Stress Less this Holiday

Stress Less this Holiday

We all know that the holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of year to see family, eat, drink, and be merry. So why has it turned into this monster of stress and anxiety over the years? Who’s family do we spend it with? What do we buy your sister? She wants WHAT for Christmas?? I need a whole bottle of gin to get through this meal…You get my drift. 

I am here today to help YOU have the most enjoyable holiday season yet-how?! By helping you find ways to not get stressed and anxious about all the holiday cheer.

Below are my top 5 ways to find some release during the holiday season-let me know your favourite in the comments!

EXERCISE, LAUGH, MEDITATE

Physical activity is one of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety. It lowers your body’s stress hormones, helps release your endorphins, improves your quality of sleep, and boosts your confidence, who doesn’t need a bit of that?! Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s a spin class or a meditative walk, yoga— and make it part of your routine. 

As for exercising, I like to do that with friends and with friends comes laughter and it’s almost impossible to feel stressed when you’re laughing! Laughter can help relieve stress by relaxing your muscles and reducing your stress response (just like exercise!). So get together with friends that make you laugh, watch a funny movie, or do something that makes you belly laugh – and feel the stress melt away! 

Meditation. Bit of a crazy segway from laughter, right? But it is a phenomenal way to quiet the mind and get rid of the critter brain that some events can create. Mindfulness is a mental state in which you focus on yourself, your surroundings, and your actions. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking, which in turn reduces stress.

Try mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, yoga, or meditation when you feel the stress creeping into your life. There are a lot of apps out there to aid you in this.

REDUCE CAFFEINE INTAKE

Say what?? You want me to cut down on my lifeblood?? We get it, scary doesn’t even cut it to explain what this does to most people. Everyone loves a daily cup (or 3) of coffee, chai, or tea. However, high doses of caffeine can increase anxiety and make you feel jittery or anxious. Admit it, you’ve been there. 

We’re not suggesting that you cut it out completely…just be mindful of your intake. Could this be part of your mindfulness practice? You’ll see a difference, promise!

AROMATHERAPY

I use oils in all aspects of my life so it is no surprise to anyone that I use them to help me get through the holiday season. I tend to use woody oils to support my stress response and anxiety like Vetiver and Cedarwood. Lavender, citrus, and bergamot are particularly effective at alleviating both, as well. (Plus, they smell amazing!) Try diffusing a few drops or applying directly to your skin (ONLY pure therapeutic grade oils please! And dilute).

LEARN TO SAY NO

While many stressors are out of your control, some are not. One way to take control of the parts of your life that are causing you stress is to say ‘no” more often. Saying “yes” to everything and taking on too much can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Be selective. It may be hard to do at first but think about it this way-who really wants to be around a stress head? Pretty sure people would rather you honour yourself and your mindset by just catching up with them AFTER the holiday season. 

FOR A QUICK FIX, SQUEEZE HERE

Take a look at your hand. See the squishy place between your index finger and thumb? This is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. If you start feeling overwhelmed by the holiday stress just apply pressure to the hoku spot for 30 seconds to reduce stress and tension in your upper body. How cool?!

Finally, my bonus suggestion!

WORK WITH A HEALTH COACH 

A Health Coach works with you to help you identify what your personal health and wellness issues are, how they affect you and those around you, and develop strategies to overcome them. They can help you reduce and manage your stress more effectively by helping you change your mindset and behavior (and by extension, improve your life). If you feel called to work with someone, please let me know and I can help point you in the right direction. 

If you are dreading the holiday season because of all the craziness that comes about, try a few of these suggestions and let me know how you get on. 

We should all be able to enjoy the holiday season, not dread it every year. 

Post written by Sarah Byrnes

Sarah is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach melding health and life coaching, essential oils, and yoga to empower Mamas to find vibrancy in their lifestyles again after children. She empowers them to realise that they, too, matter. Take her hand, Mama, and let her guide you back to you. You can follow along here http://www.instagram.com/sarahbyrnewellness 

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

MLC Team Picks: Office + School Supplies!

