How to avoid daily stress

Here’s how to manage the many small stressful events in your daily routine.

Plan ahead for the morning crunch. Set the breakfast table and make bag lunches the night before. Plan what you will wear. Check clothing for rips, runs, or missing buttons.

If a child needs help deciding on clothing or gathering books and papers for school, get this organized the night before.
Get up before the rest of the family in order to have some time to yourself. Then read the newspaper or do the crossword puzzle in peace. Store plenty of microwavable meals for your family that can easily be put on the table. Too many errands and chores to do? Enlist your children’s help, or hire a trusted neighborhood teenager to do some of these tasks.

You can use a standard kitchen timer to help manage your schedule. If you don’t want a telephone conversation to get too lengthy, set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes. Also use it to time exercising or house cleaning (“I’ll do this for just twenty minutes”). ^ Get an aquarium. They come in all sizes, for any size room or budget. Watching colorful fish swim gracefully through the water will de-stress you in no time.
Spend time with your children. Flying a kite or playing a favorite board game is relaxing and makes the whole family feel closer.

Spend time away from your children as well. Occasionally hiring a babysitter can make a big difference in your stress
level. To save money, consider forming a babysitting co-op with other parents.

Take time out for a hobby you truly enjoy, whether it’s knitting, playing the piano, or puttering around the garden.

Listen to music. Start with lively music that matches the way you feel, and work into slower pieces. Or do the opposite – start with soothing melodies and end with energizing music.

Get enough sleep. Most adults need at least eight to eight and a half hours a night. Your efficiency the next day will more than make up for the extra time lost to sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time every morning – even on weekends – if possible. This way you won’t tamper with your body’s rhythms.

Try volunteer work. Nothing will take your mind off your own troubles and give you a greater sense of accomplishment than volunteering your time and energy to a good cause.

Buy cards and gifts throughout the year. Then you won’t have to rush around before birthdays and holidays.

Keep a record of the things that make you feel stressed. This will help you to become aware of the real stressors in your life.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Let the dishes go unwashed one night.