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Share your top tips for a slightly less stressed existence with Aviva and you could win £250 high street vouchers NOW CLOSED

(164 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 11:59:14

We have been asked by the team at Aviva to find out your top tips for a slightly less stressed life - please share them on this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 of high street vouchers.

Aviva say "Being a parent is an amazing experience, but it doesn't come without its challenges – particularly in today's hectic world. In fact, our Health Check UK research reveals that one in five of us are suffering from stress as we struggle to juggle our work life balance. And a similar amount says that family pressures are contributing to their anxiety. With a high proportion of women saying that they've suffered from stress, we want to help Mumsnetters take steps to tackle the issue.

As the real family experts, we want you to be involved too. What better way to do this than to share your tips and experiences with other Mumsnetters. We look forward to hearing your suggestions".

Share on this thread your tops tips - what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you? Or what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life? How stressed do you feel on a daily basis? What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?

This is part of a campaign Aviva are launching this week where they are working with 10 MN bloggers to give them tips from their experts to help reduce their stress levels - Aviva say "armed with our experts ranging from a doctor, nutritionist and Premiership Rugby coach we want to help the bloggers achieve a healthier and less stressed life. The bloggers will be getting personalised health tips to try for 2 weeks - aiming to commit to at least one for a lifetime".

Here are the first posts from the bloggers:

House of three monkeys

Ordinary Cycling Girl


Mrs England

To Become Mum


Johnson Babies

The Beesley Buzz

Mummy is a gadget geek

Expression and Confession

If you have a question about private healthcare and insurance please ask the Aviva expert here.

Add your comment on this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 high street voucher. Closing date: 19th May.

Please note your anonymous comments may well be used by Aviva in a booklet, on their website or on their social media channels. Please only add a comment if you're happy for your comment to be used by them.

CMOTDibbler Tue 29-Apr-14 14:37:28

I'm pretty stressed tbh - ft work, travel for work, chronic pain, 7 year old ds, mum has dementia, dad is v frail (they average an emergency hospital visit every 8 weeks), dhs work is full on, no family help at all...

My sanity is saved by running - getting outside clears my mind, and its something that only I can control, as in no one makes me run faster or slower (or at all) unlike the rest of my life

stealthsquiggle Tue 29-Apr-14 15:01:03

I am pretty stressed most of the time, most of which could be controlled if I were more organised and disciplined and stopped procrastinating hmm.

However, the one thing I do which does help reduce stress levels is to do something creative every day - even tiny amounts of progress on a sewing project mean that I can go to bed with a clearer head than if I went straight from the work/household hamster wheel.

Exercise. I am going to do it. It will help lift my mood and help me focus I am sure.

BornToFolk Tue 29-Apr-14 15:04:01

I've just taken up running and am loving it so I agree with CMOT! grin
In general though, I think it's important to take time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

Being out of control makes me feel stressed, so I like to keep my house neat and tidy as it makes me feel more in control. Also using "to-do" lists where I can cross things off appeals to the control-freak in me. Just writing down what needs to be done can make a big scary task seem more manageable too.

Spirael Tue 29-Apr-14 15:31:26

Make as many things into a game as possible. You could just get dressed in the morning... Or you could have a race to get ready! You could just sort laundry... Or you could play the sock matching game! You could all sit in your usual places at the dinner table... Or you could play musical chairs!

Life is too short to take everything seriously, so lighten up and have fun whenever you possibly can. Laughter is infectious and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infect as many people as possible. smile

Swex Tue 29-Apr-14 17:04:24

Two small children and a weekending husband! Yes, I'm stressed.

But I am an enormous believer in lists (could NOT survive without my iPhone reminders section and the birthday app!). Also leaving the house at bed time, how I want to enter it in the morning.

FanFuckingTastic Tue 29-Apr-14 17:09:33

Being organised helps me to feel less stressed, from shopping lists, to meal planning, to having a budget, to having specific days for specific tasks. I have a morning routine, and an evening routine, both of which reduce the stress I usually experience in getting up and ready to go, and in being ready for the next day. I use budgeting apps to control my money, and calendars to manage mine and my children's appointments and activities.

I also practice Mindfulness, which is relaxing and helps to bust stress. I have several exercises I follow when I begin to feel stress overwhelming me.

Seven Eleven breathing to slow down the heart rate

Progressive muscle relaxation to loosen tense muscles, meditation to still the mind, and using a Worry Tree in an allotted hour for dealing with the things that are making me stressed.

All of these things help. I am an anxious person, so I have had to learn to manage my worrying and stress levels.

mumsbe Tue 29-Apr-14 19:01:13

I am actually getting less stressed as I get older the only thing that keeps me less stressed is being organised by getting everything ready the day before.
What makes me stressed is when something gets in the way of your well planned day
I could probably do with being a bit more laid back and having a bit more me time

SixImpossible Tue 29-Apr-14 19:19:25

I would like my elderly parents to schedule a rest time into their day, and use it to actually rest, rather than submit to the pressure of 'jobs that have to be done', and thus drive themselves to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Tue 29-Apr-14 19:24:40

Prioritise. You can't do everything at once. Make a list and keep it achievable. Set time scales for bigger jobs. This works for work and home with me. I have to weeks to get my assessment files up to date and tidy the spare room.

Be kind to yourself and have breaks/treats.

Train your kids and DH well. This will cause less stress.

Itsfab Tue 29-Apr-14 19:48:14

I would be a lot less stressed if Aviva called me back when they said they would and honoured something they said they would do the first time and not had me have to ask twice more.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Tue 29-Apr-14 20:03:30

Definitely agree with exercise as a great stress-buster. Running really helps to clear my mind and relax me. I get very tetchy after a few days if I can't run.

TeamEdward Tue 29-Apr-14 20:08:52

I think small steps towards mental well-being really helps stress levels.
Sometimes it's recognising that small things like "I got out of bed and got dressed" are actually an achievement.
I totally agree with the exercise - it's a great stress buster, and it also gives you a chance to clear your mind.

Don't sweat the small stuff! Ask yourself "Will this matter in a week/year/five years time?"

DurhamDurham Tue 29-Apr-14 20:13:41

Make a point to get out of the house everyday. Even if it's just for a walk around the block and back it makes you feel better and breaks up the day. If I haven't been out of the house I start to get cabin fever very quickly. Not even the prospect of getting drenched in the rain is enough to put me off getting out of the house grin

sherbetpips Tue 29-Apr-14 20:27:59

I stopped the pop up on my email and the Ping on my mobile so I didn't feel overwhelmed by new messages coming in whilst I am trying to complete tasks at work. I do a big cook off at the weekends so that there are fresh meals for the week that I just pull out of the freezer, one less thing to worry about during the day. My biggest challenge is to not 'pre-worry' I can build a nothing into something very easily so I try to remind myself that even when things have turned out badly, they are never as bad as I imagined!

DoItTooJulia Tue 29-Apr-14 20:28:06

Organisation, don't sweat the small stuff and try and stop and smell the flowers along the way!

gamerwidow Tue 29-Apr-14 20:32:46

I am probably less stressed then I have ever been, not because anything in my life has changed but because the way I react to pressure has changed.
I used to suffer from really high levels of anxiety due to a tendency to catastrophise. It's taken a lot of hard work with CBT and medication but now when ever I feel the panic come on I can assess whether the problem is proportional to my response. Normally it isn't and I've learnt to take a step back and relax before I spin out of control.
I can't stress what a difference to my well being this has been.

sharond101 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:42:18

I am a stress magnet. I get stressed over the slightest thing. I need a list each day although that even stresses me out. When I have crossed everything on my list off I do my best to do no more. I have found myself more stressed after having DS because it takes longer to do things and everything always seems messy. On a more positive note however he brings me so much joy that I can spend time with him and my stress disappears which is priceless. I have tried mindfulness before and wish I could master it.

CheeseEMouse Tue 29-Apr-14 21:47:57

I go to yoga once a week. Time for me to think!

At work I turn down meetings. I try and make sure that at a minimum Friday afternoon and early Monday morning are free from meetings so I stand a chance of properly preparing and thinking about the week ahead.

tugamommy Tue 29-Apr-14 21:50:13

Time for exercise has made a huge difference to my stress levels.

