Stress is always going to be here. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
We are human beings living in the real world. You get sick, you get injured, you’re overwhelmed by your busy ass schedule, you run into financial issues, family issues, your car breaks down, ugh…. and on and on. And that’s just the normal stuff.
Maybe we can’t avoid the stress, but we can certainly do things to handle ourselves differently, or prepare ourselves before the stress even hits.
I read all the time about how important it is to practice self-care. And I 100% agree.
However, I don’t agree with the idea that self-care is about going to the spa for the day or locking yourself in the bathroom at home with a bubble bath and a glass of wine (although I’m not at all opposed to those options😊).
To me, self-care is not only about doing things that help you relieve stress, but also being prepared and proactive.
Here are my top tips to help get your stress in check and keep you ahead of the game:
Prepare you meals ahead of time.
I know meal prep isn’t for everyone. But let me tell you, it’s a game changer. No more scrambling to grab lunch on the go. No more struggling to figure out dinner. And no more grabbing unhealthy meals at fast food restaurants, because you’re ready ahead of time. You don’t have to cook every meal in its entirety.
Just be proactive. Make a large pot of rice on Sunday and use it throughout the week. Buy tons of frozen steam ready veggies. Five minutes in the microwave and you’re good to go. Cook a few different types of protein and put them in containers. Dinner can literally be ready in under 15 minutes!
Have snacks handy.
That goes for you and your children. I keep a protein bar in my purse for times that I may be out for a while and get hungry. It keeps me from grabbing a candy bar at the store instead.
I also taught my girls to grab snacks when we plan on being out. Our cabinets and refrigerator are stocked with ready to grab healthier options for when they come home from school “starving” or feel they have to spend their Saturday eating every 20 minutes, lol.
Snack ideas: protein bars, dark chocolate squares, cheese sticks, yogurt, trail mix, fruit, veggies, hummus/guacamole/peanut butter (all in single serve packs), nuts, seeds, and apple sauce.
Prioritize your responsibilities.
Make a list. Figure out what you have to take care of for the week and write it down. Make a plan of attack and handle your time without feeling overwhelmed. Do what you can and let the rest go.
Some nights, dishes may stay in the sink, and that has to be okay. I talk more about this in my blog How to Leave Mom Guilt Behind.
Go to bed a little earlier, with no technology.
Turn the phone off. Social media can wait. No TV. Keep your room dark and cool.
Get your body the 7-9 hours of sleep it needs, without the white noise in the background or the stimulating light from your phone.
You’ll be able to get up earlier, and maybe even enjoy a cup of coffee (while it’s still hot) before starting your day!
Move! Movement is a huge stress relief…..
Do something consistently that gets your body moving and helps manage your cortisol levels (stress hormone).
Intense exercise and weight lifting are great for your body and mind, but if you can’t squeeze that in, just move!
Go for walks, take the stairs, park farther away from the door, stretch, do whatever you can! Your body will thank you.
Do things that are just for you.
all a friend. Take a walk. Listen to a podcast. Read a book. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Sit in silence (when the kids are asleep of course). Listen to your favorite music. Whatever you can do to make you feel good.
Bubble baths are great. Days at the spa are amazing (believe me, been there, loved every second). But they aren’t the cure for every day stress and frustration.
Keep yourself prepared for your life and your responsibilities. Be realistic. Be patient. And take care of yourself consistently. When shit pops up, you won’t feel as blindsided.