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Don’t live life treading on eggshells

Like Christmas and all ‘holidays’ throughout the year, the level of stress seems to be higher during these so-called ‘holidays’ than at ordinary times. When you think about it though, it is really not surprising: the children are off from school, there’s shopping that needs to be done, family may be round for lunch and there is so much to do preparing this, the need for umpteenth social visits and maybe even a whole lot of travelling up and down the land.

As I say this time every year; the weeks just seems to be flying by.  After all, this weekend will be Easter (a quarter of the way through the year).

Like Christmas and all ‘holidays’ throughout the year, the level of stress seems to be higher during these so-called ‘holidays’ than at ordinary times.  When you think about it though, it is really not surprising: the children are off from school, there’s shopping that needs to be done, family may be round for lunch and there is so much to do preparing this, the need for umpteenth social visits and maybe even a whole lot of travelling up and down the land.

 

This would be stressful enough, but the current fuel costs, other living costs -and who knows what else- seem to have made what would be a stressful time, even more stressful.  Being a holiday time, this should not be the case – and it seems a shame for what could be such an enjoyable and relaxing time, to end up like this.

 

Here are just a few simple actions that can be taken to limit stress over the Easter weekend.

 

THE ART OF RELAXATION IS ALL IN THE PREPARATION – Like most things in life, preparation is the key to limiting stress.  Making a list of everything that needs to be done (such as shopping, cleaning, financial organisation or whatever else) will allow you to plan everything and should mean that nothing is forgotten. Knowing everything that needs doing allows for the more important tasks to be prioritised.  If it helps, making a ‘doable’ and ‘realistic’ timetable for the days leading up to Easter can provide a good organisation tool.  A word of warning with this; make the timetable flexible enough so that is something runs late or in cancelled, the rest of the timetable does not go to pieces.  Simply dividing the days into ‘morning’, ‘afternoon’ and ‘evening’ should be fine.

 

THE EARLIER THE BETTER – ‘Why wait until tomorrow when something can be done today’.  As with all holidays, the shops, roads and any other public spaces are going to be busy.  Waiting in queues, not getting a good choice of shopping or paying a higher price being late – leads to all sorts of unwanted stress. With anything that needs doing; try to do it as early as possible.  If shopping needs to be done, doing this early in the morning is generally a quieter time with less people about.  Also, being early should mean that you can get your hands on the best goods.  Good planning is even more important when ordering goods from over the internet – as delivery dates and times are an important factor.

 

IF TRAVELLING, MAKE SURE THE CAR HAS A GOOD M.0.T – By this I don’t mean the legal M.O.T (if you haven’t done this you have bigger worries), but more a good check over.  This is vitally important if travelling a long distance and even more important when children are in the car.  I’m sure the last thing anyone wants is to break down with children in the back seat – and then having to call out the break-down services at one of their busiest times of the year.  While unexpected problems will come to challenge us (such is life); a good way of limiting the chances of a nasty surprise is to give the car a good check over.  Make sure there is enough oil in the engine, enough petrol, your tyres are full of air and that all lights etc are working correctly.  When travelling with children, to maintain everyone’s sanity, don’t forget to take something that will keep them occupied on the journey!

 

HAVING GUESTS AT HOME, HAVE AS MUCH READY AS POSSIBLE BEFORE THEY ARRIVE – I wrote about this in more detail back at Christmas, though the same applies for Easter too.  Where possible, try and have all of the shopping finished the day before the guests are due to arrive – at the latest.  If preparing a meal, try to have everything cooked (or at least prepared) before the house is invaded.  There are many things that can be done in advance to help ease stress later on, such as laying the dinner table and getting any entertainment –such as games or music- ready.  A good tip that has worked well for me is to prepare vegetables and anything else that will keep the night before, and cooking the meat early in the morning – so that it is ready before guests arrive and leaves valuable time to get on with other jobs.  Whatever happens, don’t let the guests all flood into the kitchen while cooking.  This is the ultimate cause of culinary stress!

 

IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS, TRY AND HAVE A LITTLE ‘ME TIME’ – This is especially difficult for people who have to work or have large families to look after (and is almost impossible for those who have both). Where possible though, try to have a little ‘me time’. This is that little bit of personal time to relax and do something you want to do.  If lucky, this could be a full day or even just an hour or two.  To relax in this time, do something that you enjoy and that takes your mind away from present stresses.  This could be anything from taking a day to go shopping, or even taking an hour to go for a swim or a lie down listing to music.  It could be that you take a 20-30 minute walk on the morning of Easter Sunday while the lunch is cooking – whatever works for you.

 

IF THINGS GET TOO HOT IN THE KITCHEN, COOL DOWN – Stress is a funny thing, though sadly not at all in the hilarious sense.  It often has a habit of seeming quite manageable until the slightest little thing can make it seem impossible to cope.  If at any time you feel stress building, take a few minutes to remove yourself from the stressful situation to calm down and only return when you feel that you can comfortably do so.  While this may seem a waste of valuable time, trust me, it can save a lot of unwanted stress in the long-run.  This can be difficult in a situation such as cooking, where there is often too little time to do this.  Here, just walking out the kitchen and into the garden or around the house –just for a minute or two- can make a big difference.

 

Hopefully these suggestions are useful.  I have tried not gone into as much detail as usual, as many of these suggestions have been discussed in more detail in previous posts.  The above are just intended as basic suggestions that could be helpful over the Easter holidays.  By all means, have a look through my other posts for more detailed suggestions.

 

 

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