Also second being as organised as possible: lists, planning ahead, calendar reminders. But also not taking it all too seriously - the dc have just gone to bed today a lot later than they should've done because we've been dancing to silly musics on YouTube smile

unadulterateddad Tue 29-Apr-14 22:03:14

My life can get massively stressed, but the three things I've learned that help to reduce my stress;
- Accept that not everything can be controlled by me and to only worry about things that I can influence
- Don't hide from actions that need to be done, it doesn't matter how horrible or unpleasant the job is, it never gets better by being left.
- sell my time dearly, don't take on additional tasks just because someone else asks, and never accept a timescale that is unachievable

sabretiggr Tue 29-Apr-14 22:16:29

Very stressed at the moment - three kids, and a full time full-on busy stressful job!

Couldn't cope without lists - there are some great apps to help with that (I use Wunderlist, which syncs my list between my work tablet and personal phone) to help keep me on track. Once something is on the list, I can let it leave my mind and it helps reduce stress.

On, and pick your battles - stress is kept low if you don't let things get on top of you, and only fight the things you have to.

lottietiger Tue 29-Apr-14 22:47:56

I have a toddler and a full time job with a long commute so I get pretty stressed, especially when the nursery number flashes up on my mobile aargh! What has my son walked into this time! I have three way of relieving stress, gardening, riding and wine! Exercise and fresh air are the things that clear your head best. Otherwise it's making the most of the time I have with my little boy and not getting upset when he "tries to help" which normally means emptying something I have just filled or pulling out so etching I have just put awaysmile

lish123 Tue 29-Apr-14 23:45:32

for me to de-stress I take a bath no phone or go for a bike ride no phone
on the other end of the scale I like a room of silence but enter competitions with NO PHONE ...

Organisation helps with my stress levels. The thing that stresses me out is feeling overwhelmed by having so much to do, and as I am a natural flapper being organised (sometimes easier said than done ) really does help, failing that a cup of tea and some biscuits always helps grin

stephgr Wed 30-Apr-14 01:00:11

The only answer for me is making lists and then crossing things off as they get done otherwise we'd be in complete chaos plus accepting that some things won't get done or won't get done as well as I'd ideally like.

VestaCurry Wed 30-Apr-14 04:24:30

Excellent organisation reduces my stress levels enormously. I have a large page per week diary, with sections for each member of the family, showing what is happening that week and crucially, what is required for any activity eg various kits needed the night before for various sports etc.

I use the dictaphone facility on my phone to 'brain dump' info that comes up which I know I need to remember/schedule in etc. Alternatively there's my 'long list' on a note taking app from which I extract info which goes onto the family diary.

I do 95% of my shopping on the internet. I find walking round shops time wasting therefore stressful as well as dull. What I want is often not available in the store and I have then stood there ordering what I need online. My way of shopping keeps stress levels down and I spend far less.

gazzalw Wed 30-Apr-14 10:19:38

limit technology access as much as possible particularly during family time! You will be amazed at how much the pace of life - and therefore stress - slows down!

flamingtoaster Wed 30-Apr-14 10:36:32

I make lists to reduce stress - and the lists are on paper as paper is more reliable than technology. I also try to get the most stressful items off the list first each day because then my stress level reduces considerably. I also find it important to sit relaxing in the garden (in good weather) or go for a walk (even in bad weather).

Chot Wed 30-Apr-14 10:53:18

I can be a stress bunny. it has to be said (on my own - partner works away - with 4 children aged 7 and under, job but no longer a career, house, allotment, etc. etc. - but who doesn't have a lot on their plate nowadays?!) and I know that if I exercised and got organised it would help a great deal!! (Will try harder!)

The three things I DO do that help, however, are:
* LISTS (for everything!) and keeping a notepad to hand / family calendar in full view of everyone in the kitchen, so if and when something occurs to me, I write it down there and then before it gets forgotten!!
* Multi-tasking - if possible, I try to get more than one thing done at a time (only on things where it doesn't need my full attention of course), so I'll do laundry while the tea is cooking or write my daily to-do list with a bath crayon on the shower wall, (!!), for example - I have been known to wax my legs while sitting on the loo...
* And I rarely make a decision without making myself sleep on it first - a night's sleep can make a huge difference to my clarity about a situation / can really enable me to cut the wheat from the chaff and make a much better decision.

But I really do need to get more exercise and be better organised!! smile

EvilHerbivore Wed 30-Apr-14 11:28:30

Prioritise - I divide everything into "big" and "small" tasks for the day, those that are urgent/will take lots of time and those that need getting round to or can be done in 5 minutes and then honestly try and asses how many I can get done that day within the limitations of a pre-school child and a baby, my job, my health etc
I then get the "big" task out of the way first and then squeeze in as many "small" ones as I can do - sometimes this means the housework has to go on a back burner for the day if I've loads of other errands to run but to stay sane, its just the way its got to be!
Also agree with those that say lists and preparation - I write down the sell by dates of everything when the food delivery comes on my phone so I can meal plan for the week and avoid not using food because its gone off

CrewElla Wed 30-Apr-14 12:27:26

oh, it's all about planning for me. My weeknight routine it to think about what the next day holds and prepare that night to make mornings easier.

I like a half hour to myself in the morning, it calms me, so prep the night before gives me that.

telsa Wed 30-Apr-14 12:43:36

I am so stressed. I have so much work to do and the list gets longer. Email is a pain, as it stops me switching off and doing stuff, always pulling me back to the moment. Stress went through the roof yesterday when work managed to delete most of my documents drive irrecoverably. So, I am not the person to ask.

In an ideal world though I would say that staying away from all electronic devices for a good period of time helps the stress to subside. Sunshine, laughter, friends are all great ingredients. And lists - which do generally expand, but at least give a shape to the humungousness.

laurapotz Wed 30-Apr-14 13:11:21

I've always been someone who gets easily stressed, and being a mum is no different. I find the best thing I can do is stop, take a few deep breaths and prioritise what is really important. Everything else can be dealt with at some other time (if it actually NEEDS to be dealt with at all).

ouryve Wed 30-Apr-14 16:54:08

I tend to vary. Sometimes everything is like water off a duck's back, but at others, I do find myself mildly stressed about a lot of things. I find that I can bring my stress levels down by finding something that I can take control of and, yes, take control of it. On top of numerous things, I'm currently irritated by the fact that I never managed to finish decorating the dining area, last autumn. So, now that the things which got in the way of that are down to a less all consuming level, I am finishing the job I started. Or at least I will do, when I find the blinking roller!

mjmooseface Wed 30-Apr-14 17:30:00

Spirael Your post made me laugh! Some great advice in there! I totally accept that mission! ;)

Thanks FanFuckingTastic for all of your links! I'm going to have a look at the Being Mindful one :D

I can get quite stressy sometimes. I think it comes mainly from in my mind, I want things to go a certain way and they don't always go to plan! I write daily To Do lists and try to complete everything in a day. But I don't beat myself up if I miss off some things. I just do them another day. When I'm angry or upset, I write everything down. That can be so healing. After, I rip the paper up and put it in the bin. It clears my mind and I feel better. Painting the walls at the weekend was a great stress reliever! Exercising helps me focus on me. I have a large chunk of the day to myself when my husband is at work and my son is napping and I try to do productive things for myself. Or just watch a film all the way through! I use that time wisely to do things I want to do. I try and get out of the house every day. Sometimes, I just want a walk in the rain! other times, it's pottering around the garden with my son, or playing with my dog and his ball.

I think just taking life slowly, appreciating nature and human interactions. Freezing special moments and being in the moment instead of thinking 5 weeks ahead for something else. I feel lucky to be a stay at home mum, so I don't have to juggle work with parenting. I also have a husband so I'm not trying to do everything on my own. I have ditched family and friends who caused too much drama and spread gossip and were horrible so that's helped get rid of, what was at the time, an element of stress in my life.

Some excellent suggestions on here!

moonegirl Wed 30-Apr-14 20:49:21

don't sweat the small stuff, I used to get really stressed about mess. but with 3dc's I had tell myself to get over it and now ignore it throughout the day and do a tidy after they go to bed.
I also keep a notepad on my bedside table, if Im awake worrying about something I write it down with ideas what I can do to solve it. I can then switch off knowing I can deal with it later.
when I'm having a bad day with the dc's with constant tantrums, screaming etc I go out of the room before losing my cool (I take two mins to remember how lucky I am to have them after previously been told I would never conceive) and I go back ready to be patient and calm smile

MadMonkeys Wed 30-Apr-14 21:25:25

Being more organised - meal planning etc.

Running - it gives me some brain space and makes me feel fitter and energised.

MakkaPakkasSponge Wed 30-Apr-14 22:10:08

I've changed my mindset as I've got older. I've been through enough tough times to be able to let the little things go, and I can appreciate what I've got. I only really get stressed with sleep deprivation but I tell myself it'll pass.

