New year, new beginning. You aim to lessen your stress this year and ponder on how you can do it. Here are some suggestions to get that list going:
Be more patient. It takes all of a mom’s guts to admit that there were moments when she wanted to scream her lungs out of frustration. It requires a lot of effort to remain calm when your baby is into a crying fit or your toddler is having tantrums while at the mall. But when you’re patient, you have the ability to think clearly and handle the situation better. Your child will also sense the calmness you exude. Take deep breaths and slowly count to ten. Remember, this, too, shall pass.
Pick your battles. Messy toys on the floor? Smile and get your child to sing with you the 'Clean Up' song while teaching him to gather the toys and putting them in the basket. Children throwing toys at one another? Get a grip on the situation by separating them quietly but firmly, talking to each of them about the perils of their actions. A tiff with your gradeschooler about her outfit to school? As long as she’s warmly dressed, let her wear what she wants, even if it’s an orange shirt and purple pants. Learning the ability to distinguish which battles are worth pursuing is key to a less stressful year. Learn to apply Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 guide: “What will be the consequences in 10 minutes, in 10 months, in 10 years?”
Focus on the blessings. When things get overwhelming, remember that you are blessed. There is an ancient Persian saying that keeps me in check whenever I feel down: “I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.” As the writer Robert Fulghum reminds us, we need to learn to distinguish the difference between a real problem and a mere inconvenience. When work is stressful, be thankful for the opportunity to work and be productive. When the kids are driving you crazy, be thankful that you have children you love and who love you back. When there isn’t much money to buy wants, be thankful that you have a bed to sleep in and food on the table. Be more thankful this year and learn to focus on the blessings.
Get organized. Organization expert Peter Walsh says, “Clutter robs us spiritually because we can’t be at peace in a cluttered home.” How much time have you wasted looking for your keys during the morning rush to school and work? How much overdue fees did you have to pay because you’ve misplaced your bills and forgotten their due dates? Enroll your bills in an automatic payment system. Commit to taking fifteen minutes a day to ensure everything is in its rightful place. Aim to spend a few hours a month to go through items that can be donated to a worthy cause. Resolve to buy things that you only need. Have the urge to purge.