Has life gone crazy? Or is that just my perception? It just seems like everyone -- including myself -- is frantically running from here to there, with a list that never ends. We've become a society of Chicken Littles proclaiming the sky is falling down. It's no wonder the rate of depression, along with obesity and a mile long list of other negative ailments is forever increasing. We have little time for ourselves -- mentally and physically -- and many are merely surviving.
Yoga, meditation, reading and various other activities can help with our stress levels, but because we already have such limited time due to our demands, how are we supposed to fit in one more thing? It's almost laughable to think about. As in everything in life, it's a balancing act. First, to alleviate our stress levels, we need a handle on time management. And then when our time is used as wisely as possible, we can move beyond and perhaps find that time to be still. When that occurs we haven't just overcome survival, but rather we can become a force for good to all those around. But right now, as far as we're concerned, we're into survival, so let's go over 17 immediate stress reducers and time-management tools.
- Prepare for the morning the night before. Make the children's lunches, set the breakfast table, lay out clothes for the next day etc.
- Arise fifteen minutes earlier in the morning, giving you leeway for the usual morning mishaps.
- Write down all appointments and errands. Don't trust your memory. I use a very simple calendar/planner that's small enough to fit into my purse but big enough to jot down important appointments or when library books are due etc.
- Make a list and prioritize. Take care of the most important things first and work your way down the list.
- Plan activities -- whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly -- in advance when possible. You may be able to combine activities. For example, drop your kid off at scouts and do your grocery shopping in that hour before you have to pick up again. It's not really enough time to go home and get something productive done before you have to turn back around. But it is the perfect amount of time to do your grocery shopping.
- Delegate tasks whenever possible to your spouse or children. Chores actually help children learn about responsibility. And if your budget allows, hire help.
- Train your family with certain tasks for future delegation.
- Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot, or give a copy to a trusted neighbor. Carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, separate from your key ring.
- Preventative Maintenance. Keep up with the maintenance of your car and appliances before they break down. My husband has always been great with this and our cars. We've had the occasional comment over the years of our <i>characteristic</i> vehicles, but they've kept on going . . .
- Eliminate or reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet.
- Don't procrastinate. Procrastination is stressful. If you want to do it tomorrow, do it today. But ask yourself first if it's really important, and then do it now or consider dropping it or delegating it.
- Don't over-schedule.
- Use a large bulletin board for family messages and large calendar for activities and appointments.
- Organize family papers in a special area -- whether it's a box or a file. This will save time so you're not looking for mislaid items.
- Plan ahead. Don't let the gas tank get below 1/4 of a tank, keep home staples stocked, develop shortcuts for household duties.
- Don't put up with something that doesn't work correctly. Get it fixed or toss and replace.
- Teach your children how to save time and commit to <i>quality time</i> with your kids.
These tips should help on your journey in reducing stress in your life. Good luck!