Having a laugh, and being able to laugh at yourself are important.

tinypumpkin Wed 30-Apr-14 22:11:26

Madmonkeys beat me to it. I was going to say running too. I feel so much better mentally as well as physically for going out three times (if I can make it) a week. It's a time when I am not working nor looking after children.

I also agree about being organised. I have to make lists. Even when I feel stressed by everything, having written a to do list helps.

Doubtfuldaphne Wed 30-Apr-14 22:16:47

I see we all love lists! I'd be lost without my lists. Below my normal list of shopping and jobs for the week, I have a treat list for myself and I love ticking those off. It can be things like 'new shoes' or 'new cd' obviously I don't buy things all the time but to have it there I can see I've got little 'rewards' for all the mundane stuff I have to do. I suppose it's an adult version of a star chart!
Now that my dd is no longer a baby, I'm getting a bit more sleep (still not a nice 9 hours but manageable!) and that has helped immensely. Having a routine in the week is so important because I know that by 9pm I can do whatever I like and sometimes that keeps me going. Just to have absolute peace for an hour is so luxurious!
The last main factor for me is relationships. These can cause masses of stress if there is no communication.
I am usually easy going and happy but I can let little problems build up and have been known to occasionally go in to meltdown. I've learned that I need to talk more instead of bottling things up. When small things niggle away at you, then it only takes something insignificant to become a huge problem. Deal with problems as they arise and always always talk about it through.
Be positive and always look on the bright side!

Doubtfuldaphne Wed 30-Apr-14 22:24:22

I didn't answer some of the questions sorry!

what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you?

More sleep would improve my health but that's beyond my control as I have a sleepless child.. I would say I should improve my diet and eat more wholesome foods instead of relying on sugar to keep me going.

what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life?

My dh could reduce stress by being more organised. His haphazard approach to life is shocking. No routine no organisation no thinking ahead. Can you tell he's a creative type?! My dm quit her job last week as she was finding it stressful and just thought 'you know what? I'm not doing it anymore. I'm going to just enjoy life now'. Good for her! (If only we could all do this!)

Cataline Wed 30-Apr-14 22:32:22

Taking time out for yourself.
Putting your health and Wellbeing first- or at least as high as your families!
Little treats - a good book, an uninterrupted bath, new shoes- whatever floats your boat and suits your means.
Knowing your stress triggers and how to avoid getting to the point where they appear.
Saying no!

WhateverhappenedtoBrian Wed 30-Apr-14 23:00:24

Choose your battles carefully - you cant win them all. Dont sweat the small stuff. Save your energies for when you really DO NEED them.

ScrambledEggAndToast Thu 01-May-14 08:14:32

30 minutes before bedtime, all electronic devices are switched off; TV iPad, mobile etc and they remain off until I wake up in the morning. I refuse to have my mobile on over night, if anyone needs me desperately they will call me on the landline. Having electronic devices off gives my brain time to switch off and start to unwind which I think helps me to sleep better. I then make sure that the room I am in is really dark, I have black out blinds to block out as much light as possible. I burn lavender oil which is guaranteed to help me to drift off.

Lent1l Thu 01-May-14 08:47:03

Organisation helps me and lists but above all I try to remember we only get one go at life and it is there to be enjoyed. Things like washing and cleaning can wait, take time to enjoy time with friends or family, you might not get that chance again. Cleaning will always be there, the offer of a trip out might not be or the weather to enjoy playing outside with your children.

mrshuggybear Thu 01-May-14 09:35:56

It's a simple thing but when I find my patience levels are low I concentrate on breathing deeply and talking to my children in a calm voice rather than shouting, shouting really raises all our stress levels and makes things worse. I also find a walk or swim, on my own, or 5 mins in the shower on my own really re-energises me and stops the stress overwhelming me. If I am really worried about something I have to make a list or write down my thoughts.

I think one thing that would help me feel less stressed is being able to drive, we have waited 25 minutes each time to get back from shopping lately and been fretting about getting back for school/appointments . it would free up so much time and make us able to enjoy more time together doing different things.

The most stressful time here is bedtime as everyone remembers a million things they should have done that day and takes twice as long to do anything than normal!

Being organised helps me stay calm I like to know whats going on and when

Learn to accept "good enough"

Get outside every day

Take moments of joy each day from the little things

Albiebee Thu 01-May-14 10:50:45

Sleep-deprived mother to 5mo dd here. Small treats are my answer to stress, nothing too extravagant, a good cup of coffee, a proper cup of tea, a walk in a beautiful garden, dark chocolate. And remembering that old chestnut 'don't sweat the small stuff'. I also use the mantra 'this too shall pass' when dd won't sleep and I'm exhausted and stressed because I can't get anything done!

HappyMum4 Thu 01-May-14 10:53:28

Stress is an every day thing we live with, four children, about to move house, a husband who travels with work so is rarely here, no help as family live far away, no real friends either, I find the only thing to minimise stress is organisation and getting plenty of sleep. My mother used to turn to alcohol so I grew up with a pretty drunk mum most of the time so I try to avoid that option as a stress reliever as it's not nice as a child/teenager seeing your mum drunk all the time. ��

lmgeorge92 Thu 01-May-14 12:02:30

I'm all about my filofax: diary, notes, to do list. Keeping me sane as I finish uni/apply for jobs!

solastyear Thu 01-May-14 12:36:49

Realising you will probably never get everything done - clean house probably means the ironing pile has mounted up etc.
Make so time to do something you love. I try and get to the gym a couple of times a week and feel so much better for doing so. Even having a shower afterwards uninterrupted and in relative silence is bliss.

missorinoco Thu 01-May-14 13:17:31

For me being organised helps. Meal planning, including packed lunches, prepare the lunch the night before. School bags the night before.

I aim to leave 5 minutes earlier than I need to, which saves on stress for dawdlers leaving the house.

Excercise also helps. It make me feel calmer.

The one single thing that would make me less-stressed and therefore more healthy is more sleep. The DC do actually sleep but with a demanding job and a long commute, I have late nights and am up at 5.30am every day. Add small children to the mix and I am exhausted, so wired when I finally do get to bed that I cannot switch off and lie awake :-(

DH smokes - he needs to stop for his health

NorkyButNice Thu 01-May-14 14:13:10

I try to practice mindfulness every day, it means I get a bit of time out for me without having to leave the house or make a huge amount of effort, or spend any money !

There are lots of apps you can download to talk you through the steps and play some calming music.

Ilovetoread Thu 01-May-14 14:32:23

As my children have grown I have learnt a major stressor has been significantly reduced by choosing my battles wisely! So dd3 wants to wear only boys clothes, wants to be Harry Styles and will only use lynx shower gel and she is happy, so what! (Draw the line at pants!! grin). DD1 wants to put on full make up and style her hair for an evening doing homework and watching TV, so what! At the end of the day there are more important things to argue about - length of rolled up school skirt... angry

AndHarry Thu 01-May-14 14:47:37

Share on this thread your tops tips - what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you? Or what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life? How stressed do you feel on a daily basis? What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?

The small change I'm in the middle of making now is sorting out my house. It isn't Kim & Aggie-esque just yet but the clutter and sheer amount of stuff makes it far too time-consuming to keep looking tidy and I hate sitting down at the end of a long day at work and looking after small children knowing that the house is a mess. So far I've had multiple trips to charity shops and the tip to reduce the volume of toys and general junk and a visit to IKEA to get some proper storage for the things we do use. I already feel a lot better and I've only just started!

I wish my husband would stop working late into the night and get a decent amount of sleep. I also have a very demanding job and sometimes there really aren't enough hours in the day but it seems to have become a habit with him. I'm sure he would get much more done during the day if he was properly rested and we would certaily have a better home life if he was actually present as well as physically there.

I am constantly running at a high leve of stress and I know it's bad for me. Snap-triggers are running late and having people over. I try to minimise lateness by having as much as possible organised in the evening for the next day. Having people over usually stresses me out because of the state of the house so my deep de-clutter should hopefully help.

Narahs Thu 01-May-14 16:26:07

I used to have constant shoulder pains bought on by stress and become anxious over the smallest hurdle. Regular exercise and monthly full body massage have really made a difference to my stress levels and general wellbeing.

I do a lot of home workouts because going to the gym is not really possible with two children, a degree course and my own business to run! I have recently taken on running, I do this early morning and even though I'm not running much, the little that I do has such a positive and refreshing effect on my physical and mental wellbeing, it's addictive! The key to long term exercise is to find what you enjoy.

