Lately I’ve felt really stressed.
The new school year started up, over the summer Emma was diagnosed as having a mild learning disability, and life has just been busy all around. When I took a step back I noticed that I stopped doing some things over the summer that had been a part of my routine during the second half of the last school year. So I went ahead and tried to get back to those little things that I let slip by the wayside. And guess what – they did help me let go of some of that stress! Maybe they can also help you regain your sanity.
My 5 tips to (help) regain your sanity:
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I don’t mean become a gym rat, or an every day runner. I mean get into a schedule that you can manage for your life right now, but get moving! Twice a week I take dance classes at the same studio my girls dance at, and I’m trying to fit a few of my walk/jog routes into my week also.
At first I thought getting my move on was to help me lose weight. While it does help a little with that, what it really helps with is my mindset. Getting out, alone, and wandering the neighbourhood in the fresh air just relaxes me. And I love the little endorphin kick I get from it as well.
Spend time in nature
You can combine this one with getting more exercise if you like. Take a hike in a local park, go sit on a bench under a tree, or read a book in your backyard. Just get outside for a while.
I had seen some headlines about a study that “proves” that looking at trees lowers your stress levels. I followed the links to find the study. It’s in the Environment and Behaviour Journal. I’ll be honest – I only read the abstract (mostly because you have to subscribe to the journal to read more) but it sounds like an interesting comparison. I’ve read enough journal articles in my school life to know there would be a lot of stuff and a lot of statistics that I don’t really understand, and the abstract just quickly summarizes the study and the conclusion. So I feel validated in saying that sitting outside may help you regain your sanity.
Listen to music
This one is huge for me. Again, it’s a little thing but when I don’t do it I can really see and feel a difference. I know in terms of stress relief and such people think about listening to Classical Music, or other calming notes. I don’t do that. Alternative rock is my happy place. Classic rock is right up there too. Actually anything with a guitar and a good beat can get my toes tapping. Country music is really the only genre I say I don’t like – and that’s not 100% true either because some of that is fun for me too.
Every day I get about 8 or 10 minutes of listening while I walk from my parking spot to work. Some days I miss that (if I forgot to charge my headphones or if I get dropped off in the morning) and if I miss it 2 or more days in a row I feel it. I’m not as happy, my grump is quicker to jump out and I just don’t like that feeling. And yes, we listen to music at work, but it’s about a 10 song rotation on the radio and I can only enjoy Justin Bieber asking if it’s too late to say Sorry so many times in a day.
Have a glass of wine
Or beer, spirits, whatever you like. When it’s been a long day/week/month I like to unwind with an alcoholic beverage. Usually it’s a night when I’m home with the kids but without the husband.
I find it hard to juggle two kids with two different bedtimes, one of whom will also have homework and the other will cry because we can’t watch tv until homework’s done. Even though younger child has no homework – it’s a tough concept for her. But we muddle through. If the workday was long and annoying the wine will be opened to have with dinner, but if it wasn’t so bad I’ll wait until at least the first kid is in bed.
Get that all important “Me Time”
I know all of the above items could be me time activities. But seriously, make some time for you to spend without your kids. Whether you get up early (I know, I can’t do it, but some people can!) and take that walk, or sit in nature for a bit before the kids get up; or pay a babysitter so you can get out in the evening (with or without your spouse – that’s up to you!) for a movie, or a coffee with friends, it’s important to nurture yourself as much as you nurture your family.
Most Sundays my Mother-In-Law takes the girls to church and they spend the day together, sometimes with other cousins as well. We’ll all meet up in the late afternoon for family dinner. It’s amazing and it works wonders for my sanity. I get to do some exercise, some housework, and sometimes some blog work done. I will be forever in her debt for all she does for us – and the girls get the benefit of special time with Nanny!
Yes, I know all of these tips won’t work for everyone. You have to learn ways to regain your sanity, but these definitely help me out. If you have another tip that works for you, share it in the comments! I’m always up for trying something new, and I’m sure my readers are too. Also let me know if you try one of my tips, and how it worked for you. I love interaction with you, my readers. It helps me know what you like to read about, as well as if I’m actually posting useful things. So keep the comments coming, and don’t be shy!