We're always looking for ways to relieve stress. It seems no matter what you do, stress has a way of creeping into your life. And if you let it go for too long, unchecked stress can create many problems.
The nine tips below provide a framework of proactive steps you can take over a weekend that should greatly reduce stress during your workweek.
If you work Monday through Friday, there's nothing worse than having to do a late night emergency load of laundry just to have something to wear the next day.
When it's all done before Monday rolls around, you can relax knowing you won't be short on garments. Not to mention, you won't have to think about laundry until next weekend!
Just think how much time and energy you can save by not having to worry where that blue shirt is when you want to wear it on Wednesday. And bonus stress relief comes when you already know what you're going to wear.
Which leads us to stress reliever 2 . . .
You have a closet full of clean clothes. Now you just have to decide what to wear.
Avoid morning brain fog and pick your outfits for the week on Sunday. Find a small section in your closet where you can hang coordinating garments together and place them in order of the day you will wear them.
Doing this ahead of time allows you to know that what you will wear, and know that it is ready wear.
If you're like me, you may want to give yourself time to try on a few of your choices and make sure they fit appropriately. I can tell you from experience that it makes for a difficult morning when you're getting dressed and realize something doesn't fit. You then have to spend extra time finding something that does fit, and risk running far behind schedule.
Save yourself the added stress and put this tip into your schedule. And speaking of schedules - on to tip 3 . . .
Being proactive about your schedule is far better than being reactive. It is the difference between being driven chaotically by disorder and being carried gently along by order.
Which is why planning and knowing your schedule for the entire week is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
Knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it allows for easier planning all around.
An organized schedule helps you free up brain space to plan your wardrobe, meals, shopping, family activities, etc. And you can then put your subconscious mind to work percolating on the things you need to accomplish, developing ideas, and organizing your thoughts. Your subconscious is a powerful ally when given proper direction.
Planning meals ahead of time gives you the potential to kill two birds with one stone.
Being proactive about meal planning can help you make healthier choices. It also allows you to be more efficient when shopping. Not only will you save money, but you can avoid numerous trips to the grocery store during your busy week.
This also works for eating out. If you know what nights you will be out, you can go ahead and pick the restaurant. And possibly go ahead and choose what you will order, again, freeing up that brain space for more important - or creative - thoughts.
One of the more pleasurable aspects of meal planning is always having an answer to the question, "What's for dinner?" It makes your life much easier when you have an instant answer, or can say, "Look at the meal calendar on the refrigerator."
More ease and convenience = less unwanted stress!
Once you know what you and your family will eat during the week, you can make your grocery list. Here's how we do it in our home:
One of the ways to relieve stress around meals is to prepare them, or prepare key ingredients ahead of time.
Using the spaghetti example again (can you tell that's one of my favorite meals?) you could cook the ground beef over the weekend and refrigerate or freeze it to get a jump on Wednesday night's dinner.
Make oatmeal in a crockpot on Sunday and portion it out. This is a great way to get a jump on a healthy breakfast for the week. Keep it in the refrigerator in grab-and-go containers so it can be taken to school or the office if necessary.
If you take very many daily medications, the potential for errors in administration goes up significantly.
One way to escape these types of errors is to set up a pill box with containers for days and time of day. These are very inexpensive and can be found at most pharmacies or online.
This organization tip not only relieves stress, it's a good time management tool. By having your meds sorted for the week, you know well in advance if a prescription need to be refilled. You then have plenty of time to complete the process required by your doctor or insurance provider.
If you take dietary supplements, or want to take them, then setting up a weekly pill box puts you one step closer to that goal by organizing your supplements in one easy place.
And if owning a pill box seems too extreme, snack sized plastic storage bags labeled with a permanent marker will also work well for the job.
Before I began working from home, I frequently started my day off on a sour note - especially on Mondays - because I didn't have my belongings in one place, ready to walk out the door with me.
I'd typically run around asking, "Where is my briefcase?" "Where is my laptop cable?" "Where are my office keys?" "Where is my work ID card?"
And those were just my things. I'd usually have some items to track down for the kids as well.
This is no way to live. Instead of running around in a mad rush making everyone late in the mornings, find it all the night before and sit it by the door all packed up and ready to go.
If you already do this, you know what a wonderful feeling it is to grab everything you need and walk out of the house with the day firmly in your grasp. As opposed to feeling disorganized, unprepared, and late because you are searching (sometimes in vain) for things vital to your day.
I love my sleep! In fact, I would naturally rise sometime around lunch if it were not for my two alarm clocks and the alarm on my phone.
I have one alarm clock beside my bed and another one across the room. I think of the one beside my bed as sort of a pre-alarm clock. It gets me started waking up while the one across the room forces me to get up and turn it off five minutes later.
Once I am out of bed and on the other side of the room, I am usually good to go. But if I happen to make it back into bed, I have a secret weapon.
I noticed some years ago that a ringing telephone always wakes me up. I figured that out by noticing how easily I got up from wake-up calls in hotels.
Now, I have my phone alarm set to use the ringing telephone sound, and set to go off within five minutes of my second alarm. Luckily, this secret weapon alarm has never failed me.
If one alarm works fine for you, use it. But if it takes more than an alarm to wake you, find a system you can rely on and begin using it.
These are just nine ways to relieve stress. There are actually many more. Find the ones that work for you and put them to systematic use.
It may take some practice, and perhaps persuasion for some family members. But once your system is in place, your life will seem to flow much easier, and you'll be much happier and relaxed!