Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DeStress: Others

Something that has occured to me alot lately is that we have so much to do with OTHERS' stress levels.

We have mentioned our kids' and our hubbies stress, but beyond that we have so much that we can do over the stress of alot of people we come in contact with.

I have learned of myself recently that this is something I love doing. In fact, on the retrospect I realize that the reason I do SO many things is that I truly want to relieve stress in others. I want to take that tension from their chest, in so much as it depends on me.

As an RN in Critical Care, I especially love doing this for patients and their families. One of my favorite roles is to educate, inform and update. Why? Because information and attention to explaining relieves stress.

There are SO many ways that we can help to decrease the stress levels of those around us, be they friends, extended family members, the bagger at the grocery store, the customer service rep on the phone, the neighbor..etc.

Here are some thoughts ..

  • Prayers. This promise, and the follow through really does relieve stress for people. Its a reminder that they are being remembered to God himself. How is that for stress relief?

  • Cards/Emails. This is stress relieving for both parties I think. For me, it means that I have touched someone today. For them, they are reminded that they have touched someone enough to be remembered and thought of.

  • Touch. This done appropriately is a great stress reliever. Hugs, hand squeezes, shoulder pats ..again, reminders that they are not alone in their struggle.

  • Listening. Girls especially need to relieve their stress by talking! Being a good listener is a great way to be a stress-relieving friend :)

  • Controlling your emotions and your reactions. This is a big one for every relationship you have. When negative things happen, especially, your control of your reactions can go a long way to relieve another's stress. Have you seen relief on a persons face when they expect you be angry or negative and you respond with a gentle or positive answer? I love that feeling.

  • Sharing Scripture. God uses us to remind eachother of his promises. Remember to stay alert when a scripture brings a person to mind, it could be God asking you to share with them.

  • Example. I can relate to this one, as I have several people in my life who handle every day chaos with such grace. They relive my stress when I remember them, how they keep their priorities in line, they control their reactions, they stay positive and at peace...even though they dont have everything totally together :)

  • Service. Being willing to serve eachother is a big way to relieve stress for another person. Whether it be preparing a meal, keeping children so a weary mommy can get coffee alone, running errands for a shut-in, visiting someone in the hospital ..we can do so much for eachother that will take the burden of stress from them.

  • Forgiveness. I left this one for last, becuase I think its the hardest but one of the most important. Being able to give someone forgivenss is stress relieving for ALL involved. How much stress of yours is related to frustration over something someone has said or done? Your forgiveness gives you peace, and allows them peace as well.

A life full of peace cannot help but touch others with a sense of calm. I pray that you are seeking to do that. By decreasing our stress, we dont find peace..God is the only way to that. But, by our clearing our minds, spirits, bodies and hearts of stress we are more capable of being touched by the peace He brings us.

May you find many opportunities to decrease your stress level today, and make a difference in someone else's stress level as well :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

DeStress Finances: Coupons

Alot of destressing in any area is simply taking control of it. An effort to improve any area gives a degree of release of stress. It allows us to tell ourselves that we are doing something about it.

Because finances is an area that simply must be faced head-on, no passive acceptance in hopes of it getting better, then one must stay aware of ways to face it. One way to destress our finances, is by spending that resource the best way we can.

Coupons help me do that.

Yes, it can be tedious, but there is so much help out there for getting control of the coupons, where to find them, when to use them, which to use at which stores. There are is alot of help to guide you ..and lots of money to be saved.

Some places to go for help and to learn how to spend coupons well is Money Saving Mom , The Grocery Game and Coupon Mom websites.

Simply learning how to do it can help take some of the stress out of using coupons :)

I have learned to watch the ads for good deals. But to make those deals even better, I "stack" coupons and end up paying little or nothing for stuff. Once you learn how, its very satisfying feeling.

Also, check out CVS 101 on Money Saving Mom...she will teach you how to get good deals, earn CVS cash, spend that cash, and make more cash to spend on things you need..making staple toiletries, household goods, kid supplies inexpensive or even FREE.

