How to Live More, Stress Less

I was raised by a father who’s a tried and true do-it-yourselfer. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t fix or do by himself. And the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Car oil need changing? I can do it. Deck need staining?  I can do that too. My husband, on the other hand, is a big fan of outsourcing. Contrary to what you might think, this has been good for our relationship. Over time we learned to meet in the middle.

I struggle with the desire to do everything myself. You know the old saying, if you want something done right (and cheap), do it yourself? Well I’ve learned that isn’t always smart, nor is it very efficient. I mean, there’s a reason why working professionals and parents feel so overwhelmed with life – there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. And although my time & stress management isn’t perfect, there are a few things I’ve found that work really well.

Try these tips:

  1. Get up an hour earlier…to spend time with yourself. Yes, I cringed originally at the thought of this too. I’ve never been a morning person. But I’ve been doing it for the past 7 months+ and it’s changed my life. I get up one hour before my kids or my husband wake up. I spend it reading, walking with neighbors, or just sipping coffee. Incorporating self-care impacts your life more than you know. Try it for 30 days.
  2. Hire a maid. I pinch myself every time our once-a-month maid service comes. As a chronic DIYer, I laughed at the thought of such a silly thing. Don’t laugh - go get yourself a once a month maid service. Budget for it. I don’t care who you are, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Instead of spending hours on the weekend cleaning, I can go out and experience life with my friends and family. Walking back into my home, freshly cleaned, is the best feeling ever. Stop drinking fancy coffee or eating out and save your money for a maid.
  3. Delegate and outsource. Don’t be afraid to ask for or hire help. When you’re a working mom of two little kids, don’t stain your deck and fence yourself. I almost had to learn this the hard way. Sure, you’re fully able – but your time is best spent enjoying your family.  Let the experts handle it in a fraction of the time.
  4. Just say no. If you don’t want to do something, just say no. Hate kid’s birthday parties? Say no. Thanks, but no thanks. This is something that took me a while to get. Go with your gut, don’t waste time caring about what others think. This is your life and your family’s life – invest in what brings you joy.
  5. Ask for help. How many times have I heard, "Let me know if I can do anything." Responding can feel hard, but it isn't. Here’s how I approach it. I physically write my to-do list, list  people who have offered help, and then scan my list looking for matches. That could mean anyone - my husband, my family, my coworker, my neighbor, etc. Make sure that you’re specific when you ask so they can feel secure answering. The worst that can happen is that they tell you no. If your list of helpers fails, all is not lost - look outside your network to service providers. For example, if your car needs to go to the shop, ask a neighbor for a ride. If that fails, call an Uber. Community is about both give and take - ask for help.

 Live more, stress less.

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