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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.

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.

supermariossister Thu 01-May-14 10:17:09

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

OrangeBlossom2 Thu 01-May-14 10:40:45

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!

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