Challenge Yourself to 1/3 Less Stress

Lately I’ve been thinking that I’d like to challenge myself to having a little less stress in my life.  I’m not out of control stressed out, but I’m not as relaxed, patient, or easy going as I’d like to be.

I see myself getting edgy with the kids – snapping at them over stupid things like taking too long to get in the car – and am constantly tired when my alarm goes off. Is getting in the car 1 minute too slow really going to mess our drive to school up?  Of course not. Most days I do not wake up feeling completely refreshed and ready to get out of bed. Instead, I hit the alarm two or three times, which doesn’t help much anyway.

less stress challenge

Because Kraft Foods is dedicated to offering better-for-you choices that you can feel good about eating, Kraft Singles emailed me wanting to know if I’d be willing to take on the challenge of making a better-for-you decision to improve my life.

I knew this was the challenge I needed to get my stress under control, so I’ve teamed up with Kraft 2% Milk Singles, which has a 1/3 less fat than the leading process cheese slice,* to bring the following “1/3 Less” Challenge to my life and to yours!

We’ve all heard the phrase “Less is More” applied to different situations in life. When it comes to stress that definitely holds true. Over the next 6-8 weeks I am going to challenge myself to have “1/3 Less” Stress in my life.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Less is More” applied to different situations in life. When it comes to stress that definitely holds true. Over the next 6-8 weeks I am going to challenge myself to have “1/3 Less” Stress in my life.

relax

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I narrowed down 5 areas that contribute to my stress (see below). I plan on tackling these 5 areas to improve my life and get rid of some of my stress.

If you’re game, I’d love to have YOU join me in this challenge to reduce stress. If you have other areas that contribute to your stress outside of what I’ve listed – feel free to work on those. Let’s all make some better-for-you choices so we can enjoy life more, be more patient with our kids, and just generally be happier people.

Factors that Contribute to my Stress

None of this is new information. I know it, you know it…yet I still slip up on some factors from time to time. I’ll even admit that there are a few factors that I struggle with.

Not Eating Well

I’m pretty good at eating breakfast because we often have things like waffles and muffins stashed in the freezer. Our dinners are well-balanced, delicious and healthy, but I am horrible at eating lunch.

If I had someone hand me a plate of delicious, healthy food for lunch each day would I have a problem eating it? No – for me it is the preparation part. It is hard to cook for 1 person and no fun to eat alone.

whole wheat naan

Recipe: Whole Wheat Indian Naan

Often times I’m so busy running errands, photographing food, or doing things around the house that I loose track of time. By the time I realize what time it is, it’s too late for lunch. When I’m hungry I get cranky which leads to more stress.

Other days I snack as I’m working (usually not on anything too unhealthy) rather than sitting down with a balanced meal. It ends up being just enough to fill me up, but not really enough to sustain my energy.

I would like to make better-for-you choices that are lower in fat, calories, sodium and have positive nutritional benefits, such as high in calcium, fiber, protein and made with whole grains. I would also like to increase my vegetable intake.

Poor Sleep Habits

I really only have poor sleep habits when Eric is out of town. I have a hard time sleeping, so I stay up late so that I’m really tired and fall asleep easily. When he’s finally home from traveling I am completely exhausted.

sleep habits and stress

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But I can definitely improve my sleep schedule by getting up when my alarm goes off every day, at the same time, instead of hitting snooze a few times – or completely turning off the alarm.

I feel so much better when I get up and get myself ready before the kids are awake, and it shows – I’m more patient with them.

Lack of Exercise

I’ve never been overweight (knock on wood) which makes me less motivated to exercise. When I am in a good habit of being physically active I feel great – more energy, less stress, overall happier mood.

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But, I tend to have phases where I’m in and out of the habit. I’d like to stop that once and for all. I’m going to make the 2 days the Madeline is at preschool my days to exercise.

I have the videos Yoga Meltdown, Power Sculpt, and No More Trouble Zones, so it will be easy for my to spend 30-60 minutes on those days exercising. Then on the weekends, now that it is warming up, we can do things like family walks.

Not Enough “Down” Time

I’ve already been working on this one. Moms need “down time.” We go, go, go all day, especially with little ones around. I love to have some time for me that is spent doing nothing.

reading to reduce stress

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I’ve gotten back in the habit of reading and checking out books from the library. It’s amazing what 30-60 minutes with a great book before bed can do for me. It’s nice to shut off my brain and get lost in someone else’s story.

Do you need some book suggestions? Check out my favorite Fiction Books and Food Memoirs. If reading isn’t your thing, think of something else you enjoy doing that is fun and relaxing. (And no, shopping doesn’t count!)

Disorganization

My house reached a mess of epic proportions the last week. I’m not talking anything worthy of Hoarders or unsanitary, just lots of the little day-to-day tasks that have piled up.

The floor is lately littered with toys everywhere you step. The laundry room is almost so full of laundry that it reminds me of those cartoons where the character is forcing their whole body into the door in order to get it to fully close against the piles and piles of junk behind it.

We’ve had a lot going on in the last month: Eric out of town, a painting project (that took way longer than it should have), work stuff, kid stuff, Eric sick (and then sick again, and again). Household tasks have been ignored.

organized home

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I can’t concentrate on anything when the house is a big mess. And when it’s this messy it’s hard for me to even begin to tackle the mess because there’s just so much. I keep thinking about the mess and how I hate the mess, but I’m too overwhelmed to do anything about it.

This week I am tackling the house, one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. I’m going to try really hard to do a little something every day after the big purge so that I can stay on top of things. With a tidier home, I’ll definitely feel less stress.

The 1/3 Less Program

I’ll be checking in with all of you a couple times in the coming 6-8 weeks as I update my progress on the less stress challenge and I will want to hear how you’re doing too, but in the meantime – follow along Kraft’s #BetterForYou hashtag on Twitter for updates. You can also visit My Daily for better-for-you tips and tools.

In the final post of the challenge I’ll be giving away a $100 gift card to Spa Finder so you can enjoy some much deserved “down time.”

What can you do to decrease the amount of stress in your life?


*Disclaimer: This post is part of the Kraft 2% Singles ambassador program. Kraft 2% Milk Singles have 2.5g of fat per slice compared to 4.5g in the leading American cheese slice, that is 1/3 less fat than other slices. I was compensated as part of the participation in the program, but all opinions expressed are my own.