This is a great way to DEstress our finances..good luck!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DeStress Body: Energy

I am really benefitting from a focus on getting my body in shape!

I am working on my weight, in so much as I want it to be in a healthier range. I am using to help me with my nutrition. And, I am working on getting on a regular workout schedule. It has helped mentally, I can tell for sure. Its harder to eat the high cal stuff when you worked so hard to lose the calories from your hips!

I am really focusing on eating for energy ...which entails stopping when full, and foods that are natural energy makers. I am far from excellent at this area ..but it feels good to be heading in the right direction.

Its really a great motivator for me to remember that I need to use my physical energy effectively, and that includes to do what I need to do to create the right kinds of energy in my body.

My family, my purpose and my passions all benefit from this effort..its worth it for all of us!

Friday, July 18, 2008

DeStress: Finances

Did you know, that financial stresses are cited as a top deal breaker for divorced couples? Its at the top of the list for stress-causers in the US, and that most likely is not a shocker to most of us!
Stress comes inherently with dealing with finances. But it doesnt have to be that way.

The stress strategies employs for this area are easy: get CONTROL of it! Get it DONE! Get a new PLAN! Get a new PERSPECTIVE!, Get OVER it, ! Get RID of it!, Give it to GOD ..all of them apply!

I can absolutely promise you, 100% satisfaction guaranteed, that if you get control of this area of your life your stress level WILL decrease overall. No question. I know, because this is a huge area of focus for our family, and our marriage. Huge.

Managing your finances is a way of life. Living in financial peace is a process that is ongoing and oh, so rewarding. Not only for your pocketbook, but for your marriage (because true financial peace MUST be a two-person job inside a marriage) and your children. Think of the gift you will be giving your family when they learn right NOW that ...

We must get control of our budgets, pennies, debt and future in finances.

We must get it done ..meaning we have to follow through with that budget, we must live the life necessary to maintain a debt-free, financially peaceful life.

We must get rid and get over DEBT!

We must get a new plan for dealing with our finances on a daily basis. If you dont control your money, it WILL control you!

We must get a new perspective when it comes to how we see debt, saving, and financial freedom.

And lastly, but most importantly, we need to give everything we have to God was His to start with. We are managers of the plentiful resources he gave us!

As I am sure you are well aware, our system of choice is Dave Ramsey's, Financial Peace. Because of this system we are truly living in financial peace. It doesnt mean that we have a ridiculous amount of money, but that what we have we have learned to manage it well.

If finances are causing you stress, then focus on that ...destressing THAT will help your overall level by incredible amounts!

If Mama Aint Happy...

You know the rest! If Mama aint happy, aint NOBODY happy. How true.

Its really true that as managers, overseers, project directors, etc of our homes we set the tone for the day. I know when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, things are bad all the way around. When I am out of sorts, or generally am not in the "mood" for this mom-deal today, things are rough!

How we deal with our stress and how we feel has huge implications for our family, because its up to us to set the mood of the family. Its a big job.

Remember the girlfriend, or someone else in your life who is stressed out to the max. Does being with that person make you feel at peace? Or does it make you feel stressed yourself?

When you are stressed it does not only effect you! As a mother, wife, manager, contact with those outside your home, christian example to others, mother example to other moms..people are affected by your stress, and how you handle it.

It makes this whole effort to destress ourselves an important focus. Its not only for our own sake, but for that of the kids, hubby and those around us. Our being in control of our stress and reactions gives everything a better chance of working out better.

It doesnt mean that choas will not happen ..hardly! But what it means that when it happens we are calm in the center of the storm. We need to be the ones that they look to for focus, redirecting, and control.

To do this we must, get control of our stress and control our reactions to stress.

Getting control of our stress is about making the effort be ordered (to the degree that it decreases and not creates stress), to be willing to eliminate things in our homes/schedules/relationships that create undue stress, and most importantly getting centered yourself!

We know that the Author of Peace is God Himself. Without Him we have no peace, and so it has to start with our being plugged into Him. Dont forget that. Its about Him to start with!

