How to Make Decisions Which Decrease Stress and Protect the Quality Of Life for You and Your Family
Author: colleen O Grady
“We get along great on vacations!”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this in my private practice. Why is it, that families (and couples) who fight all the time at home, can enjoy each other on vacations?
The answer is STRESS.
The Conspiracy of Stress
When you were a teenager you dreamed about the great man you were going to marry, how many kids you were going to have, an awesome career and the cool house you were going to live in.
You imagined yourself happy and not stressed out of your mind.
Many of us have the husband, the career, the kids and the home yet we are not enjoying our life.
“But my partner and kids are not what I imagined.”
I understand, but I still think the culprit is stress.
Each of us has 2 very different sides of us. (OK, I know this is simplistic but bear with me here.)
We have our ‘relaxed and I feel like myself’ side and we have our ‘crazed, stressed out’ side. When everyone in your family is in their ‘relaxed and I feel like myself’ side you enjoy each other and get along. It’s when everyone is in their ‘crazed, stressed out’ side that families lose their tempers and relationships get torn apart. This is especially true with your teenage daughter.
We live in a culture of stress and we get sucked into it. Much is demanded of us. We have lots of choices. Our schedules seem to control us. We are running around trying to get things done and yet we always feel far behind.
Improve the quality of life for you and your family by making decisions that decrease stress.
Our daily decisions will either decrease our stress and improve the quality of life or increase our stress and rob of us our quality of life.
You cannot enjoy your life or your family and be stressed.
How to make decisions which decrease stress and protect the quality of life for you and your family.
Sometimes we can’t escape stress – it is outside of our control. Stress happens. A loved one gets sick. Your partner loses his job. Your computer crashes. But there are decisions within our control that we can make every day which decrease our stress.
1. Timing is everything
Be careful of the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Make sure a good opportunity is at the right time. A great opportunity added to an already crowded schedule will bring too much stress. Consider the cumulative effect of all the activities in your family.
Real life examples:
- Remodeling your house when your relationship with your husband is falling apart.
- Your daughter gets a job for 20 hours a week when she is struggling with her grades and is already overcommitted with after school activities.
- You enroll in graduate courses full time when you have 2 kids in middle school and your husband is looking for another job.
- Getting married and moving to a new house in a new school district during your daughters junior year in High School.
Remodeling your house, your daughter working, going back to graduate school, or getting married are all wonderful things but timing is everything.
2. One More Thing
Beware of the one more thing. This is where you try to squeeze one more thing into your day. You see an extra 10 minutes and you think you have time to go grocery shopping. Again cramming one more thing in your day will make you late and increase your stress.
3. Get clear on what’s important
Sometimes when we are stressed, we can be as intense about cleaning the refrigerator as getting packed for our business trip. Not all things are urgent or important. Make a list of 3 important things to be done this day. Be clear about what you can let go of or do later.
4. Yes you can say no
Eliminate activities that are not an absolute yes. Much of what we say yes to comes from feeling guilty. Remember your ‘no’ can improve the quality of life for you and your family.
5. Time Makers
Protect your emotional, physical and spiritual health. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy. When you are exhausted and stressed you are not functioning at an optimal level. It will take you longer to get anything done. This applies to your daughter as well.
Eliminate Time Wasters – This can be anything from calling your friend and complaining for 2 hours to spending 2 hours on facebook.
Hire help – Ask yourself where do you need help? What would you love to delegate to someone for 2 hours a week? Think of what you could do with those 2 hours.
“The Gas Station Syndrome” - How many of you will drive for 15 minutes across town to buy gas that is 3 cents cheaper than fill up your tank at the gas station a minute from your house. Value your time and go to the closest gas station. Not to mention it is less expensive when you consider how much gas you use driving across town.
Batching activities – Batch your activities as much as possible. For example, have a comprehensive grocery list and go shopping once a week instead of going 7 days a week.
6. Schedule Downtime
We all need downtime. That’s why God said you should rest on the 7th day. The purpose of the Sabbath was to have downtime to rest and enjoy all of God’s blessings. But that’s not happening for the most part. Imagine how different our lives would be if one day a week was really relaxing and restful.
Schedule 30 minutes of downtime a day – Schedule time when your family can relax and not be productive. This allows you to see the best in your daughter. The memories you cherish come when you and your family are relaxed. Downtime decreases tension which allows you to enjoy hanging out with your family. Your home becomes a place where you can recharge and have fun.
Start decreasing the stress today by asking yourself this one simple question.
Will this decision bring me “stress or no stress?”
Start creating the life that you dreamed for.
About the Author
Colleen O’Grady encourages and empowers women to live their highest and best life. From her coaching programs to her one of a kind therapy sessions, she has helped hundreds of women and teenage girls uncover their true purpose in life, create more happiness, and move to a place of inner peace. Colleen knows that everyone can create this kind of life.
Colleen O’Grady is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist. Her private practice in Houston, Texas has been active for over 20 years. As an approved supervisor on a state and national level, Colleen is sought after to train master-level therapists, psychology and psychiatry residents throughout Houston. Colleen has created innovative coaching programs to give people practical tools for moving forward while also standing on a strong foundation of therapeutic practice.