Stress Relief: Do What You Love

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Thanks to millionwaystomother.com for these beautiful images.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  Do you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done?  You wanted to go to the grocery store, but ran out of time; get that load of laundry put away, but threw it to the side instead so you could sleep; wanted to go to the gym but was too exhausted to change your clothes and get there; finish painting that wall, but it was too much to get everything out again…

Why do we work so hard during the day that we leave nothing for ourselves at the end of it?  When I get home I want to be able to play with my kids.  I want to have a family dinner together.  I want to be able to let my kids play in the bath for 20 minutes, to spend time with them.  Time.  That’s the problem, isn’t it?  We “don’t have time” for the things we most desire.  But why?  Why can’t we manage our time better?  Because we are stressed out.

Stress is overwhelming.  We stress about everything!  Is the house clean?  What do I have to get done at work tomorrow?  Did I get everything packed for the kids for school?  What am I forgetting to do?  The grocery list keeps getting longer and longer, but when will I get there?, etc.  Let me tell you a little secret that took me years to discover: everything will work out!  Stop stressing!

I think this is why I find that I have so much time to do the craft projects that I have.  Because I need them.  They allow me to focus on something besides all of the day-to-day tasks that I know will get done anyways.  They allow me to focus frustrations on something better, something that’s more productive.  They allow me to vent.

 We all need some kind of avenue to relieve ourselves from the stress we encounter every single day.

My house does not need to be perfect.  It will never be perfect.  I will never be perfect, and that’s completely fine with me.  My family doesn’t have to be perfect, and that’s O.K.  As long as we are happy, we are healthy, and we have adequate time with each other, we’re good.

When things aren’t in harmony in the home, at work, within family relationships, or anywhere else for that matter, where, what, or who do you turn to?  It is so important to have something to take your mind off of things for a while.  If you’re spiritual, then pray.  Pour your heart out if you need to, it will help.  I do this on the daily!  I also like to find things that just take my mind off of my worries for a while.  CNN actually reported on the importance of crafting and how it acts as a natural antidepressant years ago (find the article here).  There have been countless studies on the benefits of things like knitting, playing a musical instrument, painting, coloring, building things, and so much more.  There is something very powerful and fascinating about creating something from nothing, making things with your own hands.

I craft because I love it.  I also craft because it is soothing for me.  It’s important to me.  My husband knows how important it is and never questions me when I get started on a project; he never gives me a fuss about needing to watch the kids so I can work on something.  He’s amazing in that way.  He’s always supporting me, and loves what I have been able to do for our home.

be better

Raising children is so hard.  It’s even more challenging when you are home alone with them all day long.  I give a huge amount of praise to full time stay at home moms.  I think that is much more difficult and tiresome work than going to a physical job during the day.  I love that I get to work a few days a week.  I need that, too.  I enjoy the adult interaction.  I enjoy what I do.  I think it helps keep me sane at times!  But there is absolutely no greater joy for me than getting to be with my kids.  They are remarkable little people that teach me new things every. single. day.

Choose the Kids

Whatever struggles you are facing, whether they are day to day or completely new, off-the-wall, did NOT see that coming type of struggles, know that you can and will make it through.  I truly believe that.  If you feel like you are unable to find time for yourself, make it a priority.  Put yourself first for once.  Every night I give myself a “cut-off” time.  The kids are both in bed by 7pm.  By 7:30pm, I am done with whatever it is that I needed to get done for the night.  In those 30 minutes I usually clean up dinner, make lunches, pack diaper bags, lay out clothes for the next day, feed the pets, straighten up the living room, and get ready for bed.  I leave my phone somewhere out of sight (and I do this frequently throughout the day).  Why?  Because it is a terrible distraction that can make any mundane task take 5,000,000,000 times longer to get done that it really should.  Agreed?  Again, I don’t like wasting time, because there is always too much to get done, and time is too precious.  When my phone is around, I am usually on it, as are most of us I would think.  If you are having a hard time getting things done in the day, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND FOCUS!  Seriously.  Give it a try.  I promise you it will help you stay on task better and become more efficient.

Stop making excuses.  You have plenty of time.  Use it efficiently.

I don’t mean to sound harsh.  This was a reality I too had to learn.  But now that I have, look at the things that I get to spend more time on… my kids, cooking meals, reading a book, crafting, practicing my piano, having play-dough cook-offs, going to the park, going jogging, getting the shopping done, riding my bike, and writing this blog!  How wonderful it is to not be ‘as stressed’ over time.

Think of the things you love to do the most, but haven’t for a while.  Promise to give yourself 10 minutes tonight to focus on that one thing.  You have 10 minutes to give yourself.  And tomorrow night, try to devote 15 minutes to yourself.  Keep going.  It will be life-changing.  Put the focus back on yourself for a little while each day.  Breathe.  Do what you love to do.  It will be such an incredible outlet for you.

I hope this reaches you in a good light.  I know it has helped me tremendously over the years and struggles seem to become more frequent visitors.  I hope it helps you too.  Good luck with your endeavors.  You can do it.  Keep on keepin’ on.

XoXo,

Erika