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Five Words to Gaining Your Life Back!

How taking a moment for reflection can streamline your life and lower your stress levels

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We are busy! So very, very busy! This is especially true for Moms, both SAHM’s and those in traditional 9-5’s. I have been both, and they are equally hard, each in their own way. But what if I told you there was a way to gain back time AND lower your stress levels, all while doing what’s best?

Would you be interested in how to do it?

Identify What is Taking up Your Time

What is it that you spend your time doing? After all, we say that we’re “so busy,” but are we? Yes, we get stuck in the endless FB scroll late at night, that’s not a shock. But otherwise, what is taking up your time?  

  • work
  • commuting
  • errands
  • cleaning
  • organizing
  • planning
  • meal prep
  • friends
  • parenting
  • meetings
  • yardwork
  • hobbies

Identify What is Causing You Stress

This seems to be an easy question, but we need to look a little deeper than surface level immediate answers. Come up with a list of five things that are stressors, then immediately ask yourself, “why.” What is it specifically that causes you to label it as a stressor?

Maybe you see a trend? Is it all social situations, or is it things that you cannot control (a common stressor)? Things like extended family, or workplace reorganization?

Identify What’s Truly Important to You – Your Five Words

I’ve never been one for labeling; it seems so short-sighted and neglectful even. Yet, I am 100% going to tell you to label things about you! Why? Because it brings clarity, and once you gain clarity, you can focus on it.

You are going to pick the five most important things to you and phrase them in a specific manner. It’s called identifying your personal core values. There are lots of references online for these values, but to give you an idea, here are my five values…

Marriage, Security, Family, Freedom, and Health

These are the most important things to me. These are the things that I hold dear, the facets of life that make it all worthwhile.

Where consciousness is action follows.

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Putting the Pieces Together

Take a look at your list of what takes up your time and what stresses you out, do you see any overlap? You probably do, now take a look at your list of values. Are these things related to any of your five values?  

Now we’re getting to the time saving and lowering your stress point…

If these things are on your core value list…

Then you need to come up with an alternate way to serve this value while lowering the stress & time commitment.

For example: If you’re on the PTO for your child’s school and you dread going to the meetings, then ask if you can call in on speakerphone, or if reading the meeting minutes will do, and you can give input back with two days (or whatever). Or maybe you stop going to regular meetings but be on a support committee for a couple of annual events.

Time Commitment: meeting

Stressor: social engagement with others

Value: (Parenting) aka involved in child’s education

If these things are not on your personal core value list…

Then you need to find a way to disengage yourself from the commitments.

For example: maybe you are very time-strapped, and you struggle to get in even one hour on the weekends for yourself. You know you need to do a better job of being active, but you can’t find the time! You see a post on social media about a great trail hike loop, and it’s not far away!

Go ahead and order your groceries to be delivered (Amazon Prime Delivery or Instacart), even consider getting a meal kit too! That takes away the time commitment of shopping and deciding what to make for dinner! Now you can go on that hike, and eliminate some of the frustration of having time for self-care.

Managing Expectations – Yours

It’s all about realigning your expectations and be willing to let go of things. Maybe you thought that having a spotless house was the sign of a “good mom,” but who said? Why is it important to you? Perhaps you’ll find out that it’s not really important? Or it is important, but there’s just so much stuff! Then consider a more minimalist lifestyle. One where you don’t have to pick up (seemingly) hundreds of toys that are scattered across your kitchen floor every few hours.

Moms are reaching out everywhere for a simpler life, embracing minimalism with open arms, hoping to gain some calm in the chaos. Not sure how minimalism can help you? Here are 12 reasons why minimalism can reduce your anxiety.

Managing Expectations – Theirs

For Moms, that can be hard, especially those with school-age children.  There’s an expectation from others on what you should do in order to be a good mom.  You need to analyze if you care about their opinion (and if so, why do you care). How does their opinion influence your life? Maybe you just perceive it to be important, but in all actuality, they don’t control anything, nor do they impacts outcomes. It’s just your perception of their influence & control.

They are not in control, and you may not be in control of the situation. BUT you can control how you feel and react to them. Once you take away their power, you gain so much freedom and space to focus on what really matters.

It’s that what you want? A life devoted to doing what really matters? You can have that! You just need to take a moment to clearly identify those things that are important and build your minutes, hours, and days around those values! It’s simple, but it may not be easy at first. You may need to say some goodbyes, and you may need to let go of things you previously thought were important. Understand that it’s your choice. You can choose, and there is such power and a sense of calm that comes with that!

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