I was introduced to massage therapy by a friend who is qualified in a variety of treatments, she does something different every month and I am hooked! These treatments are like a workout in themselves and i find that my muscles respond to daily exercise a lot better since I have been having massage treatments. So far I have had Swedish, Deep Cleansing and Hot Stone massages.

whattoWHO Thu 01-May-14 16:33:20

Lists, online shopping, accepting that not everything can be perfect (eg housework).

Going to the gym feels like a chore, but definitely releases feel good hormones.

Making time to enjoy my DD, doing activities together.

I work pt, DD goes to holiday club during school hols. Sometimes I book her in for the full day despite me only working 5 hours, so that I can go shopping or have a wax or sit in a cafe. I wish I didn't feel guilty for this.

TopsysMum Thu 01-May-14 18:40:25

Not being in work certainly helps (I'm currently on mat leave) which says something about my job.... Making sure everything is ready for the morning certainly helps as does keeping to a routine.

Spending time as a family helps distress me too. Especially if it's somewhere that the kids can run and be happy.

TopsysMum Thu 01-May-14 18:41:15

Distress doh, destress

I work full time as a teacher and have two teens, so there's usually some reason or other to feel stressed. But the following help (sorry for any repetition):

- keeping wardrobe organised so that I always have something to wear without too much faff
- meal planning
- groceries delivered
- going for a walk
- having a bath with a book (I aim to do this pretty much every day and it's unusual if it doesn't happen)
- smiling, even if it's through gritted teeth to start with

Small change for big difference = iron tablets. These have made a huge change to how I feel.
What I wish dp would do = watch the television less. I hate the constant background noise.

miljones1 Thu 01-May-14 20:27:40

I never check work email when I am not working...I also try to plan ahead as much as possible so I don't get that last minute panicked feeling! Keeping the house relatively tidy reduces my stress levels as well - and giving myself sometime to just goof off is helpful!

GrasshopperNchipmunk Thu 01-May-14 20:28:37

I live for Thursday evenings. Two kids in bed by 7pm, husband at work. Bliss....It's the only time in the week that I truly have to myself... if only I didn't have a screaming 4 month old giving me grief!

I feel like I have a fairly stressful life, work full time in a stressful/ emotional environment, have three kids under 4yrs old, husband works weekends and most evenings so barely see him. Currently trying to sell the house n buy a new one. Some family issues.

Seriously, what keeps me sane most of the time is perspective. No matter how hard my life can be, it's not a patch on what other people experience. Keeps my head straight.

Things to look forward to also play a huge part in keeping a stress free home - holidays, short breaks, days out etc etc. We always have one or two things lined up to look forward too.

I also love the little things in life, great customer service, getting things for free, the stranger who makes you laugh, the stranger who stops and helps when i've got a flat tyre, you know, that kind of thing.

Maiyakat Thu 01-May-14 21:11:43

I wish I had the opportunity to do more exercise, but as a single mum it's difficult to get the chance for anything more than running round the park or climbing up soft play!

BlackeyedSusan Thu 01-May-14 21:57:53

relieve stress? well I comfort ate and put on half a stone, so not the way to do it. attempts to reverse this: eat more vegetables, try to get to bed earlier, give my self a break, try and exercise with the children... (which basically is running round the park) in spring I buy the cheap dafs from morrisons to grow and cheer up the kitchen.

the small change I made was increasing fruit/veg portions to ten per day.

animaldyoll Thu 01-May-14 22:20:18

Being a working single mum to two children with additional needs, I find myself getting slightly stressed at times. I find the easiest way to relax is to light a candle grab some lavender from the garden and chuck it in the bath, I have also been listening to relaxation music on you tube, it seems to take the edge of the day and the tinnitus. Family walks are always good to clear the cobwebs and having fun and laughing together is a great stress buster smile

ErnestShufflebottom Fri 02-May-14 11:19:07

Make packed lunches the night before. Sit down with a good book and a hot chocolate and read when ds is in bed. Fill the freezer with meals so that I can just bung.things in.the microwave. Have a lovely hot bath with bubbles and candles. Make sure that all shoes are lined up by the door so there isn't a mad rush to find them in the morning. Complete permission slips as soon as I receive them and place in book bag

iwantavuvezela Fri 02-May-14 11:38:44

My top tip to myself would be to start exercising again. It makes me feel better, and i really really need to include in my week.
I think the othr thing would be to just slow down a bit, know that this part of life (small child, working) is not for ever, and not to rush it along too much ..... like the baby years this too would pass!

To keep my central goals focussed, i have thought about what I would like to do, and have been reading more (enjoying this, and spending less time on the internet)
i need to include the exercise more thought ...
Continue to eat well as this makes me feel good / have energy /

and of course, when i feel like i am too stressed, pick up the phone, make a cup of tea, and have a laugh with a friend, always makes me feel better.

itisntme Fri 02-May-14 13:30:09

I expect getting off mumsnet and doing some excersize in my rare moments of quiet would help ... but there again, so does sitting down with a cup of tea for a few minutes if i get the chance

Uzma01 Fri 02-May-14 16:45:11

I find when I plan my days/weeks - I'm more productive & less stressed. Lists help; batch cooking is a life saver & organising the DC's things ahead of time helps get everyone out of the house in good time.

Uzma01 Fri 02-May-14 16:46:30

Also, every few months I go out for a meal with my mummy friends - I organise it, which can be a tad stressful - but it's so worth it when we all get a 'night off' together!

MrsLoada Fri 02-May-14 17:34:09

Working not quite full time, dd 12, ds 11, dh working full time and two cats so it's stress full trying to organise everyone. My life saver is my family google calendar . Every thing we do is on it it's on all our phones, my tablet family PC so no one has an excuse they didn't know something is happening.
Also I bit of chill out time on your own is great weather it's a hot bubble bath and book. A walk, or a cuppa on your own in the coffee shop while doing the shopping. Just 5 minutes on your own is all it takes.

WiggleGinger Fri 02-May-14 17:41:17

Working 80% of a full time contract helps heaps!
Being open & honest with my husband in all areas no secrets no passive aggressive tendencies. Accepting I can't do it all, I'm not super woman & I don't need to compare my ways to those of other people.
I am a firm believer in my child a achieving milestones in her own time & not becoming hung up in what other kids do!
Make time for me, for my husband & my child. Also for us as a family.
Eat together & TALK to each other. But also accept that there are times when we want peace & to be alone / just want to watch TV!

RedCherry Fri 02-May-14 17:46:12

Everyone gets stressed and most people my age are juggling kids/jobs/household chores. I always make time to meet up with friends for a cup of tea (or a wine) and a chat. Sharing your stress helps you get it off your chest! You can have a joke about the things that have gone wrong that week but also remind yourself of the good things that have happened.

It doesn't matter how long the list to "to do" is, get something off it. It may not be the most important, but at least its done. Much better to get the 30 min job near the bottom of the list completed than spend 30 mins wondering which of the top three you should do.

FrontForward Fri 02-May-14 20:41:38

What is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you?
More exercise. Better food

How stressed do you feel on a daily basis?.
Very. I'm time poor and feel guilty for juggling work and child. I worry that I'm getting older and my life is slipping away in one long drudge. I worry about failing my children because I'm so exhausted from juggling that I can't give them quality time. However time, money seem so finely balanced that I just feel like I'm treading water to keep my head above water.

What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?
Workload. Work harder and into the evenings after DC has gone to bed to try and feel on top of it
Thoughts (negative). I write a daily diary which helps as reflecting on stuff gives me perspective
Money. Because I work I'm relatively long as I keep working (back to my first stressor!)
Exercise. Finding energy and time. I'll come home and walk the dog or swim. Weekends I try and cycle or have a longer walk/swim
Family time. Family are everything so I try and ensure quality time with them

GetKnitted Fri 02-May-14 21:23:37

I have had to be very strict about thinking about work at home. Everytime I realise I'm thinking about work (but I'm not at work) I banish the thought. I'm getting quite good at it now. Before, I wasn't sleeping well because of all the work problems racing round my head.

MrsO27 Fri 02-May-14 23:31:57

For me, it's getting fresh air and going for a nice long walk. Chatting to a good friend helps too.
It's also good to focus on what's causing the stress and devise a plan to reduce it. I.e. if it's workload, look at ways to delegate better or speak to your boss about it. Making efforts, however small, to get to the root cause of the issue can really help.

Carriemac Sat 03-May-14 08:12:58

Packing lists!
I store them on my iPad, which everyone in my household can for instance when my 15 year old heads off on his German exchange next week , he will check the list form last year for when he needs, pack then print it and bring it so he knows when to bring home!
Also making time for friendships is very important

Cherryjellybean Sat 03-May-14 10:23:27

Lists, not planning too much, and trying to avoid too much time around things and people that cause stress are things I try and do to avoid stress. I am not overly stressed now but when I have lack of sleep and there is lots to do I become stressed.
My parents are always stressed, its nearly always due to planning too much in a small space of time so they are always rushing and late. I wish they would plan less!

