Ideally, home will be a place that you can retreat to, to calm, to enjoy family time and relax. However, levels of stress at home are on the rise. Often the stress at home is caused by more everyday things. Losing keys; a fault with your oven on the morning of a big dinner party; or your car not working when you need to take your 9 year old to a championship hockey match!
Whatever the situation, here are three practical tips to beat stress at home, and help you think ahead and plan, plan, plan.
1. Keep everyday things together and in the same place
Keep things that you may need to put your hands on quickly, in the same place. That includes your keys, your glasses, your shoes. So much personal energy is used up simply by searching for these things, energy that could be saved by finding a regular home for these things and putting them back there. I’m pretty organised these days, but that wasn’t always the case, I assure you. The question for you though is: do you know where you keep your passport?
2. Do a pre-mortem
Carry out what Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin calls a ‘pre-mortem’, a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations. When you’re under stress, your brain releases cortisol which flows through your body, causing the flight, fight or freeze reaction. In this condition, all non-essential bodily functions shut down which means that your brain gets cloudy and it is hard to think clearly and logically. So plan out what to do in these situations. In the corporate world, we call this a ‘crisis management strategy’, which kicks in if the emergency situation happens. The classic example is the fire drill. Everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire. In your personal life, a fire drill could be anything from your car breaking down; to being shut out, to being diagnosed with an illness. Think through the worst-case scenarios so you know what to do if the worst happens.
3. Avoid paying too much attention to the news
If you fill your mind with negative news, it figures that it is not going to help lift your spirits. I’m not suggesting you stick your head in the sand, however the news that is reported generally focuses on the negative things that have happened as bad news sells, and let’s face it, in our globally connected world, we’re not short of negative news.
However, balancing out daily news with a daily dose of inspirational learning will help lower your levels of stress at home, so you can better enjoy your family.
For instance, instead of switching on the TV or radio and listening to just what happens to be ‘on’ maybe you can listen to podcasts or audio books on topics that inspire you?
Like with all aspects of health and wellbeing, being organised and prepared is just one tool in a stress management toolkit. It works well for many people, but is just one tool in the box. To help you create your own stress management toolkit, I’ve created a single sheet containing 28 Stress Reduction Techniques.