Also, we need to control our reactions to the stresses that are inevidible. Remember that you CHOOSE your reaction to those feelings that you have no control over. You may not be able to control if you feel a way, but you CAN control how you react to it.

When the stress level has gotten away from you, you MUST focus and determine that you will not allow it to take over your tongue, your actions, your reactions to those in your path.

You dont want to leave a path of destruction, unrest and hurt in your wake. That is easy to do with our scope of influence be careful.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Destress Home: The Kids Stuff!

This is one of the areas I have really attacked in attempts to destress my home BECAUSE the kids stuff takes over EVERY room of our house! Not only do we have the kids bedroom, which usually looks like a hurricane hit it, we also have toys baskets in the hall and living room. I dont have one in my bedroom, but I should as it would make it easier to clean up the 1000000 toys I find in my bed at night!

Their stuff takes over. And, it creates stresses. There is the stress of HAVING the mess to start with. Then, the stress of the clutter brings. THEN, its the stress of them having to put it away and the fight that goes with it(the hollering, the tears, the wasted time, the discipline..etc.). Dont forget the stress that you feel when you realize there is no better place for this MESS than piled in baskets all over, and even when its picked up its still a mess. Dont even THINK about the number of small, broken, lost peices of every game you have ever owned that are piled in corners and under beds.

Also, dont forget how all of those things create stress for the husband, and the kids themselves. Its something.

This is an easy, if not minorly time consuming task..but we CAN destress the Kids Stuff!

So, lets dicuss and develop a plan!

One HUGE thing that we have done, and are due to do again (we need to do it about every 6 months), is seriously decluttering the kids toys. Its nuts the stuff they collect. I dont know where it all comes from but they have alot of stuff.

A periodic and almost brutal overhaul of the inventory is very good for all involved. First consider the decrease in stuff! Its less to put away, less to get out, less to see and pick from, less is less stress!

* Have them chose 3-5 toys they love. And then get rid of the rest! I know it sounds brutal. But trust me on this one. Consider too, that if you have more than one kid, each kid with 5 toys is quite a few toys that can be shared.

* Make sure that everything they keep has a place. Whether it be a bin, a toy box, a shelf. Make sure they know where it goes. This will make pick up much easier!

* Put games and toys with lots of peices away out of reach. This has helped us alot! I have a closet with these types of games in it. Ty has to have permission, and can only have one of these toys out at a time. Those toys are put away at the end of the day, pieces missing or not. I usually find those peices quickly (within a day or two), and just put them in the closet with the game. Less time out of the closet, easier to find peices!

* Get rid of the toy box! I know. It sounds crazy. But a toy box is a bottomless pit for toys. Stuff gets lost, broken and hidden in there. The only way to find stuff is empty it out right? If everyone choses a few toys or types of toys (we kept all our cars, and trains), and those have an easy to get to place to put away (bins under the bed), then you dont need a toy box.

What about them once they are banished from the house? ..the toys I mean, not the kids.

Here are some ideas:

* Donate all the little McD's toys to the church bag. Or, even better, make church bags for the other kids at church. Hang a few in the toddler classroom to be used during church services. These are also great "car" toys.

* Use it as a lesson on giving to children who dont have any toys. If your kids are able to understand, take the toys cerimoniously to Goodwill, or somewhere like it. If its too traumatic, do it while they are sleeping! :)

* Teach them money management with the toys they get rid of, garage sales, ebay..these are great lessons on responsiblity and use of their resources.

Combine these things, with the ideas for decreasing the amount of clothes they have access to for the laundry's sake, you can actually have a pretty good end result with a little work.

Less is more. Less stress, more peace!

Stress Strategies: Get RID of it, Get it DONE, Get CONTROL of it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stress Strategy: Get RID of it!

I orginally posted this on my other blog. It fits well here, so I thought I would repost it.

I have really put this one into action lately. It can be HUGELY destressing!

Stuff has a tendency to multiply in my house. I have all kinds of excuses why not to get rid of things, until I attach them in my mind to some level of stress.

