happy, and I am not stressed. Win win!
5. Put your phone away for 30 minutes a day:
I am not exaggerating when I tell you I currently have 25 unread text messages. I won’t even tell you what my inbox looks like. Just by looking at my phone my mind goes crazy with people I need to respond to, pictures I need to edit, snaps I want to watch, emails I need to read, etc. I can get sucked so deep into my phone that it causes me to snap at my kids if they “interrupt” me by asking me a question. Then I go to bed feeling stressed that I still have unanswered messages and feeling guilty for snapping. I’ve been trying to leave my phone upstairs or turn it off for a chunk of time after school. I send Garrett a quick text letting him know I won’t have my phone for a bit, and then I focus 100% on my kids. That devoted time reading a book, talking about their day, practicing spelling words, and spending time invested in them gives me real tangible connections with my kids that lower my stress levels and give me an immediate sense of accomplishment.
6. Write it down:
When my mind is overflowing with “to do’s,” I have to write them down to get them out of my head and onto paper. I have a notepad I carry around the house with me, and I start a new note page each day. If I don’t get something done that day, it goes back on the list the next day. There is something calming about physically crossing off an accomplishment and starting with a clean slate each morning.
I’m finally getting back into a good exercise routine. I set hours that I work in the mornings (while the older kids are at school, or when my sitter comes in the morning for a few hours twice a week). By getting my work done during a time period I have set, it frees up my evenings or early mornings to go to the gym. A good workout makes my body feel good and my brain more clear and focused. I don’t always have time to shower afterward though, so my Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant sometimes has to act as my perfume and my shower. 😉
Here is the recap:
1. Keep a positive outlook on situations
2. Take time each day to get yourself ready
3. Plan to be early
4. Cut the fat
5. Put your phone away for 30 minutes a day
6. Write it down
Do you have other things that you do that help with your stress level? Leave me a comment below; I would love to hear other suggestions!