Make Your Lunch The Night Before and Other Tips to Make Your Life Less Stressful
Sometimes life can get pretty hectic. With work, extracurricular activities, chores, errands, the kids, and all of the shows on Netflix our schedules can get pretty full, and often we find ourselves running from one thing to the next. It's no wonder, then, that our stress levels can shoot through the roof, making us feel as if we are fighting to stay above water. Therefore, I would like to provide you all with a few simple tips in order to prevent you from self-sabotaging and staying a step ahead when times get crazy.
1. Make Lunch the Night Before
This. is. huge. Every night before work after I put my son to bed my lunchbox stares me dead in the eyes and taunts me. My body is tired. My brain is tired. I want to sleep. I cannot continue. Making my lunch is unfathomable. I simply will not and cannot do it. This scenario is literature's classic Self vs. Self Conflict and these thoughts play out in my mind all the time. It takes an act of heroism from the protagonist to swoop in, fend off the enemy, and convince my hands to commence gathering the supplies from the refrigerator. Then with a feat rivaling the 1980 Miracle on Ice game, I make my lunch. And the next morning when I'm rushing to get out the door, I look at my packed lunchbox, smile and whisper, "You devil, you," and grab it and head out the door.
2. Set Your Alarm 15 Minutes Earlier
To piggyback off the previous tip, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and you won't be rushing to get out the door in the morning. Allowing yourself those extra minutes will make you less stressed in case you run into an unexpected setback. It also gives you some spare time for just yourself. I either like to use my newfound time to fit in a few extra snuggles with my sun, scroll through my phone, spend the time in gratitude or prayer, or get in a few quick answers to a crossword puzzle. It's amazing what just 15 minute can do for your stress levels.
For the love of God and all things holy, stretch. Your body will thank you as you age. One year I made a New Year's resolution to stretch every day and it was one of the best decisions I ever made, up there with marrying my husband and moving to NC. Then, I fell off the wagon and stopped right around when I hit the peak of my pregnancy and would rather collapse into bed at the end of the day. Now, my 30 year body, after undergoing the woes and stretching of pregnancy, is paying. My hips ache. My back aches. My calves ache. My neck aches. Even my fingers and wrists ache on occasion. So I'm imploring you. Stretch. Do yoga. Find time while watching TV, standing in line at the grocery store, making dinner, or playing with your children. 10 minutes a day. That's it. Take deep breaths while doing it and feel your stress melt right off you.
4. Make Your Bed
Opponents of this one might argue that why would you waste your time in the morning when you will just get back into it at the end of the day, but I would like to point out that making your bed sets the tone for the day. A made bed signifies that you are disciplined, organized, and tidy in all of your affairs. When my bed isn't made, my day can feel slightly off and chaotic. Oh and don't even get me started with when I forget that I didn't make it and then come home and see it's unmade. The despair is real. I reach a real low and immense disappointment. Usually I have to make it right then and there, which I realize might be slightly OCD. Make your bed for a couple of days and then see how you feel. Trust me, you won't regret it.
5. Offer Prayer and Gratitude
Lastly and most importantly to drastically reduce your stress spend a few minutes (preferably at the beginning or end of the day) in gratitude, thanking God or whomever for all the blessings in your life. It will really put everything in perspective, and it's hard to be stressed when you are smiling from all that you are thankful. Write down or say aloud at least five things you were thankful for that day. It doesn't have to be the usual-my family or my health. It can be I'm thankful my son slept in fifteen minutes later than normal or that you caught every green light on the way to work. Try this for some transformation.