I seem to have a chaotic life that creeps up on me all the time, my stress levels have dropped dramatically since we got our pet dog Toby. I walk him every day alone, Even if its for ten minutes it totally de stresses me. Also I write lists on my phone I feel if I write a list and set an alarm it is out of my head and I can relax more.

kelandab Sun 04-May-14 08:55:42

When I get stressed I find I manicly tidy up! I think getting myself organised is the only way to lead a calm life for me & a nice soak I the bath at the end if the day ensures that any if the days problems won't lead to a bad nights sleep.

nerysw Sun 04-May-14 09:10:05

I live by lists but have to admit a lot of things get transfered from one list to the next. To relax I love to have a bath but each night I read before bed as this is the only way I can wind down and relax enough to sleep.

Pennyforthegal Sun 04-May-14 12:16:21

Why are you promoting Aviva private healthcare on two threads MN ?

Nigglenaggle Sun 04-May-14 20:36:20

I like to make a list, with all the work broken into tiny little steps, so I can cross off each step as I do it. Looking at the crossed out items calms me and makes me feel I've achieved something!!!

A few yoga stretches help to calm the savage beast!

moneyone Sun 04-May-14 20:45:07

What is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you?
Making sure I get to the gym alternate evenings, or out for a run. It's too easy to sink into the sofa.

Or what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life?
DH - same as me! My parents are already v good at managing stress (or seem to be).

How stressed do you feel on a daily basis? What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?
Varies. Toddler tantrums, rainy days, work deadlines are triggers. I try to be aware of my feelings and ask myself 'what small thing would make you feel happier?' and acting on it - e.g. going for a wee, getting everyone dressed, having a coffee.

Moogdroog Mon 05-May-14 07:48:11

I've been really stressed in the past - work stress, and it's really destructive. I'm a SAHM at the moment, so the stress I feel is different (ongoing money-relayed stress and passing small-DC related stress). The thing that's helped me in the past is to really stop and examine what's the worst that can happen - its rarely life or death. It helps me to get things in perspective when everything seems overwhelming.
Also, when it comes to work, to compartmentalise - remember that you are paid for x hours work per week and it had no right to invade and reduce the quality of the rest of your life.

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 05-May-14 08:56:49

I have quite a lot of stress due to being a mum of 2, a sort- of carer for a dad of 86, with a son who has 4 disabilities (top 2 are severe autism and type 1 diabetes - so daily jabs and an IQ below 70)

My top stress busters are long walks in the local park, preferably with good pals who can 'walk and talk' about our autism problems/successes.

I feel the stress and adrenalin dispersing as I walk fast in beautiful nature.

My other one is a glass of champagne, a creme egg and an e-cig!

sarahj68 Mon 05-May-14 17:16:10

My children used to stress me out by telling me they needed stuff for school on the morning they needed it or the day before. Now I'm prepared with extra stationery items, and a bag of one pound coins for emergency trips/school books and always wash their pe kits as soon as they get through the door.

hareinthemoon Mon 05-May-14 19:18:41

Meditation, and "borrowing from the future" - i.e. asking myself, in two weeks/three months/a year will I remember this? Will I still be stressed about it? How much will this really matter, or still be on my mind? I have a load of self-help books, accumulated over a lifetime of stress, and Byron Katie and Martha Beck have been most helpful for me (obviously would not be the same for everyone).

Also I stress myself by being disorganised, so being as organised as I can manage (lots of getting stuff ready the night before) really helps me.

And I have some favourite oils to burn, and some calming CDs when I need some extra calming.

NotCitrus Mon 05-May-14 22:06:39

Micro-exercise. I try to do stretches or other exercise during those 'dead' times that are too short to do anything else, like supervising kids' toothbrushing, or waiting for them to put shoes on, or waiting for a train.

Keeping a spare nappy and wipes, and a couple quid and a snack, in the pushchair has saved me on many an occasion.

ritagcabrita Tue 06-May-14 09:32:41

I have a busy life and juggle full time work, 2 kids (10 year and 1 year old), house work and postgraduate study. I have no family around and work hard with my partner to provide a better future for all of us. We enjoy small pleasures, such as eating out once in a while and saving hard to go on holiday and occasional days out.

Tyranasaurus Tue 06-May-14 09:58:33

In general my life isn't very stressful- I guess cos I choose to let a lotof stuff go. I get most stressed out when I try and get too much done, e.g. clean the entire house and cook an elaborate dinner in an afternoon with a toddler dangling off my leg

michele1970 Tue 06-May-14 10:43:24

Having cancer helped with my stress levels because it put everything into perspective for me. Now the little things that used to stress me out don't because I realise that most of them weren't actually that important! Of course I'm not recommending cancer as a stress reliever but it just makes you sit back and evaluate what is really important. I have learned to accept the things I cannot change and enjoy every moment of my life, especially that spent with my children. Oh, and walking on the beach most days has also helped with my stress too :-)

BellaVida Tue 06-May-14 10:47:56

We are a busy family of 6. My DH commutes and travels a lot. My youngest is in nursery and the older 3 are still primary age. We have no family around to help or as back up an emergency. The most stressful thing for me is juggling all the logistics- drop offs, homework, activities, concerts, parties.....the list is endless.

I guess my mantra is 'plan and don't procrastinate!' I try not to complain and do my best to just get on and work through my mental to do list each day. I prepare as much as possible, even small things like laying out uniforms and putting snacks in bags the night before, helps reduce stress in the morning.

Also, when something unforeseen happens, I remind myself to 'keep things in perspective' and draw strength from the knowledge that worse things have happened before and that I have managed it and come through.

I try not to sit and dwell on things. A change of scenery always helps and offers distraction. Ultimately, if I get overwhelmed, I just remind myself how lucky I am to have my DH and my kids.

So that's it- Plan, prepare, keep perspective, don't procrastinate!

MOOON5 Tue 06-May-14 12:31:43

Mmmm... how best to manage stress eh? I am a 46 year old mum to six year old son who has autism, severe sensory processing disorder and virtually blind in one eye. I work full time a care home manager and married to lovely husband and we have a dog. I also have 3 ruptured discs in my neck so on the whole life can be stressful. How do i manage my stress...time for hubby and I, not necessarily going out but time in evening for us, time to chat with son to prevent his anxieties building and generally make time for us all when we are all together...feeding ducks, park, days out etc...this means we are occupied and generally enjoying each others company. Oh, and most importantly, remember that no matter how stressed you think your life is, there is always somebody who has more stress and more issues than yourself!!

mimidl Tue 06-May-14 14:56:06

Baking is the thing that helps me de-stress.

I have 3 children aged 19, 18 & 9 and having two teenagers in the house can be hell! I'm disabled and live with constant chronic pain, but school run, dinners & housework don't do themselves!!! ;)

To alleviate the stress I began baking cakes and making our own bread. I'd always cooked dinners from scratch (mostly! ;) ), and decided that we shouldn't be having the rubbish that's put into bread and cakes when they are mass produced.
I began with the bread and it's delicious but I felt I wanted to do something more creative, so began baking. My youngest daughter loves helping, which means we have some quality time together as well.

BoobsRUs Tue 06-May-14 15:30:45

Um besides a nanny and a lotto win?

Before I had children I used to go to the gym it was my cut off from the rest of the world time. I could do with that again.
We have also recently moved and hsve very little support network, we could do with just making some more local friends.

dragonfly63 Tue 06-May-14 18:30:41

I realised a long time ago that a lot of my stress resulted from me putting things off so that they were hanging over me and casting a shadow which I was always aware of. The best tip I can give to reduce stress is to attack the jobs that you dread first. My motto now is 'A problem faced becomes a mouse, a problem avoided becomes an elephant'. Try it, it really does help.

Lifeglitter Tue 06-May-14 20:49:09

I've got three lively boys and I so often feel like life is totally out if control! Like many others I like to be organised so my top tips are:

Write everything down! I have a weekly diary planner on my desk so I use this to keep track of kids activities, what they need for school each day such as PE kit, birthdays, people I need to phone, things I need to urgently buy like cards and presents.

