5 Ways to Let Go of Stress at the End of the Day

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Some days are not awesome.

I think I’m very fortunate to say most of our days are pretty awesome – but we also know how to focus on what’s good in life rather than focusing on what’s less than perfect. Perspective is super important. But it still doesn’t change the fact that some days are not awesome. In fact, some weeks aren’t awesome. Some months are better than others.

January has not been my favorite month. I’m never a big fan of this month to begin with, but that’s because saying goodbye to my favorite time of year (September – December) is bittersweet. I’m such a fall/holiday kind of person. I like winter, but only until the holidays are over. Then I like spring.

I do not like summer.

I know. I’m such a minority here. I don’t love the sun. I don’t love the heat. I don’t love bodies of water. I don’t love heat. I don’t know how I’ve lived my entire 34 years in Florida. I just don’t. I like to go outside and not sweat. It’s so simple.

But I digress. What I’m saying is January is always an awkward month for me saying goodbye to my favorite time of year, but this January has been a little less amazing. I’m sorry I’m not going into more detail to share with you why this month has been difficult because the problems aren’t our stories to tell. I will say this; Our hearts are heavy for so many people we care for after so much tragedy and so much bad news this month.

It’s just been a few weeks we’ve made especially certain to hold one another and our kids and the people we love a little closer as well as a reminder that life is so short. This week also included a Dream Team meeting (maybe you call it a PTA meeting?) and a half day today, which is such a schedule-crusher. It’s extra busy.

So…with all the “off-ness” (a word I just made up. You’re welcome.) going around this month, de-stressing has been a priority at the end of the day lately. Just unwinding and relaxing and letting go of the things that weigh me down has been super helpful. I’m sharing my favorite – very simple – ways to destress at the end of a bad day, a busy day, an exhausting day, a regular day, whatever day.

Easy and effective. Total winner.

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Write Down What You’re Thankful and Grateful For

I love a gratitude journal. Nothing is easier than jotting down two or three little things you’re grateful for and then re-reading what you’ve written down in the past. It takes all of six seconds, and it really does make you feel better. What I love most is how easy it is to focus on the smallest, most random, most amazing things in life we’re grateful for when you jot them down. It helps me focus on what’s good rather than what’s heavy on my heart or mind.

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Put the Kids to Bed Early

All right, so I have to be honest. We put our kids to be early every night. Twins at 6:30 and the girls at 7:15. The twins are ready, so that’s not a problem. The girls, however, go into their rooms at this time to unwind, read, watch a little television, or play until 8 when it’s lights out and bedtime. Some nights it’s later since we have dance and gymnastics and our Wednesday night dinner tradition with our friends – but we stick to it otherwise.

This gives us the kind of time we need to straighten up. I like things clean and perfect. Floors, counters, bathrooms, laundry room…and we need 10-15 minutes to wipe everything down and do the floors after they go to bed. Then we get to shower and enjoy a movie, our favorite television show, reading, a glass of wine, an embarrassingly early bedtime…whatever. We don’t care too much since the point is just spending that time together.

My point is this – you have no idea how much better you feel until you put the kids to bed, get your life in order, and actually do something for yourself at the end of the day. Try it. It’s instant feel-good vibes.

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Yoga

I go to an amazing yoga class twice a week in the mornings, but I like to do yoga at night, too. I’ll take my iPad into the living room and put on a 20-minute YouTube video (just search “20-minute yoga” to find one. I don’t have a favorite since I like to mix it up every time I practice) to follow. My husband joins me, sometimes the kids join me. It’s always nice.

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Prep for Tomorrow

I love how much less anxious or stressed I feel after laying out the kids’ school clothes, signing their folders, checking their homework, and getting everything handled prior to morning. My husband and I work together to tag-team these things so we can wake up the following morning as relaxed as possible with so much done. We do it every night, and it’s instant stress relief.

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Get Busy

TMI. Personal. Intimate. I know, but do it. I mean, really. Literally. Do it. You’ll feel much better about all things. Just do it (not your way, Nike, so chill with any copyright or trademark thoughts).

Listen, you can de-stress however you want, but these are the things that always work for me. I don’t do baths – but people swear by them. I have some issues with grout and tubs and just the thought of sitting inside a bathtub freaks me out so much. I can’t. It’s why my husband has given every single child’s bath since our oldest daughter was born more than 9 years ago.

Anyway, drink a glass of wine. Read a good book. Get lost in a funny movie. Cuddle the babies a little longer, read extra bedtime stories to the kids or let them read to you. Ignore all life responsibilities and do what you want. Go out to dinner on a date with your spouse or hang out with your friends. Do whatever you want as long as it makes you feel lighter, happier, and less troubled.

Life is not always perfect – and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel it is for others. It’s not. While we like to focus on what’s good in life and appreciate how fortunate we are in life, we still have bad days. Our hearts are heavy this month because so many people we love are going through unimaginable things – and that just makes everyday nuances a little more stressful when you’re constantly thinking about how you can help, what you can do, and praying for those affected by disease, by death, by heartache. And that’s why focusing on minimizing stress and feeling good is imperative.

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