Life can be hard when you’re trying to juggle work with taking care of a couple of very active kids, elderly parents, and maybe even a dog. It can feel like you’re trapped in an endless whirlwind, desperate to get free, but carried along nonetheless. So, you’re probably thinking “Stress less? Ha! Easier said than done!” But, it really can be done, here’s how:
- Embrace the Chaos
First things first, chaos is not always the enemy in family life. Sometimes, it’s just the beautiful mess of life. Kids drawing on walls? Dogs chewing shoes? That’s memories in the making, folks! So, take a deep breath, snap a picture, and one day you’ll laugh about it (promise).
- Meal Planning: A Secret Superpower
Forget cooking shows; real family meals are all about survival. So, if you want to ensure that the family always has something good to eat, that will nourish their bodies instead of being simply something convenient for them to wolf down, but you also want to save time and stress less about it, meal planning is your best friend.
It can take some effort at first, but if you can carve out a window to sit down and plan every meal you will eat for the next week/month, then you can buy all of the ingredients you need, batch cook them one weekend and have healthy meals ready in the freeze each day. It will transform meals for you all and see your stress levels drop in an instant, just you wait and see!
- The Almighty Family Calendar
If you’re anything like me, then you probably have a hard time remembering all of those dental appointments, school events, and medical appointments for the kids, yourself, your senior parents, the dog, and on it goes! One thing, then, that will really transform family life and help you to destroy at least a little bit of your stress, is investing in a family calendar. Hang it on the fridge, let everyone scribble in it when they make appointments or get invited to events, and watch your scheduling stress vanish like morning fog. It’s such a simple thing, but oh so effective, and you can even do it digitally using calendar sharing apps if that is more your thing.
- Delegate Like a Boss
Remember, you’re not a one-person show, a family is made up of several people, most of whom will be able to help out in some way. So, enlist the kids, partner, or whoever’s around, and share the chores evenly between you all, making sure you delegate to each family member’s strengths. Even little Timmy can feed the fish or water that desperate succulent, and you will quickly find that sharing the chores and working together as a team to get things done is not only more efficient, and less stressful, but also makes things a whole lot more enjoyable too.
- Get Outside Help
If you are really struggling with the mountain of tasks on your hands, but you do not want to end up so stressed you burn out, but you also don’t want to neglect the things your family needs to stay happy and healthy, then investing in some outside help is never a bad idea. For example, you could hire some hourly home care to help you take care of a senior parent’s needs or you could hire a cleaner to help you keep house so you can focus on helping the kids width their homework, for example. Whatever tasks are causing you the most stress, chances are you can get some help with it, so why not lighten the load?
- The Sacred “Me Time”
Yes, you, dear reader, deserve some quality “me time.” Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or binge-watching that guilty pleasure show, make time for YOU. Trust me; your sanity will thank you, so even if it seems impossible to find the time to do so, see what you can do to juggle your schedule or get some support, and make it happen! You won’t regret it if you do.
- The Magic of Saying “No”
Being Super Mom or Dad doesn’t mean saying yes to everything. Learning to say “no” when you are overwhelmed and overloaded with family commitments already can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. It will enable you to find some headspace so you can be a better family member in the long-term.
Family life is always going to be stressful from time to time, but you can reduce that stress starting with the above, starting right now!