Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Stress

Why You Should Get Organized and Reduce Your Stress Level

A couple years ago, I picked organization as my word of the year, and I did get more organized. But I still have a long way to go! It is so true that when you are organized you have less stress–it doesn’t mean no stress, but there is less. So I really liked this contributed post when it came across my inbox. Here we go…these are all excellent reasons to get more organized, along with some tips on what to do to organize yourself! 

We are all guilty of misplacing documents or forgetting about deadlines. If you would like to make sure that you’re making the most out of your life and productivity, however, getting yourself more organized will help. There are plenty of easy ways of learning how to manage your time and resources better, improve your well being, and have more time to spend with your family. Read on to find out more.

Improved Sleep

If you don’t have to worry about missing a deadline, not paying your bill on time, or forgetting about a family member’s birthday, you will have fewer negative thoughts going around your head when you are trying to sleep; and as a result, you will get better rest at night. Once you know that everything is in order, the kids’ lunchbox is in the fridge ready to go in the morning, or your car is checked out before your road trip, you will have fewer things to worry about in the middle of the night.

Clearer Thinking

If you organize your life, you will have more space for new ideas. You can think clearer and focus on opportunities, instead of problems. It is a good idea to declutter your home every couple of months, so you are able to get rid of the things that no longer serve you and hold you back from achieving your goals. When everything is going smoothly, you will have the energy to focus on finding your true self, instead of going with the tide.

Being Prepared

One way to be organized is to be prepared for emergencies and mishaps. One of the most important ways to do this is to make sure that you have the most important emergency numbers handy, maybe a list on your fridge. You can also use a notebook, which can come handy, as you can list all the professionals’ details you might need in the future: doctors, dentists, police station, firehouse, car mechanic, etc. Alternatively, a calendar and contact list app can serve the same purpose just as well. You don’t want to spend hours trying to find a local hearing aid repair  company or a car mechanic if you have to get the kids to school.

More Time For You and Your Family

When you are organized, you use your time more wisely, and therefore, you have more time to get things accomplished and to spend with your family. For example, while your children are at football practice, you can do your grocery shopping, instead of wasting time sitting in your car or driving home and then having to drive back to pick them up. Likewise, you can team up with other parents to share the school run, so you have more time to get organized around the house while your kids are out of it. If you are accomplishing chores while your kids are busy, you’ll have more quality time to spend with them when they are home. 

Reduced Expenditure

Being organized and making preventive appointments will save you money and time! If you keep an eye on the maintenance schedules for your car or book your kids for a dental check, you can save money, as well. It always costs more to deal with emergencies than preventing them, so it is important that you book the important appointments well on time. If you decide where you want to go on holiday in the summer back in January, you will benefit from lower prices and more time to book your attractions, hotels and activities.

Better Health

Being organized also has health benefits. First of all, your reduced stress levels will help you maintain a hormonal balance that is necessary for your immune system to function. If you can plan your meals ahead, you will not have to rely on microwave food or takeaway options, and your diet will have a positive impact on your health and well being. Further, if you can schedule regular physical activities, you will lose weight, reduce stress, and feel stronger and healthier.

Improved Productivity

Being organized will also improve your productivity. If you don’t have to spend time trying to find manuals or emails containing information you need for work or your kids’ activities, you can get on with your work or scheduled activities straight away. An organized work space can make you more productive and efficient, no matter what your profession is. Lower stress levels, clarity of thinking, and being able to find all your documents and invoices at ease will make your life so much easier.

Getting organized has multiple rewards. If you are one of those parents always complaining about the lack of time, getting your life in order might be the solution for your problem. Improve your financial, professional, and family life by taking control of the things to do and making it easier to manage your tasks.

What are one or two ways you reduce your stress? 

