How do you manage stress?

How do you manage stress?

You may or may not view your life as stressful.

To be honest I hate even using the term “stressful” to describe a situation I find myself in. Or at least I used to. Having worked voluntarily in third world countries I find myself continuously questioning my perspective on life.

‘I mean really Aly, is this stressful or are you being dramatic?” I say to myself.

I want my young kids to be ignorant to that fact  that Mum and Dad regularly stress about money issues.

I guess it is a way of protecting them against what is inevitable in their grown up lives with the rising cost of living and an ever-growing pressure/expectation to keep up with society – latest clothes, travelling adventures, a mortgage by the age of 25 etc.

Recent posts such as this grief one or this about online safety for our kids have struck a cord in many of you.

I have had e mails, comments and responses on various social media which gives me so much joy. I feel engaged with you, my audience.

This got me thinking…

How about we work through questions YOU find relevant in parenting, fitness, whole foods, how to shop for art, sleep pattern, LIFE etc together.

Nothing is set in stone as I am due a third babe in four weeks time, but please do comment and let me know about issues you want my uncharted wisdom on and we can compare notes.

I know my voice in written word is as much if not the same as you hear me in real time

(see me here on my youtube channel). I appear confident, excitable (always) and often with an opinion on matters- it get’s boring always ‘hearing’ me in my little world, so please do tell me your story if it feels right.

So why don’t we start with a simple one.

What stresses you in your day to day life? How do you deal with that?

For me, it is a multitude of things.

My husband laughs as I talk about having “my ducks in a row”. Which basically means that for me to function I like many elements to be in order.

Are you the same?

On a Sunday morning for example I like the routine of  second breakfast . I like Radio 2 Sunday love songs  which begins at 9 am ( embarrassing confession), fresh coffee, and normally I have fake tanned the night before ( dreadfully fickle of me and even more embarrassing to confess such a thing but I have sallow skin which fades to nothing in the winter months and I look like I’m ill – especially as I prefer not to wear makeup – more on my tan love here ).

To add to the Sunday routine we sit at the table and read our little kids book with the boys which has a short section they read aloud and love.

Usually this idyllic little scenario ends with us sitting too long and inevitably being late for church.

But still, I like/need it to start a certain way for my day to begin accordingly.

In a similar way with work I like to smash my to do lists in the studio as soon as I have them concocted and ready.

I read this book a few years ago which changed my attitude towards my self employed working day.

It also made it clear to me that “eating the frog” (dealing with the biggest item on your list first) works well with my personality.  I can’t rest easy until I crack a complicated commission, or have my print orders to the post office.

Is this how you look at your working day?

Other stress relievers in my life include no plans in the diary every once in a while. This is becoming more of a thing in my life as our family grows and my business gathers momentum (did you see What’s new on my print shop ?).

A calendar without solid plans can be good for the soul, especially if you are a people pleaser like me.

You hate to let people down or upset plans. I learned thanks to Lysa Terkeurst and her book The best Yes that for every outing, activity, coffee date, exercise class I say yes to it is another time when I say no to my kids and my husband.

I am not saying I don’t see anyone and don’t want to have to see anyone.

Relationships and friendships are a stress reliever and one of the most enriching parts of our lives.

I simply mean that everything  in this colourful life of ours is Seasonal, sometimes we are quiet in the connections front, other times we are fruitful and busy.

Keep stress at a minimum by allowing yourself space.

Coffee and/or wine is another stress reliever for me.

I’m a cliché mum who depends on caffeine and alcohol to unwind *raises hand and shouts* “GUILTY!”

Wine intake doesn’t fit into my fitness routines that well but we all have our vices and mine is enjoyed preferably outdoors with a beautiful sunset and birdsong. (I talk about how we need treats in our lives here)

Coffee crept up on me in my late twenties and has brought an alarming and again slightly embarrassing amount of joy to my daily existence. Read about my Aussie friend Sarah’s insight into coffee and how much we love to get together over a nice strong cup or, three.

When I had hyperemesis with this current pregnancy I was DEVASTATED that I couldn’t even walk near to never mind go into or drink from a coffee shop.

Hard pill to swallow for a coffee fan, especially as we had a coffee festival in Belfast during those months of my sickness.

That mixed with the realisation that I have a heart murmur and can’t drink more than three cups or my ticker goes nuts.

Are you as much of a cliche as me? Do you enjoy “winedown” with your friends?

As mentioned above, exercise is a huge part of my life.

Yes it has been proven to relieve stress through the release of endorphins.

BUT it can equally contribute stress, certainly in my day to day dealings because my obsessive-every-duck-must-be-in-a-row personality means I often can’t function until I have completed my workout. A five minute work out ( see Hollie’s tailored for mum’s workout here) or swim is often enough.

I just love that after glow feeling strong and ready for anything!

Exercise is one of the founders of this blog and my love of fitness.

So there you have it. An insight into some of my day to day stresses. I didn’t even start to tackle the many stresses that come with parenting two wild boys, and being eight months pregnant with another babe.

As I said at the start it’s good to constantly evaluate situations before labelling them as a “stress”. Parenting stresses are essential my life choice, and the massive encyclopaedia of parenting stresses is a whole other blogspot for us to thrash out in the future.

How you breathe and deal with every crammed date in the diary, to do list that has gone on one day too long, or tantrum from your two year old, can affect how your whole day turns out.

Stay confident in your ability to remain as you are, to use the tools you have in your head and at your fingertips to get through those moments.

I can’t wait to hear about your idiosyncrasies and the little things that help you break down day to day stress.

Please share.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Friday


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