I try it get up mega early so I can get showered and make up done by the time the kids are up! Such a small thing but it makes me feel human! I also try to throw a wash in and feed the cats before the kids are up

And I try to do packed lunches the night before, and have everyone's clothes ready - mine too! It sometimes feels like lots of work in advance but it definitely takes the stress out of the mornings which is my problem time!

zipzap Tue 06-May-14 22:32:27

One of the things I have come to realise since the dc are at school is that the motto 'Get things done not perfect' makes for a much easier and less stressful life and nobody ever notices the difference.

I also keep a notebook and pen by the side of my bed so that if I realise I am awake and churning things over I can write stuff down and then deal with it the next day rather than staying awake trying to work it all out and/or remember it.

ChasedByBees Wed 07-May-14 07:08:23

I have a demanding job with lots of travel but I try and make sure I spend a significant amount of time with my toddler so yes, I am a bit stressed.

I have to force myself not to rush things during my home times and actually take time to enjoy them conciously. This weekend DD helped me plant tomato plants in a grobag and fill the hanging basket with flowers. She was so delicate and careful with the plants, it was lovely to watch.

So for me, the key to being less stressed is taking time to smell (and plant) the flowers, and just slowing down.

daisybrown Wed 07-May-14 09:35:07

You can't control stress but you can learn to change your reaction to it. Once you surrender trying to control it you are half way there.

ClioD Wed 07-May-14 11:07:01

Exercise, exercise and wine! I run, cycle and do Pilates - it is great for clearing my head, getting some space and giving me that endorphin rush. I also sleep better after I've been exercising. And wine, just because, well, wine...

Chiddles09 Wed 07-May-14 12:08:25

I'm very stressed most of the time - 3ds, husband, pets, full time demanding job, family to support, house to maintain... Most of the time I feel I do a rubbish job at work, rubbish job as a mother, rubbish at keeping the house maintained, and don't even get me started on how I look...

One small change I was lucky enough to make was that my employer agreed to compressed hours - I work a full time week in 4 days, and Friday is mine to spend with the children. I so look forward to that day and feel like I am more involved in their lives. I love the school run, then I go to a baby group - it's my tonic to get through the rest of the week!

Also, if I manage to work from home, I always fit the dog walk into the middle of the day - fresh air and exercise for stress-busting, and one less job for the evening!

ilovereading Wed 07-May-14 12:41:33

Yes, far too much stress in today's life, and it's all too easy to let it control and rule you...(me)...Here are a few of the things that I find helpful to de-stress:
- to take time out to stop occasionally for a really indulgent coffee in a quiet corner of a good coffee shop, preferably with a just-bought newspaper...
- to do a bit of gardening or weeding. It's physical, it's in the fresh air, and the results are visibly encouraging too.
- to have a nice long soaking hot bath with something very nice in it, like Dead Sea salts
- to have groceries delivered, especially by a very good company I've recently discovered (whose name begins with O) - They are a pleasure to shop with, and it's much nicer than pushing a trolley round the stressful, crowded aisles of our local supermarket (whose name doesn't begin with O, but whose prices are matched by the aforementioned!)
- to try to find (and then make the time to get absorbed in) a truly good book
- to take deep breaths and practise mindfulness, when all else fails.

Wjjkl Wed 07-May-14 13:33:45

Fresh air & doing something I enjoyed pre-baby are great for de-stressing. For me, it's getting out on my horse while hubby looks after baby

Share on this thread your tops tips - what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you?

Exercise - I feel so much more relaxed and less stressed when I do 30 minutes exercise a day.

Or what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life?

Get a new job. Seriously, he works with someone who adds a bucket load of unnecessary stress.

How stressed do you feel on a daily basis? What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?

I am stressed a lot of the time - key triggers are things not falling into place when I want them to. Working full time, studying and having part time jobs all add to the stress.

I admit to managing stress with a glass of wine.

KateOxford Wed 07-May-14 16:53:24

I've joined a gym and this will lead to a big health benefit for me as I need to lose weight following the birth of my second child. By joining with a monthly fee I have to go as it's only financially beneficial when I go more than twice a week. I reduce stress in my life by planning ahead as far as possible; with lists of what I need to do and when, packing lists prepared for holidays, spreadsheets for finances and apps which make daily life easier to manage ie not having to log on to computer to do banking and online grocery shopping. My daily stresses are caused by too much to do; at home, paperwork and thus a feeling of things being out of control. I am really trying to keep on top of things on a daily basis so that they don't build up. We now have things we have to do every night before going to bed which my husband helps me with; such as emptying nappy bins, unloading the dishwasher and washing machine , putting wellies ready for nursery... That way we start the morning off as a fresh for that day rather than already being behind with the previous days jobs. I've found this really helps. I no longer feel like I'm behind but actually in front each day. By going to the gym I keep stress away and have the benefit of being healthier. Limited time is what causes me the most stress so I'm always looking for ways to do things more efficiently. We've recently changed banks and one of the reasons is so that we can pay money in etc close to our workplaces rather than just at home - things I can do on a lunch break on the days I work save me precious time on my days at home with my children.

MrsMarigold Wed 07-May-14 18:28:58

I have two toddlers and I've found double beds in their bedrooms make a massive difference - they never come to our bed, I go to them and if I doze off there at least we can all get a good sleep.

Sleep equals happier more efficient mum.

museumworker Wed 07-May-14 20:12:52

I have a lot of stress factors in my life - two kids - one toddler, one hormonal pre-teen - third on the way, work full time, partner travels abroad for work... I used to get a lot of migraines caused by stress (up to 15 a month at their worst). I saw a health psychologist on the NHS and they really helped me change my attitude to things - now I am a lot less stressed than before, and get on average a migraine every month or two.

The biggest thing I learnt was that thoughts are just a string of words - you don't have to take them seriously. So, before I was getting stressed thinking 'how will I cope?' and imagining the future. Now I think 'is that a useful thought?' and try and concentrate on the here and now - focus on what I am doing and bring myself back to the present. Life is much easier if you just focus on the task in hand. If I feel anxious I just accept that that is the way I feel at the minute - I can't do anything about it, or think it away, but I can concentrate on doing what is important to me.

janekirk Wed 07-May-14 23:33:51

I never take anger or resentment to bed with me. I spend 10-15 minutes before going to sleep meditating/praying in order to clear my mind.

HannahLI Thu 08-May-14 11:16:45

I am pretty stressed at the moment as we are inbetween moving 100 miles and my husband changing jobs. That in itself brings a whole host of problems and challenges that leave me feeling stressed and out of control - selling and buying a house, new school place etc...
What would help me is if i could have two hours of time for me each week to refresh with noone dictating what I should or could be doing in that time. It doesn't happen at the moment and if it would help me relax.

hunhun007 Thu 08-May-14 13:33:10

Walk to clear your head.
After school run when you returning home go for a walk... the day is still young and I am sure you can find 15 spare minutes.
It works for me... to the point... it allows me to plan my day in my head, get so much needed fresh air and just chill for a short while.

Boltonlass1972 Thu 08-May-14 18:06:05

Do something creative.. Research shows the left brain activity that is creative is good if you're stressed and doing lots of right brain thinking. Don't let the phrase 'but I'm not very good at...' stop you. Try the following :
Coloring in patterns.. Mosaic books etc
Paint by numbers
Crochet (brilliant YouTube tutorials available to help you start from scratch)
Writing poetry
Playing an instrument
Making cards
Marbling paper
Oil pastels.. Just make patterns or blend blocks of colour
Copying pictures with a pencil
Jewelery making
Also.. Learn a good progressive relaxation technique and do it daily.. Again, YouTube has lots

RosiePosiePing Thu 08-May-14 18:42:05

I read somewhere that reading for at least 6 minutes before bed lowers cortisol by at least 38%.

Has to be a book not electronic and something with a plot!

ISeeIt Thu 08-May-14 19:43:57

In our household, the daily struggle to come up with, source ingredients for and prepare wholesome, varied meals suitable for the whole family was a big stressor. That was until I began meal planning.

On Saturdays, we figure out everyone's schedule for the week, and whether a quick or fiddly meal will suit on a day by day basis. We then pick suitable, healthy meals and make a shopping list according to what's needed. That little investment of time has saved us lots of money, lots of daily stress and many rows! We eat better than ever to boot.

For me, the key to managing stress is learning to accept the way you're wired and then finding a coping technique. For me that means exercise is key. It gives my mind a release from my v.stressful job and endless lists of things to do. I am trying to increase from 2 x a week to 3. This is my small change.