How can you tell it’s Back to School Season? Every blogger worth her salt is posting about school supplies, school lunches, easing back into school year routines, advice on transitions. Here, at Mom Life Collective, we’ve got the same things on our mind but since we are all about working moms, our Back to School post is also for you, working moms!

Here are a few of our favorite things!

Raewyn’s Picks

Raewyn is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, a virtual assistant, an Instagram unicorn,  the founder of The Shield Sisters Initiative and The Collab Lab, and mom to three year old Delainey.  With so many projects on her plate, she needs a powerhouse of a planner, and pens that can keep up.

Rae’s favorite planner is the Panda Planner and her go-to pens are these InkJoy Pens from PaperMate.  For D, a durable water bottle that keeps her water cold all day is a must, so she goes to school with a HydroFlask.

Nancy’s Picks

Nancy is Mom Life Collective’s Community Manager, and a virtual assistant. She has three kids, ages 10, 8, and 5. She is a lifelong lover of office supplies, an obsession she indulged in without shame back in her teaching days. These days, running her business from home, she still feeds her office supply addiction, even if she’s no longer buying teacher planners and Job Well Done stickers.

She loves these Yoobi pens, first introduced to her via her Sparkle Hustle Grow subscription box. They must be really popular because they’re out of stock! These Staedler pens are also a favorite.   Moleskine notebooks were Nancy’s paper of choice once upon a time, but these days, she finds a pad of paper more useful. Any note pad will do but the ones from Rifle Paper Co. are pretty!

Michelle’s Picks

Michelle is the founder of Mom Life Collective, and a Digital Stylist & Visibility Strategist to emerging online businesses. Michelle is mom to 4 kids, ranging in age 14, 10, 8, and 5. Former preschool teacher and lover of office supplies, needless to say her favorite time of year is back to school!

Whether you are planning a new product launch or blog posts, sticky notes are a must have to keep it organized and to easily move things around. An organized desk is essential to optimal productivity and this organizer is a perfect fit to any desktop.

And if you are on the go and take your work with you often, then a cute and sturdy laptop bag is a must have!

Interested in writing for the Mom Life Collective?

We would love to feature your article on the MLC blog!

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3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

3 Steps to Breaking Free From The Cycle of Overwhelm

The latest statistics show that 92% of working moms and 89% of stay at home moms are overwhelmed with their personal, family, and home responsibilities. As modern moms, we spend three times more quality time with our kids than moms did in the 60’s.  We are constantly battling time-starvation in a world that is going faster every day with more felt expectations than ever before. Between driving kids to activities, answering work emails at home to catch up for the next day, and the endless To-Do lists that keep creeping onto tomorrow’s lists, what I hear most from moms is that they are overwhelmed and exhausted.

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A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

A Week’s Worth of Easy, Healthy Summer Recipes

During the school year, my menu plan is buttoned up but when summer rolls around, all that goes out the window.  5pm rolls around and I have no plan for dinner while my kitchen seems to be stuck in snack mode. How many times a week can I let my kids have cereal for dinner? I mean, theoretically, every single night because who’s counting and who’s judging, right?  But I digress. A healthy meal that comes together quickly is the best remedy for those summertime dinner slumps. Here are seven easy meals to make, along with a shopping list that’ll make sure you have what you need.

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The Working Mom’s Guide to a Safe Summer

The Working Mom’s Guide to a Safe Summer

Summertime and the livin’ is easy… unless you’re working from home.  My kids do not go to camp all summer long, so I spend my summers trying to balance my work committments and keeping my kids occupied. To give you an idea of what I’m working with, my kids are 10, 8 and 5 years old. The playground is across the street from our house, and we have a pool in our neighborhood, but our backyard is the size of a postage stamp. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbhorhood where I feel safe letting my kids ride their bikes or scooters on their own, with the big ones keeping an eye on my little guy.  Keeping the kids safe while letting them be independent is one of my goals this summer. Here’s my Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe This Summer!

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7 Strategies for Getting Organized When You’re Crunched for Time

7 Strategies for Getting Organized When You’re Crunched for Time

We all live busy lives.  If you are a working mom, your time is extremely limited.  Between work and kids’ schedules, you barely have a second for yourself.  

