The summer holidays are still beetling along and many parents are starting to feel the burn. In fact, I got an email from Royal Crown Cola the other day that said research has shown that the most stressful day for mums is 21 August. How crazy is that?
Apparently the reason why this date is etched in the memory of stress is because it combines upcoming GCSE results, a five week pay month (which always hurts), the boredom of kids as the holidays roll on and the last minute panic of preparing for school. This is compounded by the fact that during the week parents have little help from family and friends as everyone else is at work or doing their own parental juggle.
So what can you do to chill out and relax without cutting into your dwindling bank balance? How can you fight the nastiness that is stress without losing hair and your mind? Well here are some brilliant ideas for you to adopt, use and take on that will help you to cut your stress in half without spending any money.
1. Visit the Library
There is something utterly calming about the peace and quiet of the library. You can hear the soft sigh of pages being turned, the happy giggle of children being entertained and any book that catches your fancy can go home with you without costing you a cent. Oh yes, you can take a pile of exciting new titles home for free. Another plus here is that many libraries have children’s activities throughout the summer and by visiting them you are giving your library much needed support.
Baking is famed for calming the nerves and soothing the soul. The easy comfort of measuring, weighing and stirring has been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress. You can say goodbye to the horrible side effects of stress such as PMS or depression and embrace the smell of cookies and cinnamon and tasty treats. AND it is a great way to teach your kids valuable life skills in the process.
3. Bubbles and candles
Honestly, just run a hot bath and pour yourself into it. Don’t read, don’t move and don’t talk. Just lie there in a candle lit room with soothing music (or silence) and scented bubbles that make you dream of past times and faraway places. What better way to wash away that last argument before bed time or ease your fears about the bills?
At first this may seem a little like I am suggesting you add to your stress and yes, that may be the case initially. However, once you get into the spirit of things and start to remove all those things that have been taking up space and making your home look untidy, you will feel a huge sense of accomplishment and every time you look at that part of the room or house you will feel a surge of delight. It is a fantastic way of cleaning out emotional and mental cobwebs while also sorting out your home. You can even hold a boot sale or pop items on ebay to see if you can make some money out of them!
5. Free fun
Take a look at the community website for your town or area and find out when they are holding free events that you can enjoy. Don’t squash thousands of things into one weekend, but make an effort to get out and do something new. Not only can you learn something, but the whole family will bond over the experience.
6. Turn off the TV
Honestly, I know lots of people who keep the TV on for company and it drives me batty. Turning that noise box off and enjoying a house of silence and calm is a huge stress reliever. Your poor brain isn’t working overtime trying to shut out a ton of extraneous noise and the kids will get outside and use their imaginations. We constantly fight the TV in our home and now our kids are only allowed to look at it on weekends or holidays.
7. Go for a walk
Nothing says Stress Buster more than a walk. You don’t need to gallop around the neighbourhood at high speed with weights on your ankles, just relax and breathe and enjoy the fresh air. No mobile phone or gadgets, only you and the kids having a wonderful and blood pumping walk in the fresh air. Bliss.