My second coping technique is to accept that things don't always go according to plan, take a deep breath and ask myself does it really matter (eg: when stuck in traffic, 4 yo not getting shoes on and making us late or no wifi so can't access emails). Regaining perspective does reduce stress but this is not always easy.

joanofarchitrave Thu 08-May-14 22:18:52

'what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you?' -
I've just done it - I gave up coffee 24 hours ago. Coffee gives me reflux, which gives me an unpleasant taste in my mouth, makes me cough, and affects my voice. Because I was drinking lots of coffee, I wasn't drinking enough other things, and was getting quite dehydrated during the day. I'm hoping to change all that now.

'What do you wish your DH would do to reduce stress in their life?'
I really admire my dh's approach to stress. He is now pretty strict about managing it because it's just not worth the fallout from getting really stressed. A big step for him has been practising Mindfulness - I approved in a general way but couldn't really see how it would help, but the difference has been truly amazing in how DH deals with stressors.

'How stressed do you feel on a daily basis?'
As my son has got older, my stress has changed - I'm now less stressed about 'getting things done' but I worry more about his future and his health. I try to manage that by aiming to spend time just hanging out with him as he is now, rather than living in the future.

I think recognizing when I am particularly knackered and just not trying to do much at those times is helpful. Now I just need to work out how to avoid getting into that state in the first place...

jaykay34 Fri 09-May-14 11:07:07

My best way of combating stress is to have some time alone and write down how I'm feeling. I've done this since I was a kid and it definitely helps me to evaluate a situation and generally calm down.

Letitsnow9 Fri 09-May-14 13:30:55

We are waging war over clutter and disorganisation after realising how stressed always trying to find things makes us. Having things organised leads to a calm household and saves dashing about at the last minute looking for a piece of paperwork or clothing

Jinty64 Fri 09-May-14 16:20:03

I find I am much less stressed if I plan ahead and am very organised. I am getting better at saying "no" when people want me to do things at the last minute. I have set days for doing particular jobs and activities and keep lists for everything.

I am now working at going to bed at a reasonable hour as I am more easily stressed when I am tired and the more stressed I get the more tired I feel.

1amtheonewhoKnocks Fri 09-May-14 16:41:13

Definitely being more organised, lists for everyone but they have to be realistic as there's no point setting yourself up to fail! Even little children can have a visual list of things to do and get as much done as you can he night before really helps those early mornings

rootypig Sat 10-May-14 09:35:49

I have lots of ideas but I don't put any of them into practice apart from leaving your partner if he drives you up the wall

The good strategies:
Taking a hot bath helps me (arthritis)
Yoga and meditation - I used to do this pre DC, but since I've had them it's so hard to get back to - I'm too stressed to start somehow sad
Morning and evening breathing exercises
Reading books
Being outdoors, and being active
Being by the sea
Realistic expectations of yourself and others (this is probably the hardest)
Accepting help when offered

The bad strategies (ok I do these constantly)
Watching terrible tv
Eating cake
Drinking wine and smoking
Endless hours on MN grin

If anyone could tell me how to transfer my energies to my first list, I'd appreciate it!

ataraxia Sat 10-May-14 20:58:12

My mum could reduce her stress levels but not checking up on how her profession is deteriorating - she's retired so it's not her problem anymore!

ScrambledEggAndToast Sun 11-May-14 09:18:37

I enjoy crocheting. I find it really takes my mind off things which are making me feel stressed plus I have the satisfaction of seeing the end result which helps to lift my mood.

IncaAztec Sun 11-May-14 13:47:16

Share on this thread your tops tips - what is the small change you think you could make which could lead to a big health benefit for you? Or what do you wish your DH/DP or parents would do to reduce stress in their life? How stressed do you feel on a daily basis? What are the key triggers for stress and how do you manage them?

Small change would be to eat better I think. Eating at a proper table with the family rather than constantly grabbing snacks all the time. I wish my DH would stop checking is emails/iphone. I think it would help him relax properly of an evening.

I feel stressed about anything health related. I manage things by checking with my GP/practice nurse. Probably too much tho..

Lovewhereilive Sun 11-May-14 18:58:52

Love spirael's idea!

Exercise and fresh air keeps us sane. We try to do some every day.

JarOfDaffs Sun 11-May-14 21:28:41

Enjoy the freedoms you can and be grateful for what you have in life.
I'm a single mum of two with a disability and an anxiety disorder, this is my motto for life, really!

littlehen123 Mon 12-May-14 07:32:34

Turning off my brain once the children are in bed. One hour with the hubby then ditch the TV and phones and go to bed falling asleep to my favourite relaxing music CD.

manfalou Mon 12-May-14 12:15:30

-Dont take things too seriously if it isn't going to affect your everyday life.

-Get into a routine so that what ever jobs needs doing get done with an hour left in the evening for some downtime. Nobody wants all work and no play.

-Rationalise with yourself before 'flying off the handle' ... sometimes its so easy to give your quick, stressy response that will cause a rift but its doesn't always need to be that way.

katyk81 Mon 12-May-14 14:11:54

I find the best way to make our day less stressful is to be as organised as possible (this is not natural to me!) so meal plans are put in place, bags and uniforms are organised the night before, homework and school letters are dealt with after school on a friday to leave the weekend free. I try to be flexible with things -so if we don't fancy what's on the meal plan we swap it for another day but we know that come 8pm we won't be starring into the freezer wondering what there is to eat as we will have got something out and prepped earlier.

I also find picking my battles is the best way to be less stressed- my children know what is expected of them and forget like all kids but sometimes a raised eye-brow works just as well as a raised voice and it means that when I do have to raise my voice it is more effective... however, it's easier said than done at 8am on a monday morning!

janielou77 Mon 12-May-14 18:55:34

Find a yoga class, do a guided meditation on YouTube, smile more, when someone does you a wrong treat them with kindness. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Expect good things to happen to you. Don't be too hard on yourself. Remember that change is guaranteed. If you can control it don't worry about it, if you can, do something!

RhinosAreFatUnicorns Mon 12-May-14 20:10:00

I do get stressed. Working part time, I feel guilt about my daughter when I am at work and guilt about work when I am with my daughter. I never have enough hours to complete my job and am studying too.

Added to that all the housework, a husband who works long hours, and a desire for perfection, and it all amounts to constant stress.

I think a small change could be to take some more time just for me, outside of the house. I love taking the dog for long walks down the fields. It's an instant de-stressor.

To reduce stress, I have lists and planning. Night time routines include clothes out for the following day, bags packed and lunches made.

Rosie29 Mon 12-May-14 22:10:56

Fill the car up with petrol when you have time, keep it topped up. Sods law you'll have an empty tank on the day you over slept and forgot to make the packed lunches!

DoctorGilbertson Tue 13-May-14 05:02:15

I went on a stress course at work. The lunch was nice, but I'm not sure it helped my stress levels much. Anyway, one thing they suggested was if you are getting really stressed try to count red things as you will really have to focus on something else (and something that doesn't matter) and it might distract you. It didn't really seem to help me, but well, there we go.

NomenOmen Tue 13-May-14 13:33:10

I work full time in quite a (periodically) stressful, high-achieving environment, and am also the main child-carer, so feel stressed about juggling those roles effectively. Planning ahead my weekly schedule, in fact, just generally being as well prepared as I can be, is the best method of reducing stress, although I don't always follow my own best advice...

Other things I try to do:

Deal with things as they come up, rather than allow them to build up.

Have fun things planned every week(end) with my child.

Don't take things too seriously. Things sometimes look different even one week down the line. (My husband needs to take this advice - he always lives in the stressful moment!).

Key triggers for stress are: lack of money, and lack of time. Not always much one can do about those...

ApoqA Tue 13-May-14 13:42:29

Sport is the best way for me to de-stress. It might take time to find the right sport and the right sporting companions but when you do it should be great fun. I play tennis and badminton. I always have a good laugh and good run around.
I play with my family too. My kids are older so we can play together as equals. None of us are great players but it doesn't matter.

thesoupdragon44 Tue 13-May-14 14:15:43

I make sure that I am kind to myself and allow myself some time to just be me. Even if that is a quiet cup of tea and a snatched 5 minutes each day.

fuzzpig Tue 13-May-14 14:35:40

Making time to read is important. I've been through phases, like my A levels, where I didn't 'let' myself curl up with a book because I felt I could only prioritise studying and coursework. However afterwards I realised that I would've been much happier - and I'm sure just as successful grades-wise - if I'd allowed myself time to read for pleasure too, as the relaxing effect would've benefited me. I also try and make time for things like playing piano and doing logic puzzles (I have a magazine subscription to Beyond Sudoku which is worth its weight in gold, I would totally recommend it to any similarly geeky types grin).

Stop comparing yourself to others. I don't watch lifestyle shows or read magazines and all that stuff because all it does is show me what I don't have.

