Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month?
I didn’t, but given how stressful the past year has been for pretty much everyone, it seems appropriately timed.
I’m curious – what are some ways that you intentionally work to reduce stress? I’m certainly not an expert in this area and it’s a work in progress for me personally, but here are some of my go-to’s for when I need a little help in terms of stress reduction.
Thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post.
My Go-To Stress Reducing Tips
Especially as a parent, it has been really important for me to carve out time just for me, and exercise is usually my favorite form of “me-time.”
Even just a short walk can do wonders for my mood, and I’ve made it a priority to stay active even during my pregnancy because I know it helps my mental state so much.
I really miss my pre-pandemic workout and run dates with friends; those workouts were a big sanity-saver for me and I always came home feeling more positive and upbeat.
Virtual workouts are definitely not the same but it’s better than nothing, and thinking about hopefully getting to run with friends in the fall is really giving me something to look forward to.
I also can’t waittttt to go to an in-person yoga class again!
I’m working to be better about doing yoga at home for now, though, because yoga makes a BIG difference in my mood and in my ability to handle stress.
I’ve never been able to get into meditation, but yoga is similar for me in terms of effects. It’s just hard to make myself actually do it when I don’t have a studio to go out to!
In the theme of this post, though, I actually started my day with a short virtual yoga class today and I really do feel better. I just need to remember that next time I feel like I should just blow it off… 🙂
When I’m doing yoga at home, it helps me to just do short (20 to 30 minute) classes vs. trying for a full hour so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and time consuming!
Reading is another one of my favorite ways to de-stress and recharge, and usually my favorite time to read is in bed right before I go to sleep.
I’ve actually been reading a lot more lately due to being pregnant because I’m so tired right after dinner that I basically get in bed right after Riese does, around 7:30! It’s nice because that gives me lots of time to read and rest before actually turning out the lights.
It has been fun to share what I’m reading with all of you, too – if you’re a big reading fan, too, see my 8 Recent Fiction Reads post from earlier this month for some ideas!
Especially with how stressful the world feels right now, it has been really nice to escape into the worlds of my books, away from the constant onslaught of news.
This is a tough one for me when I’m pregnant because I’m ALWAYS hungry but often not much actually sounds that appealing food-wise.
I’ve had to be especially intentional about making sure I’m adequately fueling throughout the day recently, even if eating something isn’t always convenient at the time when I find I need it.
Because adding on hunger-related stress on top of regular stress is not a great situation, am I right?
(More tips in this post: Intuitive Eating While Working From Home)
I’m obsessed with baths – especially epsom salt baths – and they have become one of my favorite ways to destress before bed after a long day.
The key for me with baths is to not have my phone within reach or any other distractions so that I can actually just settle in and relax and let my mind wander vs. feeling like I still need to be doing something.
Outsource if Possible
Take some time to think about what daily/weekly tasks you find most time consuming, and consider whether there’s a way to outsource any of them.
One of the main things that Matt and I outsourced as soon as we were financially able to was cleaning. We keep up with daily tidying and light cleaning, but for us, paying someone else to do a deep clean once or twice a month has been incredibly helpful.
The other big thing that we outsource is grocery shopping!
We do this in two ways: first, by ordering all our groceries via app for delivery, which saves us a ton of time going to the store. We started ordering groceries and getting them delivered shortly after Riese was born and it has been a big game changer.
And second, by using Blue Apron to outsource the planning + shopping for 3 of our dinners each week!
The other day, I was trying to think back and remember what Matt and I used to do for meal planning before we started using Blue Apron back in 2013.
I honestly couldn’t remember – I know we had some staple dinners that we always had in the rotation that were easy to throw together, and we still use those often (tacos, pasta bolognese, saucy quick chicken, etc.), but I don’t remember what we filled the other nights of the week with.
I do remember the first time we tried Blue Apron, though, and thinking “wow, this is a MASSIVE game changer.”
It was such a brilliant idea – all the ingredients you need to make 3 chef-designed dinners delivered right to your door each week – and one I was surprised no one had thought of sooner. Not only does it save you the time shopping + planning, but I also love that neither one of us is the “keeper” of the dinner plans then.
Whoever is free to cook dinner knows they can just grab one of the recipe cards and get going vs. needing to check in with the other person to figure out what the plan is. Riese is into it, too… here she is on a day we were making Beyond Meat Burgers telling Matt: “Daddy, the picture says to flip them now.” 🙂
For those who like cooking but don’t want to deal with meal planning, grocery lists, and food shopping, it’s perfect – all the fun, none of the annoyance.
And we love that you get exactly what you need for each meal so there aren’t any random partial leftovers (see also: entire can of tomato paste that I always use a tablespoon of and then it gets moldy before I need it again…).
Speaking of tomato paste, this Cavatelli Pasta & Pork Ragu with Kale was hands down my favorite Blue Apron meal we’ve had recently – it was crazy good. Riese was all about it, too.
If you want to give Blue Apron a shot and haven’t yet, click here for my affiliate link to save $80 over your first 4 boxes!
What are your best stress reducing tips? I’d love to hear your ideas, too – the more the better!