If there is one thing I really DON’T like it’s stress. It just drains me. Due to this I try to avoid it where I can. I have found to my happiness, that there are endless little hacks for avoiding stress and helping life run smoothly.
One can have a crazy horrid day or a calm happy day, and the difference may be simply the way we do things.
Last week I was reflecting on the stress repelling hacks and habits we use in our own family household. I compiled some of them here below!Ten little hacks to reduce stress.
1. We all know this but I’m going to say it anyway… Designate a place for every thing in your home. Especially frequently needed items like car keys, handbags, and school uniforms. Never put them anywhere else but the designated places! This will save your family at the very least 60 minutes of stressful searching each week. That’s around 3000 minutes a year! Who needs that much unnecessary stress!
2. When you go to the shopping centre choose a favourite entrance and always park near that same entrance in roughly the same place. You will never lose your car again.
3. There are certain things that are harder to find in the supermarket than finding a needle in a haystack. Like the lentils. When you do find them, grab an extra pack or two so you don’t need to search for them again for a while. Also grab extras of any frequently used items so you aren’t constantly rushing to the shops for basics.
4. One of the biggest stress savers in adult life is a stash of emergency money. Keep some in an account somewhere. And I mean savings not a credit card as the interest on a credit debt is like a snowball rolling down a hill. Keep your Emergency Funds in a separate account, or a separate bank. There will be a few emergencies each year and you will make everyones life easier by being able to sail through. $1000 is a minimum. Read what home finance guru ‘Dave Ramsey’ says on this topic.
5. A secret to living at a calmer pace is to only book up 60% of your daylight hours. The other 40% will easily be filled up by all the unexpected things that happen in life. Here are some examples that could happen in one week. Your child suddenly has a big homework project due, tomorrow. Your friend asks you to help them move house. The dog gets a snake bite and has to go to the vet. The washing machine breaks down. Your colleague is away and you have to work 30% more… If all your waking hours are planned then the unexpected things are going to kill you.
6. Plan FAT margins between commitments. Margins help us stay relaxed and arrive on time. If one of your FAT margins proves a bit too long have a nap or do a 10 minute tidy up.
7. We all have mobile phones but our kids phone batteries seem to always be going flat because they got our old phone or because they forget to charge it. They especially go flat just when they want to call us to pick them up from somewhere. Save this stress by agreeing (beforehand) on a default time and place to meet or pick them up. JUST in case. This saves a lot of worry and hassle. It is also wise to gradually collect their friends numbers too (I do this every time my daughter calls me from someone else’s phone when her battery is flat!). I have bought my teens extra battery packs but do they remember to take them?! Not usually.
8. Before your teen uses their new mobile phone DO get them a glass screen protector and a good cover. (And if you are generous enough to buy them their first phone, it can be good to tell them that when they break it they are paying for the next one from savings/chores/birthday money. They will take good care of it that way : )
9. If some item in your home is driving your crazy because you have to constantly tidy it up, get rid of it or reduce it. 15 cushions on the sofa? 150 types of toys in the toyroom?
10. When we get an invitation to an event or commitment it’s wise to give ourselves time to think. If we say ‘I’ll check my diary and get back to you on that’ we can first assess the next week/month first. If we realise we have enough on our plate then we simply say ‘Sorry I would have loved to but I have realised I already have enough commitments this week/month/year’. Anything we say yes to, means saying no to something else.
In China there’s a saying: ‘Man man zuo’. It translates to ‘slow slow walk’ meaning ‘Take it slow’…
Right now I myself am having a hiatus after a rather intense 6 weeks when my Dad was in hospital and I supported my parents in a lot of practical and administrative ways. I felt I was getting seriously worn out, so now that he is home I told my mum I just had to have a break to catch my breath and focus on my own home and family. We can run ourselves ragged to the point of not being able to help anyone. Or, we can be sensible and slow down.
Living slower means more time for deeper relationships with those we love. It means more time to rest and live with sanity and calm. Maybe even humour!