Slow down. There is a huge amount of pressure to cram everything in and do exciting things with the DCs all the time but I firmly believe 'quality time' is a load of rubbish grin and that families are built on the everyday routines. I also think boredom is really important for DCs and every moment shouldn't be timetabled, there's no need to cram in heaps of activities every week.

Sleeeeeep. It rocks. Get plenty of it.

Allow too much plenty of time for journeys. I rely on public transport and always leave with plenty of scope for missed/late buses etc.

Bingbongbinglybunglyboo Tue 13-May-14 14:37:22

Early nights, get organized the night before, rest when you can, all very rock and roll stuff!

fuzzpig Tue 13-May-14 15:15:00

Forgot to mention:

Mindfulness - I learned about this as part of treatment for a disability, and it really helps me slow down and be kind to myself and accept the bad feelings I have, rather than constantly fighting against them.

Also diet - I've been gradually trying to improve the family diet, just cutting down on processed food and refined sugar etc. Sometimes I have a bit of a lapse, and it's then that I notice how much of a bad effect certain things have on my mood - particularly sugar, which can make me really irritable, and caffeine, which sends my anxiety through the roof.

Nottheshrinkingcapgrandpa Tue 13-May-14 20:08:03

I try to have a relaxing bath once a week, with calm music and a good book smile

idleweiss Tue 13-May-14 22:48:59

I always write a list in the evening of things I need to do and keep on top of the following day..this helps me feel a bit less stressed and in control of things. I always try and prepare as much as I can the evening before too, ie, kids & DH lunches made, clothes laid out, all dishes done, etc!! I can get pretty stressed quite quickly if things go pear shaped, so I always think of something that helps make me feel a bit calmer in such situations, humming Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre usually helps!! Or if I can..remove myself from the root of the stress for a while!

Petal7 Wed 14-May-14 15:36:51

Choose your battles wisely. Most things are not worth stressing about.

Bubbles85 Thu 15-May-14 09:07:03

For me, making time for a 10 minute daily bath once DD is in bed makes the world of difference.

boptanana Thu 15-May-14 10:48:18

I try to get a good nights sleep and sit down in the morning to check what needs to be done that day do things aren't left to the last minute. I find not scheduling too much into the week for the children gives us time to just be and avoids me getting stressed and repeating come on hurry up we have to be at x or y now , we are late etc

lolancurly Fri 16-May-14 07:20:30

Get outside! When the kids are squabbling, the house is overwhelmingly untidy and your head is full to bursting with all the demands that having a busy family means, it is soothing and good for the soul to get out and go for a walk. We are lucky to be surrounded by lovely countryside here and just taking the dogs for a walk and having a bit of a run at the same time clears my head. Take the kids too and turn it into a nature walk. Having a clear out of a room or a drawer or cupboard also clears my head. I find these things need doing in dolly steps and slowly as you get more order in life, you feel less stressed about things.

deels Fri 16-May-14 09:26:43

plan ahead! thats all i can say!

also, make lists.

tinacwrdu Fri 16-May-14 09:46:37

I have joined a choir! This is ME time!! The choir is a Sing with Us Tenovus cancer charity choir for any one who has had cancer, going through cancer or has had clsoe family or friends going through it! Everyone really! We sing great feel good songs and the choir has become like a family to me. We have time to chat, drink a coffee and eat cake!! Then an hour of singing! I fit my choir time around around dropping my son off for guitar lessons/skiiing lessons so have to go out of the house any way! Try to find something that slots into your busy schedule that is just for you! We also sing out now and perform and it gives you such a high and people really love hearing us sing! The choir socials are great too!

ChocolateMama Sun 18-May-14 14:50:19

I think for me, the key to less stress is keeping organised. Making sure that the house in kept to a reasonable standard so that I can find what I am looking for quickly. Also, with paperwork, keep on top of it so that it doesn't get overwhelming. It is worth investing in some good quality boxes/bags etc to organise your stuff. Also, with the children, try and get everything for school ready the night before so it is just a case of up, breakfast and out of the door.

But, I really think the main thing is keeping organised a home, bin the clutter where possible!

forcookssake Sun 18-May-14 21:42:28

Anything you can do the night before will take half the time it would in the morning when you're bleary eyed (set out clothes, any paperwork/books, house/car keys always in the same spot).
Make batches of sandwiches and freeze, then pull one out each morning for lunch box. It'll thaw by lunchtime wink

kmills Mon 19-May-14 03:14:19

Getting in debt is a major stress factor. Try and avoid this by waiting until you can afford things before getting credit or loans.

cheekychicken103 Mon 19-May-14 10:47:26

Firstly when I'm stressed, its normally to do with situations that I need to sort out, like talking to someone about a problem that has occurred, and I'm not a confrontational person at all, so I tend to put it off. But as soon as I've had the chat with the person that's needed, I'm no longer stressed... So I think just get on with it and deal with the situation quickly and stop putting it off!

Secondly, surrounding yourself wit the right people, I'm a worrier which also makes me stressed, and I find If I spend time with people who tend to worry allot, then this completely rubs off on me. So I think sometimes you have to choose who you spend time with and what you 'take in' when you listen to conversations.

I am a Christian and God can help you to deal with stressful situations too, he's there to be depended on. 'Do not worry about anything, pray about everything with thanksgiving and praise.' Phillipians 4 vs 6-7

DifferentNow Mon 19-May-14 10:59:43

I am mega stressed most of the time, more so now than I've ever been. Feeling organised and in control helps my stress levels. I've learned to focus on all the things I have achieved rather than the things I've not. I remind myself that my children will never be this small again and in theory, it should start getting a bit easier. I have recently decided to resign from my job to be a SAHM because I just couldn't cope with the stress. This was a huge decision but it was definitely the right one for me. Failing all else, a walk in the fresh air or a good night's sleep always make me feel a bit better.

wibblyjelly Mon 19-May-14 22:10:26

I can get stressed if I start thinking of all the jobs I need to get round and do, as well as working full time. I do try and keep on top of things, but try not to worry too much, as a stressed wibbly means an unhappy household!

WowOoo Mon 19-May-14 22:28:40

Exercise, fresh air and lists help me destress.
I also like getting lost in a good book or a film.

For day to day annoyances I try to remind myself to breathe deeply. It hasn't really helped today!

CaptainSinker Tue 20-May-14 22:34:41

My main tip for a less stressed life must be finding time to do nothing! Down time is so important.

Also trying not to care about things that aren't really important. I don't always practice what I preach on this...

MontysMum22 Tue 20-May-14 22:35:06

My most stressful time was when my children were quite young and I also had an elderly Mum with quite serious health issues for whom I was the main carer. She went in and out of hospital and needed alot of care, plus I felt like I was letting the children down because they weren't getting enough of my time and weren't able to go out and do the things they should be doing. To be honest I didn't de stress, whilst I coped taking care of everyone else, I didn't consider what keeping up this unrealistic pace might be doing to me, with the result that I ended up getting seriously depressed. I am the example you really don't want to follow. However busy you are you need to set aside time for yourself whether its, going to the gym, out for a meal with a few friends,it doesn't matter what it is as long as it's time for you to slowdown and relax. It's not being indulgent having time out, its essential for your mental and physical health. Everyday you need to ask yourself what have I done today just for me, for my benefit only, how have I looked after my happiness?. Depression and nervous problems can happen to anyone,
you don't necessarily see it coming. The other people you are running around after, which is the reason we tell ourselves we can't take time out would rather you took an afternoon off than wear yourself into the ground and finish up in hospital for a month when you are forced by illness to slow down. It's taken me a very long time to learn how to cope with stress, what works for one person might not work for another but whatever you do make sure that relaxation and fun is high on your agenda. Also you should learn to let the little things go, don't try being SuperWoman on top of being Mum. Learn to say no to people who demand your time for non essential extra responsibilities, instead of finding new and destructive ways to spread yourself even more thinly.

crimsonwitch Wed 21-May-14 02:25:42

3 children, chronic illness, and no money = one very stressed crimson. However, when it all feels too much, I take myself off on my own for a while. This could be for a matter of minutes or a good few hours depending on time constraints, but just being alone and doing something just for me helps my mind to reset. I will read a book, take a walk, have a hot bath, listen to music, anything that helps me to switch off. The other thing that helps me and my family through daily stresses is laughter and lots of it. Sometimes when I am getting stressed at something meaningless (like sorting out laundry, or the never-ending cleaning) I try and take a step back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 21-May-14 13:47:52

Thanks for all the tips and comments.
Am pleased to say TeamEdward has won the £250 high street voucher. Well done!

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