You may remember from last week that I am taking part in a challenge with Aviva and Mumsnet with the aim of reducing the stress in my life at the moment. You can find out more about the challenge and the personalised tips I received for week 1 here.
So one week in, how have I been getting on? I really felt that Week One's tips were truly personalised for me and really rang true. I am always rushing around after others and never seem to get any 'me-time'. I used to think it was down to the homeschooling and I imagined that once both boys were back at school then it would be easier to carve out that precious 'me time'. That has not been the case at all though. Perhaps because Miss T is at an age where she needs constant 'entertaining' and it almost feels like she is more demanding because the boys aren't around during the day.
Before just having them at home used to mean that they were her entertainment, even when they were busy working hard on their homeschooling, they were still around and she seemed more content. Now she will say 'mummy sit' 'mummy play' as I think she's noticed that I am always on the go and always have jobs to be getting on with. So now I have that constant guilt about needing to get things done and wanting to spend quality time with Miss T too.
With the exception of this evening when I am typing this up late at night, I have been spending a lot less time online in the evenings. This has made a difference in helping me to 'wind down' ready for bed and to be honest it has felt like a treat to be able to just relax in front of the telly in the evenings instead of trying to keep on top of emails and 'blogmin' (blog admin).
At one time, my 'me time' to relax was getting on the computer and reading and writing blogposts - at the moment it feels like I need to do that less as it is impacting on my sleep and quality of family time. Again it is getting the balance right because the blog was supposed to be a way of capturing memories of the kids whilst they are young and yet when it becomes a chore to keep it updated and leads to late nights and lack of sleep, then it actually has a detrimental effect on family life rather than the positive effect it was intended to have.
I think I am going to have to accept that a hobby such as blogging should be just that, a hobby. And a hobby is supposed to be something you do in your spare time which I don't really have much of at the moment. So a bit of a blogging break or reducing the amount of blogging time (certainly in the evenings) would be a good start.
I try not to turn the computer on during the day so that it doesn't affect my time with the kids, but perhaps Miss T's naptime would be a good time to catch up online instead of in the evenings.
Week Two's tip's have arrived and they focus on fitness and diet as well as a few more tips about Work-life balance and Wellbeing:
Work-life balance from Dr Doug“You mentioned that you have some big decisions to make. Set a specific time and date with your husband to make these decisions. Be really clear what the time is for and the objective of the meeting - the decision you both need to make. It sounds very 'business like' however by allocating this time allows you and your husband to concentrate on other things that need doing, allows you both to prepare for what you need to talk about and having a clear objective ensures a decision is made. This can be applied to other aspects of your life too”.
Wellbeing from Dr Doug“Think positively and list 1 or 2 things you did well today or that you're grateful for. Perhaps this is something which you could do as a family. Doing this makes you reflect on your successes and makes you feel more positive especially at difficult times. You could even put your 'successes' into a jar and use as a pick me up when you're feeling low”.
Fitness from England rugby players Billy Twelvetrees and Jonny May and former Captain Mike Tindall.“Swimming is a great form of exercise as well as relaxing - if you can get to the adult only sessions! Go swimming as part of your 'you time' and kill two birds with one stone. Even if you manage half an hour doing the breast stroke you can burn 367 kcal, whilst a fast front crawl burns a whopping 404 calories!”.
“If you can't fit time in to swim then try cleanercise! Think of cleaning as your exercise . Did you know that hoovering for 12 mins burns 50 calories, whilst ironing for 33 minutes burns 100 calories? If you had a full hour, gardening burns up 360 and washing and waxing a car is 300 calories. These are all small steps to help you reach your target weight but hopefully manageable within your schedule.
Diet from Paddy“Eat for sleep. A dinner heavy in carbohydrates can cause a slump in your blood sugar levels after eating which in turn will then turn on the stress response, which may affect the quality of your sleep and wake you up. Because you're having trouble sleeping have food that’s protein and vegetable rich so it stabilises your blood sugar levels for a better night's sleep”.
The objective of the Stress Less challenge is to arm me with personalised expert advice with the aim of committing to at least one for a lifetime - To make small changes for a long-term benefit to help reduce or help me be better prepared to deal with stress.
Week 2 tips sound good, but in practice, with my long-term arthritis and back-pain even swimming and housework are no-no's if I'm having a bad week pain-wise. I think it is going to be a case of trying to do these things when my back / hip are feeling up to it but taking care not to push myself on the days when the pain is really bad.
It has made me realise that we might need to find a childcare solution in the longer term to allow me to have sessions at the hydro-therapy pool which has helped in the past. So it might be a case of looking at whether finances would stretch for a day at nursery for Miss T so that we are not relying on friends and family to help out on an ongoing basis.
From the tips I have been given so far, I feel the one that would be most beneficial is from Week 1 and the importance of making some 'me time'. This is something that has come up again and again in my life as I never put myself first and I need to recognise that I'm not going to be at my best for looking after the rest of the family unless I look after myself properly.
Find out how I get on with Week 2's tips next week and which change I'll be committing to for life.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I will receive a small incentive upon completion of the Stress Less challenge for blogging about my experience.