This is another one I have to attribute to FlyLady. She is big on getting rid of clutter and does lots of little exercises and reminders to encourage you to do it. The concept also shows up in most of the "simplify your life" books and articles.

I have always found such liberation in letting go of stuff. Even more so since I added this extra drive to get rid of ANYTHING that adds stress to, instead of adding VALUE or convenience to my life.

Some rules I go by:

* if you dont LOVE it, or NEED it..then get rid of it!

This applies to every area of your home from closets, kids closets, kids toys, living room furniture, kitchen gadgets, clothes in closet, organizing aids in the house, to backyard toys and smelly good stuff in the bathroom.

My sisters and I have been applying this to our kids rooms with some serious DeSTRESSING effects. Less is better. You love what you have more if you get rid of the stuff you dont love or need.

* If you have lots of something..then get rid of some of it!

Looking around the house you can find LOTS of areas to apply this. Its amazing how things collect and you buy when you have some of it already because you have so much you can see what you have!

Get HONEST about whether you need so many of of a may be surprised what your answer may be!

Some examples from my own house towels, sheets, cookie sheets, cleaners, shampoo/conditioner bottles, clothes (especially kids clothes..they dont need 12 pairs of jeans! Less, means less to wash!), silverware (everything but forks..ha!), plastic cups, first aid supplies, kids books, shoes, old food in the pantry...lots of places!

* If you cant remember WHY something is sentimental..then get rid of it.

How often do we hold on to stuff because so-and-so gave it to us? Obviously there are exceptions to this rule. Generally, if someone spent time making something or they have alot of attachment to my having it, I hold onto it. But, I couldnt tell you most if any of the gifts I have given to anyone in the last 5 years if I gave you something, and its causing you stress..GET RID OF IT!

* If its broken or doesnt work..GET RID OF IT!

Adrian and I often disagree in this area. He wants to put it aside to fix it later. Some stuff we do that with, but I have gotten to the point that if I didnt LOVE it or USE it in the first place, it gets trashed.

*If you havent worn it, used it, or played with it in the last 6 months...GET RID OF IT!

This is a GREAT rule. I use it ALL the time. I use it especially in my closet and my kitchen. These are two areas where things seem to multiply unfettered.

* If you feel bad about throwing it away..GIVE IT AWAY

I have found that there are some things that I dont want any more, but that I cant just throw away. Its much easier for me to pass it on to someone who could use it (less guilt).

While most of the stuff goes to Goodwill, I have started using a few different avenues of distribution including Childrens Orchard (get paid for toys, kids clothes, etc.), Kidney Foundation (furniture, they will pick up!), Church library or nursery (books and toys..duh), friends who I think will love it, to friends who are doing garage sales (I have a NO garage sale rule myself..THOSE really stress me out!).

Oh, a word about garage sales. Flylady has a no garage sale rule. I kinna thought that was odd at first, but it makes sense. First, they stress me out completely. I hate the pricing, the setting it up, the sitting there, the bartering, the clean up..all of it.

Then, she says that we often use them as an excuse for just moving our junk from one part of the house to another. I have to agree with that.

Now, I love GOING to them ..with an idea of what I want, and I dont bring anything home I dont LOVE or need.

So, I know I wont convert you all over to that way of thinking, but just thought I would pass that on :)

When I am in my "get rid of it" zone I can take multiple trips to Goodwill/Childrens Orchard a week. It SOOOO freeing!

Okay ..think of some stuff that stresses you out and go get rid of it!
Just wanted to pass on this link that my mom sent me. Its great for some organizational tips that you use to destress your life! :)

Enjoy! I sure have!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stress Relief


  A tip for relieving stress in the moment of a "stress crisis" try deep breathing.

I took this from an article from

"Deep breathing, an easy and convenient way to relax, it is the core of many other relaxation techniques. You can practice deep breathing anywhere. Simply take ten deep breaths, lifting your chest to fill your lungs completely and then exhaling all the way. Each breath will relax your body a little bit more and you will feel the tension seep out of your muscles"

"And peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Its not about ME

Too much is made of the effect that things have on "me". Our society screams self-gratification, self-focus, self-indulgence, self-motivation, self self self. It creates such an impure view of the world, and our role in it.