 

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Love and Loss: Some Healthy Things To Consider When Life Goes Wrong

(contributed post)

You have always considered yourself to be a positive and outgoing person with high prospects for your life. There aren’t many things that could hold you back from being the person you have always wanted to be. You practice self love religiously, and you have a caring family who is always there for you through thick and thin. But what happens when the amazing things in your life crumble right before your eyes? Whether you lose a loved one or suffer an unexpected break-up, there are many healthy ways that you could approach these life-changing situations. Follow each of these ideas below to help get your life back on track quicker than you could ever imagine.

Dealing With Death

The phone rings and you receive the news that you have always dreaded. Your close family member has died suddenly, and you are completely shocked. You don’t understand how this could have happened. If it is natural causes, you wonder if something could have been done to avoid it. If it is an accident, maybe you feel it is the result of someone’s negligence. If your loved one has died wrongfully you might want to take legal action. You can learn more about it here and explore your options when it comes to pursuing your case.

Grieving Takes Time

A legal battle can take several years to conclude, and it can be very difficult to grieve whilst you’re in the midst of it all. Don’t rush the grieving process, as it is going to take a while to learn to live differently. Find a healthy way of grieving that works for you, whether that involves counseling, talking to a friend or taking some time off work to recover. You will be able to come to terms with what happened, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Love-Life Loss

When something takes a drastic turn for the worse in your love life, it can be truly crippling. You never expect things to go wrong, so when they do, it can be very difficult to come to terms with. Dealing with a break up is much like dealing with death. You can’t ignore that it happened, but you also can’t let it consume your life. Start to do things that make you truly happy, and you will be ready to love again one day.

Positive Thinking

Whatever kind of tragic loss you have suffered, try to remain positive at all times. You will be able to move forward in your life quicker if you try to maintain a positive attitude.

Wallowing in self-pity will never allow you to deal with the awful problems that life can sometimes throw at you. Face the issue head on and know the right way to deal with it. Try not to dwell on the past too much, but don’t let your loved one slip away from your memories altogether. Allow yourself time to grieve and heal; think about the happy qualities this person brought to your life and re-channel your outlook into a more positive and upbeat one.

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Yes, You’re A Parent, But 10 Ways To Care For Yourself Too

(contributed post)

Being a parent can be tough, we all know that. And as much as you love your children, and as much as you wouldn’t trade this blessed job for anything else in the world, you’re still a human. As an adult, you really do have to be able to put them first, but also cover off your own needs too. Whether you are a single mom or not, this is essential. You know the saying about putting your life jacket on first before helping anyone else? Well, that comes into play a lot here. It’s great that you want to be a wonderful mother, and you want your children to be happy, but you also need to be happy too. And not only that, healthy as well.

If right now, you know that you’re not really doing enough to put your own needs first, then you may want to think about changing things. You’ve probably got yourself into a bit of a rhythm with how you care for your kids, and that’s okay. But if you know that you’re neglecting your own needs, then things need to change. Or worse, if you’re stressed out, tired, overworked, and just generally unhappy, then you really do need to take action. Of course, even if you are happy (or you think you’re happy enough) some of the ideas we’re about to walk through may apply to you too. So let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to start taking care of your own needs better.

Think About Your Future

First of all, you need to start thinking a little more about your future. And this is incredibly important. If you want to be able to be happy in life, you need to make sure that you’re on the right track. Yes, you’re a mom, but that’s not all you are. And when your kids grow up, you don’t want to feel like you missed out on doing something that you love. So plan your future and figure out what you can do today that’s going to get you to where you want to be in ten years time.

Give Yourself An Hour

When it comes to physically looking after yourself on a day to day basis, you just need to be able to give yourself an hour. There are lots of different ways to find time for yourself, no matter how busy you are. So shift your schedule and make sure that you get an hour each day to just be you, relax, and do something that you love, like take a bath or read.

Balance Your Work Life

Next up, you’re going to want to focus on finding a balance with your work. Now, this isn’t always easy, but you can’t just be an employee and a mom, and then go to sleep. You’ll be exhausted. So you have to have boundaries and be able to slot your work in with everything else. Don’t feel too pressured to keep on working when the kids are asleep, you need time for yourself too.

