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“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” — Bruce Lee
Our lives can get hectic. Lots of commitments, lots of things we want to do and lots to keep up with. It’s no wonder many of us become overwhelmed.
Simplifying our lives can help us manage these feelings. However, living a simpler life takes some practice. Here are some ideas to help you on your own journey to simpler.
- Slow Down You can’t, despite your best efforts, be in constant motion and be at your best. You need to know when to take your foot off the gas and just rest a little.
- De-clutter Too much physical and mental clutter is not good for us. Streamline and de-clutter regularly. If you don’t need it or it doesn’t serve a positive purpose, eject it.
- Limit Choices We have so many choices available to us that many of us struggle to make any choice at all. Counter this by purposefully limiting your options at times. There is a power in limiting choices.
- The Power of No Make sure you’re saying yes to the right invites. The invites that mean you get to spend time with those you care about, or on things you care about and goals that are important to you. Learn to say a polite “No, thank you” to invitations that don’t fit this bill. The ones that don’t add to your life in some way.
- Spend Time Disconnected We are spending more and more of our time plugged in. This can lead to obsessively checking messages, blogs, emails, tweets, etc. We’re in danger of letting life pass us by while we click away.
As fantastic and powerful as technology is, we need to make regular time to disconnect as well.
- Limit Negativity Reduce external negative voices by surrounding yourself with the right people as much as possible. Also, ensure your own self-talk is positive and you don’t get in your own way.
- Give Back The things that give us the rosiest feelings or that we’re most proud of often involve giving or providing a service to someone else. Make giving back a constant goal. This could be something big or small, but just make giving a part of your life.
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Work deadlines are looming. The kids have soccer practice — at the same time, but in different places. They have homework and projects due. Your parents asked you to come over to help with yard work…it goes on and on.
If you’re like most families, you face stress every day. By taking a few steps, you can prevent, detect and manage stress for a happier and healthier family life.
What’s stress anyway?
Stress involves life’s demands and how you meet them. Your job, family problems, health, outlook on life, finances and social network — they all can produce stress. When life’s demands are greater than what you can handle, you start to feel stressed. The way you feel when you’re stressed — low energy, headaches, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat — is the same way your body responds to danger and aggression.
When stress lasts for weeks or longer, it can hurt your health. Hormones released when you’re stressed can disrupt your whole body, increasing your risk for heart disease, obesity, digestive problems, mem-ory impairment, insomnia and depression, among other things.
Children can feel stress, too.
Stress isn’t just for adults. Many children experience a level of stress that interferes with life, activities and health. Parents should watch the following signs:
- Physical stress symptoms in children can include changes in eating habits, head-aches, new or recurrent bedwetting, nightmares and other sleep disturbances, stuttering and stomach problems.
- Emotional symptoms include anxiety, excessive worrying, the inability to relax, new or recurring fears, clinginess, questioning, anger, crying, an inability to control emotions, and aggressive or stubborn behaviour.
Tips for helping your child manage stress:
- Provide a safe, consistent and dependable home.
- Be selective in TV viewing.
- Spend calm, relaxed time with your child or children.
- Encourage your children to talk and express concerns.
Set aside time for physical activity.
- Build your children’s feelings of self-worth.
- Allow your children opportunities to make choices and have some control of their lives.
- Seek professional guidance when signs of stress seem unmanageable
Managing your stress as a parent:
We’ll always have some stress in our lives, but there are steps you can take to keep it under control.
- Make sure you take care of yourself.
- Eat healthy snacks and meals, exercise and make sure you get enough sleep.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy.
- Lean on your support system.
- Talk things through with friends and family members who can be positive.
- Set limits.
- Be nice, but firm and say no if you or your kids can’t do something.
- Ask for help.
- Don’t be afraid to get help from a health care professional if your stress levels are too high. Sometimes other health problems have symptoms similar to stress, so it’s important to make sure your symptoms aren’t a sign of something else.
Try these quick stress relievers.
You don’t need a week at a spa or retreat. Just spend 15 minutes or less trying one of these stress management techniques.
- Breathe deeply for five minutes.
- Take in your surroundings — i.e. how the air feels on your face, how your feet feel hitting the ground.
- Talk to a loved one.
- Relax all your muscles, from head to toe.
- Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes.
- Laugh out loud.
- Listen to music.