Nature is so expressive of this truth. God's creation is so obviously not about one individual living thing over another, but how each one thing effects the whole.

Its not about an individual ant, but about his role in colony. Its not about one bee, but his part of the hive. Its not about one flower, but all the flowers that one flower pollunates. Its not about this rain storm, but how it effects the wind 1000 miles away. Everything God created effects something or someone else.

We, like the flowers, animals, bees, and winds are not in bubbles. We arent set apart from the influences, or from influencing others.

Its not about an individual mother, but how her care and home-making effects those in her charge. How THEY go out and, because of her roles, effects others and builds their own "christian factory".

Its not about the soldier, but the cause and his country.

Thats why God allows bad things to happen - because what is bad to one, may be a blessing to others. One bad thing may make all the difference in the bigger scheme of things.

We can get really self-focused and wrongly see God's work in our lives if we think that everything He does is for US. Its not.

Its for His glory.

He blesses, gives, takes, and comforts and provides so that we may be able to glorify HIM.

He gives us bodies, energy, finances, resources so that we have what we need to glorify HIM; to fulfill our part of bring as many to heaven as possible.

So, we must manage our homes, bodies, time, finances, resources so that we fulfill that purpose. Its a big deal.

Its not about you, its about Him and His plan which we are so blessed to be part of.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DeStress Home: Laundry

As you well know, laundry is my NEMSIS.

I hate it. It causes lots of stress for me :) Not only is it endless, but there are so many steps that its easy to get behind on one and then the whole shaky system falls apart!

I have been working on this area of stress, and want to pass on some tips AND encourage you to share yours!

I have found that like a friend said, "its like going potty, you have to do it everyday" true.

I have four people I am washing clothes for, two of which are messy little boys who love dirt and water, and who dont always have mastery over their bodily functions. This makes it seem as if I am washing clothes for 10 people.

If I let one day go by, I have a mountain to deal with.

So, I am working on dealing only with hills.

* I have gotten rid of all my hampers. Everything goes into one central laundry basket IN the laundry room. I take the dirty clothes there every nite, and in the morning. That way I can keep up with exactly how much I actually have to do.

*I have gotten rid of all but two laundry baskets. One problem I had was filling up baskets, and keep doing that until I had none left THEN put them all away. Now, I have one for mine and hubby's room, and one for the boys room.

*I fold straight out of the dryer. No more taking the laundry to the living room for it to pile up and up and up. No more marathon folding sessions. Just a 5 minute fold at the dryer, and a 3 minute put away session immediately after that.

* I use my timer - set it for 15 minutes, fold, switch and put away in that amount of time twice aday and you are caught up.

The key is staying on top of it ..oh, that and trying to limit what goes INTO the laundry.

Some other ideas,

*Consider cycling outfits through for older kids. Giving them 5 outfits to chose from for two weeks or so, then shifting to a couple more. Less choices, easier upkeep, less tendency toward them changing 4 times a day. For younger kids, give them a shelve or rack they can reach. Their 5 outfits can be hung together, giving them choices which they love!

*Assigning towels to each family member, and them using them 3-4 days in a row. If they are properly hung after a shower or bath, they will not mildew easily. Use name tags on towels, racks, rods, or hooks. Kids love stuff with their name on it, and it makes for one load or so a week, instead of every day!

*Do a COLD load and a WARM load every day. Leave the whites, or bleaches for every few days or once a week. I just keep those in the laundry hamper in the laundry room, and they collect over the week.

*Hang as much as you can, or have room for. Hanging is way easier than folding! I have started hanging ALL shirts, and foldling only pants and pj's. If certain pants go with certain shirts they go on teh hanger with the shirt, and its all together. This cuts down on space needed to store folded clothes also. A basket or box set on a closet shelf at childs level can even eliminate the need for sock and undie drawers.

Laundry is a huge task, but we cant GET RID of it, or GET OVER IT. We can only GET IT DONE, and GET IT UNDER CONTROL!
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