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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.

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!

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.

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.

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...

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!

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!

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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!

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

plan ahead! thats all i can say!

also, make lists.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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!

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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...

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