Create A Social Life

One of the main reasons you need to keep your work life balanced is because you need a social life too. And this is essential. Even if you’re a single mom – well, even more so! A rewarding social life is something that we all deserve and it doesn’t have to be impossible to find. When you build the right network around you, you’ll feel like you’re finally putting your needs first.

Pursue Your Passion

Next, you’re going to want to make sure that whatever you want to do in life, you make time for it. If you want to write or paint, then make sure that you accommodate more time for this in your life. Life is too short for you not to do the things you love, even as a busy mom!

Take Better Care Of Your Health

But at the same time, you also need to focus on your health. Because you are only human, and if you don’t take care of your body, it will show. So above all else, eat well and stay active. When you’re focusing on your health, you will always feel great too.

Take Action

Next, you need to make sure that you are taking control of any situation that you might be in right now. If you need to handle settlements or get compensation, speak to the right professional like Muth Law and take action. Now’s the time to do it. When you do, you’ll feel like you have so much more control over your own life.

Focus On Relationships

From here, you should also start to think about your relationships a little bit more. It’s important that you’re able to develop great parent-child relationships and not just be their mom. At the same time, you should want to think about strengthening the bond you have with others around you. It’s so important to be able to have good relationships with those around you if you want to be able to feel your best.

Do Something Just For You

At the same time, you have to ensure that you’re doing things just for yourself. Not because you feel like you should, not because someone else wants you to, but because you’re taking care of your own needs. Maybe you want to take a class or you want to start a course? Whatever it is, just make sure that you take the plunge.

Always Aim To Live Your Best Life

Finally, you should definitely make sure that you’re living well on your own terms too. Remember, this is your life. You won’t ever want to feel like you didn’t live it your own way. So look how you want to look, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, take care of your appearance and feel good about yourself. Make sure that you act in a way that makes you feel like yourself. Do the things that make you happy. Because you should never look back and regret the things that you didn’t do!

 

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How Hard It Is To Be Still

Lately, more than one person has said to me: “You have trouble being still. You are never still.”

My initial reaction to this statement is always millions of unspoken thoughts of how impossible it is to be still. Try living my life and see if you can be still. As a single parent, I ask myself: when am I supposed to be still? Maybe you can relate. If you’re a parent, a working parent, a parent of multiple children, a caregiver for elderly parents, or any combination of these roles, you know how hard it is to be still. There is always a to-do list, and it is always impossibly long. You’re always being pulled in multiple directions, and sometimes, those directions are physically and mentally exhausting.

For me, I must add to the trouble of being still the desire to be involved in activities (I’ve always been a joiner), my fear of life being too short and missing out on anything, ambitious goals, and my avoidance of tough, emotional issues—and that equals being too busy, never being still, and feeling completely overwhelmed.

But it’s catching up to me. I’m exhausted. And my loved ones would not be telling me that it’s important to relax and be still if they didn’t see the negative effects of my current lifestyle.

This is a blog post that’s difficult to write because at this point, it has no ending. I’m not writing this because I have a magical answer for how to be still. I try to meditate. I say no to some requests for my time. I prioritize tasks. But this problem for me goes beyond that busy calendar–this problem is because I am uncomfortable with myself, and that is the root. How do I get comfortable spending time with this person underneath all the labels and responsibilities, tasks and to-do lists, flaws and quirks and joys, and be still with her?

If I can figure that out, then I think I can be still.  It’s similar to the saying: Being comfortable in your own skin. If you are constantly moving and exhausted, you don’t have to worry about any of that because you don’t have time for it.

How about you?  Are you still?

