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Tried and True Action Steps to Manage Stress
This past year has lead to a ton of loss in my life. The losses created a great deal of stress. Let me try and explain a little. My husband and I went through something that nearly destroyed our marriage. My son was dealing with some social issues at school and my other son was dealing with some serious learning challenges. All this happened in a short 4 month period. We went through some more stuff with my older child and it all seemed to slow down around Easter. I was a mental hot mess.
In order for me to work through the mess, I had to establish a few things in my life to help me cope with all the stress. Here are a few of the action steps I had to take in order to feel steady during such a challenging time.
Establish A Morning routine
I had to create a morning routine. This routine allowed me to have extra time before my children wake up. My routine consists of reading my Bible, praying and spending some time worshipping and making my daily to-do list. My goal is to follow this routine 6 days a week. I allow myself to sleep in on Saturdays. This routine allowed me to be able to spend a few minutes in my own mind, with God preparing for the day. I’m not gonna lie, some days it’s hard. Some days I can’t put my phone down because Facebook has sucked me in. But the day’s that I do spend the whole hour doing what I said I was going to do, those are my favorite days of the week.
I started with saying I would get up 15 minutes earlier. But I quickly learned that 15 minutes goes super fast. So then I increased it to 30 minutes. I would have my coffee, read and pray in 20 minutes. Eventually, I increased it to 60 minutes before my little people would wake up. That 60 minutes is just enough time for me to rejuvenate and focus for my day ahead. I also make my daily to-do list of everything I need to accomplish that day. Including meetings, phone calls I have to make, after school activities, and my tasks for my job and my blog. This list keeps me on track. The days I don’t make it is a big fast waste of a day.
Day of Rest
Saturday has become our day of rest. Sometimes my husband has to work on Sunday’s and some times I have to work on Sunday’s, so Saturday’s have become our rest day. It kind of just happened. I noticed we would work on Sunday’s and prepare for the week and used Saturday as a family day. Also on Sunday’s I have found that we often volunteer at church which falls into work as well. Even with my blog I have been taking Saturday’s off. Blogging doesn’t feel like work but I need to have time to rest.
By allowing my mind to rest and body to rest, it creates more creativity. I think more clearly and I have more patients with writing and working. Resting also helps the body to relax and destress. With the daily life challenges, resting allows the body a break from the schedule and the business of the day to day.
For me, on Saturday’s I will play with the boys. I will actually play video games with them. We will go for a hike or a bike ride. Sometimes we have activities to attend so we go to those. We have a boat load of fun on Saturday’s. We have some significant family time and that allows for us to connect where during the week we sometimes don’t connect as well because of how busy the week is. My husband joins in on the family time too. He prefers to play the video games with the boys or go see a movie so we try and include that too.
I just started adding workouts into my routine. I used to workout all the time. Like 5-6 times a week. I was crazy about it. My body was strong and my could keep up with my kids. This past year though my life has been a big hot mess so I let go of a lot of things. Fitness and healthy eating were one of them. The stress levels in my life were so high I started seeing a counselor during the time I would workout. Now, the stress is lowering and I’m still seeing my counselor, but I have a better handle on the stress and I’m ready to start working out again. I have a blog post here, Top 3 Workout Gear, that you can check out that talks about the my top 3 workout gear items I needed to replace when I started to workout.
Finally, these action steps helped me reduce the stress in my life and allow me to focus on what is right in front of me. I strive for 6 days a week of the morning routine. Workouts I’m still working back into my life and the day of rest is essential for our family and for me. I feel more in control of myself and my feelings and how I am reacting to the every day stuff. I hope you are able to take something from this post and make it yours.
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.