As someone who loves to organize, I have a list of things that need to be organized but how am I going to find time to do it?  I have a husband, kids, and full-time job. After a long day of work, I want to spend time with my husband and kids, not organizing.

One thing I’ve concluded about organizing,  especially after having kids, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

 Let me repeat, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

That is something I’ve finally come to terms with, I’ve saved quite a bit of time with organizing projects by not trying to perfect them.  Sure,  I want it to be nice and pretty but if something isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to, I find another solution. More time is wasted trying to make it work. It’s like trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore.

Pinterest and other social media outlets have these beautifully organized homes and spaces.  They are great to look at and an inspiration but you can easily get frustrated with it because our home doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. Can you say, #PinterestFail? 

Taking on an organizing project can be a daunting task especially if you don’t love it.  It’s hard to finish while eating up too much of your time.  I love to organize and  even I’ve felt like that a few times.

Here are my 7 strategies for organizing when you’re in a time crunch

 

Schedule It

Make an appointment in your calendar to get the project done.   I resisted this for years because I thought I had the willpower.  It’s so much more powerful, and more likely to happen when it’s actually scheduled.

Make a List

Knowing all of your organizing projects will help you decide which ones to tackle first.  Take the time to sit down and make a list of small organizing projects. Some examples would be the junk drawer, a kitchen drawer, a clothing drawer, the bathroom vanity and so on.  Estimate how long each project will take– 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. Overestimate time for each project because it usually takes longer than you think! 

Take one organizing project per day that is relative to your day and tasks

 Let’s take a clothing drawer,  for example.  Let’s say you wore a specific shirt that day and just have gotten home from work and are changing out of your work clothes and are putting that shirt away.  If you see that the drawer that that shirt belongs to is pretty unorganized, take a minute or two to organize it.  Instead of tackling the entire dresser,  you tackle just the drawer. Work each drawer each day. Think about it this way: if you have 5 drawers to your dresser, then in 5 days your dresser will be organized.  Another example would be the drawer or cabinat where you keep your food storage containers. Lids and containers are all jumbled up and piled up on each other. The next time you unload the dishwasher, take a few minutes to corral all the lids, and stack all the containers before putting clean ones away. 

Set a Timer

 Using a timer will keep you on task and motivate you to get the project done before the timer goes off. There’s no sense of urgency when a timer isn’t set.  If you’ve ever played sports, the clock is always going down. If you’re not winning and there’s not much time left, it’s time to step it up a notch and give it your all. A lot of people swear by the Pomodoro Method. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task for that 25 minutes, then take a short break. After you’ve done this four time, take a longer break–20 or 30 minutes. 

Purge

There are a few ways to purge.  You can set an empty box in each room in your house and that can be the box for things you don’t need or don’t know where they belong.  When you are putting away utensils from the dishwasher, you can look at your utensil drawer or storage holder and see what you used. If you haven’t used it in awhile, put it in the box. The same strategy applies to clothing–as you are folding laundry, put aside things that are torn or outgrown, and get rid of them. 

Ask a Friend To Help

When you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to complete the task.  No one likes standing up a friend. Offer up some pizza, coffee, or wine for a little added incentive.  It’s also a great time to catch up if you haven’t seen each other in awhile. Friends like helping friends.  This is a great strategy for those organizing tasks where you don’t have to concentrate too hard, like organizing the kids’ playroom. 

Turn off the Notifications

 Our smartphones have become one of the biggest time distractors of all time.  Sure,  they are very convenient and do make our lives easier but they also have become a huge interruption in our day.  I read a few years ago the average person looks at their smartphone 150 times a day!  I’m sure that number has increased by now but that’s absolutely insane.  Turn off the notifications and check your phone when it’s convenient for you. Better yet,  schedule time on your calendar for checking in with social media and checking email. 

Taking the time to get organized has big benefits like reducing your stress,  increasing productivity and decreasing the amount of time you spend looking for something you need. 

Make a plan to get organized. Now,  go work that plan!

Marie Jackson is an innate organizer and planner, a working mom of two with a third on the way and a ten year veteran of corporate America.  The Organized Planner was created for the working mom to help manage and organize her personal and work life. Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress-free home. http://organizedmarie.com

 

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