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Stress Busting 101: How To Reduce It In Your Life

We are coming upon one of the most stressful times of the year for people–the holidays. This contributed article has some good tips to consider to focus on reducing your stress:

We all lead busy lives and can find ourselves feeling stressed from time to time. Heck, not even time to time for many of us; more like all of the time! It could be family, work, health, or other issues that can lead to the stress, if not a combination of them all. But whatever your source of stress is, it is a good idea to take control of it now, so that you can deal with it and find ways to eliminate it. After all, stress can make many aspects of your life worse, such as your health (both mental and physical).

Professor Cary Cooper, from robertsoncooper.com, has stated that in our lives, there is always a solution to the problems that we face, even if it doesn’t feel like it or that it feels impossible. But when we just let things carry on as they are, it can make things much worse. The keys to dealing with and managing stress tend to be building up some emotional strength and having less of a “woe is me” kind of attitude. When you do have a victim attitude, you are justifying the situation rather than doing anything about it. Taking control of the situation can help, as well as being positive and having a good group of people around you. Being able to share the load, so to speak, can help massively. Even if it is just someone to talk to over the phone.

What else can you do to address and then eliminate the stress that you have in your life? Here are some stress-busting suggestions.

Be Active

Being active and exercising isn’t going to make your stress disappear. But what it does do is help you to manage it. Exercise can lead to a bit of an escape, as well as reducing the intensity of it all for you. Exercise can lead to a production of happy hormones that can lift your mood. So when you have to go back to a stressful situation, you are likely to deal with it in a better way.

Seek Alternative Therapies

As well as exercise, there could be an alternative therapy that could help you to feel better about things. Regular massages, reflexology appointments or even seeing a chiropractor could help you. Again, it isn’t going to eliminate the stress in your life. But it will help you to deal with it better. The reason behind these kinds of treatments is whole-body healing. The focus, according to myauburnchiro.com, is not so much on sickness, but rather on overall wellness and healthy living. So it could be really beneficial for you to give it a try.

Connect with Others

A good support network of people around you–friends, family, or colleagues–is a good way to help to lift your mood. They can offer support and fun, as well as offering advice to help you deal with the situations that you face. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. It can be good to just talk about your feelings, too, even if you just want people to listen, rather than offer solutions. Sometimes, when we say things out loud, it can help us to resolve the issues that we had on our mind.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

As we know, there are many things that can make us feel better when we are feeling stressed. But there are also some things that can make us feel worse. We may think that they are going to help us, but unhealthy habits can actually have the opposite effect. Smoking, alcohol, and too much caffeine can actually make our bodies feel more on edge and stressed. In the long-term, these are just crutches and can make things worse. This is especially true if you end up feeling like you can’t get through your day without a bottle of wine, for example. So look for healthier habits, as said above, such as exercise or an alternative therapy.

Be More Productive

You may feel stressed because you have so much on your plate that you need to do. But the key is to be more efficient with your time, rather than spending every waking minute doing things. What things could you tick off your list at the same time? What work can be prioritized and others not as much? Can you get help at home, like a cleaner, for example, so that you can focus on other tasks that have more value to you? Set aside time to be more productive and remove distractions, such as your phone. It could mean putting it in airplane mode, for instance, until you get a specific task done. It is all about working smarter and being more productive, rather than working harder.

Make a Positive List

You will be surprised at what a difference being positive can make. If you find it hard to be positive, then it can be a good idea to take some time out and write out what you are grateful for, as well as the positive things in your life. When you take the time to do just that, it can make a massive difference and, you’ll see all of the good and happy things that you do have. It can put the stressful side of your life into perspective a little bit and help you to refocus.

Help Others

Along a similar line of making a happy and positive list of things in your life, it can also be a good idea to look for ways to help other people. It can give you a different focus and again, puts things into perspective for you. It can act as escapism and does help to give you a happy and euphoric feeling. You may not think that you even have time to do something like this. But when you make an effort to do it, you will see the benefit of it in your life.

Hopefully, one of these ideas helps you handle your current stress. What works for you? 

 

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