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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Friday Favorites: The 5 Things I Do For Myself When I Need to Recharge My Soul

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Four kids + one business + a husband + a house + social life + children’s activities = One busy mama.

I’m (hashtag) blessed, you guys. I married a man who doesn’t have a traditional view of “men and women” in the home. He’s the kind of guy who goes above and beyond for us – every single day. He does 95% of the laundry, he vacuums the carpets in our house every night, he cooks, he cleans, he gets the kids dressed for school, and he changes most of the diapers. He respects my business and does whatever he needs to do to support me so I succeed.

He also has a career that keeps him very busy. He’s a senior systems engineer, and he works from home. Hard. He works hard, but the man never stops. What I’m trying to say is I’m really nowhere near as tired as much as I could be or would be if it weren’t for him.

But even with all he does, I’m still tired. I started my business almost 9 years ago, and I’m adding to it each and every day. This year I decided to learn to say yes to new opportunities, and that’s what I’ve done. In addition to my already long list of clients, I’ve started my own blog and decided to expand my business. I work every waking moment of every day. And I wouldn’t change a thing. My success is important to me, as is the freedom it provides me.

When people ask me why I work so hard as a business owner and my own boss, I have a simple answer. I want to. I want to work hard. I thrive on hard work and dedication. I love being in my office at home, and I love creating and developing and making my clients happy. I love it. I don’t feel like it’s work. It’s my passion, and I’d spend even more time in my office if I could. I’m such a big believer in working hard and playing hard; and that’s precisely what I do.

That said – I do get burnt out from time to time. I put in 16-18 hour days most days. It’s not all work; it’s kids, activities, social life, date nights, and all things related to being all the things I am. But I’m tired sometimes. Obviously by sometimes I mean every moment of every day. Tired, though, is my way of life. It’s the burnt out part that bothers me. That’s why today’s Friday Faves focuses on the things that help me de-stress, relax, and unwind. They’re what make me feel better and stronger – and just maybe they’ll help you do the same.

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I Exercise Daily 

For real, guys. I hit the gym every day. I need to exercise. It gives me energy, makes me feel strong, and it motivates me. I like all kinds of exercise, and recently began trying new classes. Yoga, spin, whatever. I’m down with anything that makes me sweat and pushes me beyond my comfort zone.

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I Keep A Peaceful, Happy Home 

I need, need, need order in my life, and a peaceful home is one of my favorite things. By peaceful, I mean I need to feel good when I’m home. I need a clean home. I need it to smell nice, and I need a lot of bright light. Fresh flowers, decadent candles, and order create a perfect marriage of a peaceful home for me. I work from home, and I need to feel relaxed when I’m there.

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I Focus On Self-Development

Some people prefer a day at the spa or a night out – both of which I adore – but it’s time to practice self-development that I love. It’s listening to an inspirational podcast (the Becoming Fearless Style Collective Podcast by Annie Spano is EVERYTHING, you guys) in the car on the way to drop my kids off at school, or reading a book that motivates me to push myself further than I’m currently pushing. I’m all about being better, doing better, and always learning.

I love to hear the stories of others, to find inspiration in their words, and motivation to help me grow. I live by the knowledge that I certainly don’t know everything – and I never will. I want to learn something new each day, and I want to push myself to do more. I am a sucker for self-development. It’s my favorite way to unwind. Journaling, praying, podcast-listening, and reading are my jam.

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I Hang With My Family

I won’t lie – I’m never relaxed when I’m hanging out with my kids. Our oldest will be 9 next month, our “middle” daughter is 6, and our twins are 3. There’s no such thing as relaxing with them, but I do feel recharged and really good when I get to spend time with them. And it’s not just being in the same room or the same house or at the same party – I crave actual family time. As much as I enjoy spending time with others, I need my family to myself sometimes. I need to be able to play with my kids and my husband without interference or distractions.

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I love being present while they play with their friends and we spend quality time with ours – but I need to have time in my life where there are no other people around and we get to be a family of six who spends real, quality, good time together. I’m exhausted, and usually annoyed, and probably over it by the end of the day, but oh my goodness do I feel good that we had that time. So, restful? No. But I’m recharged.

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Date nights and weekends away – yes, please. I can’t get enough. My sweet best friend recently pointed out how much time Craig and I get to spend together, and I told her we just need it. We work from home together all day, but we don’t speak. He’s doing his job, I’m doing mine, and we don’t socialize during the day. Half the kids are home all summer, we’re constantly busy, and we need time to spend alone.

He is my favorite person, and our date nights every other week and our weekends away every few months are everything. I come home feeling so rested and relaxed – but my cheeks always hurt. We spend a lot of time laughing, and I can’t stop smiling when we have time alone. I love it.

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I Relish the Quiet Moments

I can’t get enough of them. Probably because I don’t get enough of them. Like I said, I have a family of six. My house is noise and chaos from 7 am to 7 pm every single day. Unless they’re not home or asleep, we don’t even know what quiet sounds like.

But I do live for the quiet moments. I love to steal 10 minutes sitting outside on our deck with the appropriate beverage (coffee, wine) and listening to absolutely nothing. I love it even more when it’s raining because I can sit on my front porch in my red rocking chairs and listen to the rain. I love the moments when my husband is in the shower in the morning and the kids are asleep and the whole house is quiet while I have my coffee.

Basically, I need a little bit of quiet, a lot of noise and tiny kisses and laughs, my husband, and cleanliness to recharge. We all need that time – and since Friday is my favorite day, and these are my favorite things to do when I’m in need of a de-stress, I wanted to share.

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How do you unwind?

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