By Guest Blogger Candi Wingate
I am a married woman with two beautiful sons. I have a “full-time-and-then-some” job in the home. That job description: Wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, personal secretary, and more… I also work a full-time (and then some) job as the President and CEO of Nannies of Nebraska, Nannies4hire.com, Babysitters4hire.com and Care4hire.com.
This is a typical day for me… After 11 stressful hours at work (and no lunch on many days), I head home for time with my family. I am tired, frustrated and hungry. I want to decompress and have a little “me-time” before attending to my husband and two sons, cook dinner, clean the house, and do all the other things associated with my primary full-time (and then some) job as wife and mother. But, of course, I get no me-time, no decompression. I walk in the door, and the kids are all over me. They haven’t seen me since early in the morning, so they want to talk, play, and connect with me. Of course they do. And they should. My husband wants to know what’s for dinner.
I love these people: they are the centers of my universe . . . but, c’mon, cut mommy a little slack!
Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of de-stressing techniques so that when I’m home, I can truly enjoy my time with my family and be in the moment. I’ve learned these through my successes (and my not-so-successes). There are many de-stressing techniques, including yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and (of course) consumption of chocolate, to name a few. 😉 While all of these de-stressors can help in their own way, what I want to talk about here are the ones that really helped me de-stress the MOST, as a working mom and wife. So, sit down, relax, put your feet up on the ottoman, take a sip of some nice herbal tea, and read on.
While I am certainly not perfect, I have quite well mastered the art of de-stressing. And it has kept me sane, and healthy. Here are 8 helpful tips to de-stress your life. You can incorporate them into your life at any time. Try one, try a few. You’ll see what works. Here’s what’s really worked for me:
- Become comfortable saying “no” to non-essential task requests from others. If spending more quality time with your family is the goal, then taking time away from your loved ones to raise funds for a non-profit organization (while a very worthy undertaking) may need to wait until next year’s fundraising season. Something’s gotta give. Remember, saying “No” to someone else is saying “Yes” to yourself.
- Learn to delegate effectively. Can a supervisee at work absorb some of the excess work? Can a nanny or babysitter be hired to spend time with the children during the workday? Are the children old enough that they can be tasked with cleaning their own rooms? You aren’t superwoman, my friends. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t. Learning how to ask for help is a process no doubt, but a very effective one for your sanity!
- Use time management techniques. Is there a more efficient way to handle tasks? (For example, is it really necessary to get a few groceries every day, or is it feasible to make a list and shop once or twice a week)? Can tasks be more effectively performed at a different time? (For example, perhaps there is a benefit in having the children choose their Tuesday school clothes on Monday evening to decrease the stress level in the morning).
- Find the humor in things that don’t quite go right. Taking successes and failures in stride can make life less stressful. Seriously, the next time you’re stuck in traffic and are about to go bananas, remember that you can’t do anything about it, so to waste energy on getting frustrated is just that… A WASTE. Let is go!
- Participate in shared activities that focus on someone else. As a family, spending time working in a local soup kitchen, helping those less fortunate, can reduce stress. This type of activity causes people to “lose” their own stressors by focusing on the lives of others (who may have stressors far in excess of their own), spending quality family time (i.e., a worthwhile, shared activity), and exposing your children to the value of caring for their fellow human beings.
- Listen to relaxing music, select a relaxing color palette, and use relaxing scents throughout the home. This has worked wonders for me.
- Exercise with the family. Instead of opting for the gym or going it alone every time, why not make exercise a family activity? Try group activities such as biking, hiking, swimming or walking. You end up killing two birds with one stone – you get the benefits of the physical activity AND time with your family.
- Have faith. Count blessings. Look for the positives. Being grateful for what you DO have is half the battle. When I come home after a long day of work, stressed and tired, I can be resentful, or I can be thankful that I AM working and that I have a family to come home to. There are always positives… look for them and appreciate them.
Last night after I got home from work tired and stressed, after I paused for momentary fantasy, I hugged my family, turned on the stereo, put in a relaxing CD, lit some sandalwood incense, and engaged my family in quiet, constructive discussion about how the day had gone for each of us. I even laughed a little when it was my turn to tell about my crazy day. Then, it was time to start dinner. Everybody had a job to do: I even had the boys making salad (remember #2 – delegate)? It was fun to work together, and dinner was prepared more quickly because multiple people were working on it. After dinner, we all went for a bike ride and took the dog on a walk around the neighborhood. Then I got everybody ready for bed and I was feeling much less stressed. I was not able to roll back the clock and fix how my work day went, but I was able to adjust how I felt about those events. And that made all the difference.
Remember life is all in the attitude.
Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family.
Ladies tell us, how do you unwind after a long day? Do you feel like you’re not getting enough “me time?” How are you surviving? We’d love to hear your thoughts and have you share your tips!