Tips for Reducing Stress


mom holding kids and phone

Anyone else having a series of “I’ve just got to make it through this week”, but like every week?

From about September to January, the stress is as plentiful as pumpkin spice products at local retailers.

The holidays are fast approaching, extracurricular activities are in full swing, and I’m not sure about you, but my professional workload doesn’t get lighter to accommodate all the extra tasks that are mocking me from my to-do list.

As I started assessing what would be helpful (and I’m not talking my Apple watch telling me to breathe which has the exact opposite effect) I was able to identify three immediate action items that would help eliminate some of the ever-increasing weight being placed on my shoulders. Feel free to slide this right into your person’s DMs if any of this resonates with you.

Tis’ the season for giving someone you love the best gift of all… a break! Truly all I want for Christmas is my eye to stop twitching, I’m all good on teeth.

Meal plan/prep

With a busy schedule, lots of rushed afternoons/evenings, and very little extra time, having meals planned and prepped ahead of time would be a huge weight lifted. I can’t tell you how much it helps to not have to think about dinner after thinking about a million other things throughout the day. Imagine being presented with a meal plan for the week, groceries taken care of, and having some freezer meals prepped that you can just pop in the oven on a busy night. What a dream (and not the kind where you wake up in a panic because you forgot tomorrow is dress like a book character day at school and now you’re mentally trying to piece together a Harry Potter costume at 3am)!

Sort out the logistics

Suggesting a night out is music to my ears. Right up until I remember I have to sort out all the details to make it happen. How wonderful would it be to not only have the suggestion, but to have the evening planned from start to finish, including the babysitter? I appreciate being asked what I’m in the mood for, but I don’t have the capacity to make another decision. Planning the itinerary for the evening and allowing me to just show up would be amazing. Yes, that includes texting the babysitter, finalizing details, and giving them the rundown of expectations before we leave. I can just feel the stress floating away as I type this.

I’m not just talking a night out either, sorting out the logistics for simple things like who is driving kid A to practice while kid B has rehearsal and kid C has to be picked up across town. These are the real life word problems they should have you working on in school. No one cares how many apples Susie has! But we do care how many mph we’re supposed to drive from daycare pickup to the dance studio to the soccer field when they’re 15 miles apart and all start within 5 minutes of each other.

Game plan together

I have no problem asking for help, but I don’t want to have to ask, ya know? But I must admit I’m not always the best about communicating what’s coming up.

How is someone supposed to offer assistance when they don’t even know what it is you need assistance with? Take some time to sit down and go through your calendar together. Identify what’s coming up and deadlines that are approaching. Then, this is where you come in partners, take something from that list and own it. Don’t ask if we need help, just identify the task and say I’ll take care of this! Order the Halloween costume, figure out the outfit for Spirit Week, purchase the soccer snack, RSVP to the birthday invitation. These seemingly small tasks all add up. Trust me when I say this simple act will pay off in a big way!

Notice how I didn’t mention gifts? While a card and flowers is a lovely gesture, it doesn’t eliminate any stress. Same with chocolates, a bottle of wine, etc. However, if you’d like to book a massage and sort out all the details so I can go without having to worry about anything else, I’ll allow it.

These are small things you can do to help eliminate some of the stress your loved one is carrying. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture.

What are some ways you’ve been able to reduce the stress in your life?

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Kinzy Gillespie
Kinzy is a self-proclaimed “cool mom” to 3 spirited kids: Kellan (2012), Harper (2014), and Charlotte (2019). Her husband James is a Des Moines Firefighter whose only real downfall is his wholehearted participation in “Movember.” When she’s not working diligently to answer the ten thousand questions her kids ask in a day, she can be found slamming coffee, adding things to her shopping carts online knowing full well she’ll never actually checkout, and laughing at her own jokes. She spends most of her days reminiscing about when naps were still a thing, avoiding household chores, and striving to perfect the work/life balance.


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