5 Small Steps I’m Taking to Make Everyday Life Less Stressful

Two months ago I stopped taking antidepressants for my depression and anxiety (which started with postpartum depression almost four years ago). It’s been an interesting few weeks, but all in all I’ve been feeling pretty good being off the SSRIs.

But something I’ve had a hard time managing is my anxiety over the insanity of everyday life. Dealing with the craziness of my family’s schedule has always been difficult for me, even when I was on SSRIs. But since I’ve been off them, it’s been even harder.

And I think – no, I know – that in order for me be off meds and keep feeling good, I need to make some changes – ASAP.

Honestly? Ever since I had kids, I’ve found it a real challenge to achieve a balanced, healthy life. And from my blog reading and seeing what people post on Facebook and Twitter, I can tell a lot of you do, too.

Kids. Spouse. Work. Sports and activities. Volunteering. Laundry. Dishes. House projects. Birthday parties and other events. Cooking. Cleaning.

It’s an awful lot for any mama, and it’s no wonder we’re all so stressed out.

Sure, a major change could slow life down significantly. Moving to, oh, I don’t know, a small town in Montana and living a simpler, slower life sounds pretty appealing at times. But it isn’t practical.

So instead, I’m trying to make small changes to make my life more manageable and less stressful. For some of you healthy moms out there, these things may sound basic. But for me and other wickedly stressed, out-of-whack mamas, these small steps may help a lot.

Here are five ways I am trying to reduce stress in my life

Get more sleep. The last week has been pure insanity and I haven’t slept much. And not only am I exhausted, I have a headache that won’t go away. And I’m grumpy. Very grumpy. Not getting enough sleep = JD on her way to a bad place.

Goal #1: Get 7.5 hours of solid sleep every single night. I think that alone will help me tremendously.

Exercise. Exercising always falls to last on my list. I generally don’t like it. But I have to do it. I have 10 extra pounds hanging around my middle that aren’t pretty or healthy.

Goal #2: Start with weight-training and running on the treadmill once a week. Walk around the block with the kids once or twice. Start small and see what happens.

Get some me-time. Ah, the mythical “me-time.” Such a lovely thing that never seems to happen. But it has to. And for me, it has to be me-time that’s away from the computer. I love social media, but I need to unplug to relax.

Goal #3: Start reading a new book. And when I sit down to read, read far away from anything with a screen!

Make couple-time a priority. So there’s this guy. I share a house with him. We have kids together. And I really like hanging out with him. I did marry him for a reason, after all. But in the chaos of kids, work, and life, it’s easy to forget to spend time together. And that’s something that needs to change.

Goal #4: Two weeknights a week (not including the occasional date night), put the computer away, turn off the TV, and hang out together. Schedule it in our calendars if need be!

Just say no. I just started doing this lately and man, does it feel good. Say it with me, mamas: “No, I can’t start a new monthly school newsletter this year.” “No, I can’t bake three dozen cookies for tomorrow.” “No, I can’t be in charge of the spring school fundraiser.” Doesn’t that sound great?

Goal #5: Don’t lead, coordinate, or be in charge of any major projects this school year. Volunteer here and there when I can – but don’t let myself be guilted into running the show.

Do you feel overwhelmed by day-to-day life? Do my goals sound like goals that could help you, too? Or are you really good at making yourself a priority – and if so, how do you do it?

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I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post and am being compensated for writing it, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. And if you’d like, you can read my full disclosure policy here.

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