Today, people tend to work longer hours, have their kids involved in more activities, and generally maintain a busier style of life than even a few years ago. This can exciting, but it can also lead to a feeling of constant stress and chaos. If you’re looking for ideas on how to simplify life, you’re not alone. Here are some of the main ways you can reduce the stress of a life and keep your schedule simple.
Automate What You Can
Getting some of the daily, weekly and monthly work of your life into an automated system can help simplify life and relieve stress in two ways: You don’t have to take time to do the work, and you don’t have to clutter your mind by remembering to do the work. Making little changes that take steps out of your daily routine like setting up automatic timers to water your plants or turn off your lights, signing up for automatic bill pay options, or getting off junk mail lists can be an easy way to simplify life. By putting in a little initial work, you can then forget about it.
Learn To Say No
While many people spend as much money as they possibly can, leaving themselves feeling stretched to the limit, too many of us also budget our time this way. With demands from work, school and life in general, it’s easy to become overscheduled these days. Remember, it’s important to schedule in time for exercise, hobbies and other stress relievers, as well as time for our relationships. One way to find this time is to get better at saying no. After you trade some of your obligations with self-nurturing activities, you should see a lasting change in your stress level, and find yourself living a more simplified life. You can also learn how to say yes to help that is offered to you. Be prepared with specific tasks. The next time someone says, “Let me know what I can do to help,” offer a few concrete suggestions — or let the helper choose from a list of things that need to be done. That way, the task may be more suited to his or her interests and time constraints.
Have a Plan in Place
While taking a break from your care giving role may sound good, it is not always easy to do. Try to plan days in advance that are just for you! Write down a day or weekend you want to take off on a calendar. After seeing the date a couple times, you’ll start to get excited about your “Me Time” and it will give you something nice to look forward to. When that special day arrives stick to the plan! Take the day to do anything that makes you happy. There’s no need to feel guilty, you’ve worked hard for this care giving mini vacation.
Care Giving Services and Support Groups
Join a support group. There’s comfort in knowing others are experiencing the same ups and downs as you. It may also give you ideas about other strategies and resources available to lighten your load. Also, there are community services that can help caregivers. Don’t feel guilty about needing time off or help with understanding complex information; and remember that your loved one may also benefit from having a wider circle of care. The Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center provides information, education, training, referrals and respite to caregivers.
Don’t overlook the impact of care giving on you. Balancing care giving with work and other family obligations is often stressful. When asked, caregivers often say the most stressful part is the demand of their time. Stress can negatively affect your health, well-being, and ability to provide care. Schedule regular time for what’s important to you and get help from others.