How to manage feeling stressed

Ever feel so stressed that you just need to write? Well that’s me right now. I have no idea where this post will take me, but I wanted to talk about ways that I manage my stress levels or when I am not feeling 100% myself. We all know with the current situation in the world right now, there have been many down moments and times when things just get a bit too much. So here are a few tips if you are ever feeling like this:

1.) Take a moment

A few things that I have tried to adopt into my daily life, are to just take a moment – count down from ten or take in a few concentrated breaths and assess the situation that I am facing. Trying to address what is making you feel a certain way can sometimes make it worse if you aren’t in the right frame of mind.

2.) Try Mindfulness – The 5 Things

I read a mindfulness article once, and something that really resonated with me was to close my eyes, wherever I was, and to think of 5 things that I can feel. Try it! For example, right now, I can feel the cushion pressing against my back, I can feel the smooth touch to my keys as I type… and so on. Then, move onto 5 things that you can hear. It might be as simple as you can hear your own slow, deep breaths or rain hitting your windows outside. This technique really makes me stop and take a moment for myself and I am usually calmer and in a better place to face whatever it is that is bothering me.

3.) Deep breaths

I am a great believer in taking time to take some deep breaths. I never used to do this, until I was REALLY nervous about something and just thought I’d give it a go. It really works!

4.) Write it down

I find a lot of stress relief comes from writing down how I feel. I read a blog post recently that spoke about writing a sentence each day of how I am feeling, so I am going to start that and build it up – look out for it in a future blog post. But just keep a journal or diary is a good space to keep your thoughts.

5.) Talk about it

Speaking about your problems isn’t always easy, but if you have someone that is close to you that you can trust, it can be great to vent out loud. My husband is my go to for when I need to vent. But I also have my family and friend that I am lucky to have around me for support too.

6.) Listen to music

Music is a great healer. Just plugging out from the world for a moment to go through what ever it is that you’re feeling in that current moment. Whether it is your favourite music, or something that you haven’t heard for a while, choose something that makes you happy (or even helps to get any anger out) choose the genre that feels right.

7.) Go for a walk

Walking is great to keep your mind clear and get rid of any feelings of stress that you might be feeling. Getting out into the open air and getting your body moving can really help to get you feeling like yourself again.

There are more ways to reduce feeling stressful that we can try to manage ourselves, but I will leave it there for now. What do you do to reduce stress? I’d love to hear your comments below!

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HAIR

I was always sceptical when reading advice on how to train my hair to not need washing everyday. Yes, you heard right. I used to wash my hair everyday and I hated it. But I have been AMAZED at the transformation that I have been able to achieve by adopting a few small changes to my hair washing routine. So these are my top tips:

1.) STOP TOUCHING YOUR HAIR

Okay, so for some this is easy. But for me, I am always touching my fringe, or tucking hair behind my ears. All of the grease and oils from your hands end up on your hair making it feel horrible and in need of a good wash. A way to avoid this? Wear your hair up and pin it back. Unless I am going out and want to look semi-decent, I have opted to just tying it up so it is out of reach of my hands and face. This will really help to reduce your hair getting oily.

2.) Wash with shampoo, TWICE

Believe me, you’ve got to do this. It sounds weird, but trust me it really makes a difference. The first wash gets all of the grease and dirt and rinses it away. Then, with the second wash, the shampoo can actually do it’s job properly. Also, top tip, when you’re rubbing the shampoo in, REALLY scrub it into your roots, like, really go for it and massage it in. Don’t worry too much about rubbing it into your ends, as when you wash it away, it will run down to the ends anyway. Then you can condition the ends.

3.) Accept that you’ll feel SUPER GREASY for a while

Unfortunately, this process won’t happen overnight. You have to build up the routine for a while and you’ll probably feel awful, as your hair will feel heavy and greasy for many days in between washes.

4.) Be patient

It will be so worth it in the long run. It is hard if you’re having to go out and feel this way, I get that. I only really started the process of training my hair as I am currently on maternity leave, and due to the current pandemic, I don’t really go anywhere. So you’ll usually find me with my hair up and pinned back to make myself feel normal and not like a total greaseball 24/7. I use dry shampoo on the day before I wash my hair to help me go that extra day.

5.) ENJOY hair washing days

I honestly love washing and drying my hair now, I am still building it up and still have a way to go before I will be able to go 7 days without washing my hair (fingers crossed)! Currently, I wash my hair on day 4. So, day 1 I wash, then days 2 and 3 I don’t and day 4 becomes hair washing day. After a few cycles, you build up to another day. I have been deciding on when to up the days depending on what my hair looks like on wash day, and if I think I can go another day I will.

Going from washing my hair everyday to this has made such a difference to my life. Especially with my 3 month old daughter, I can get myself ready fairly quickly and not have to worry about washing and drying my hair all of the time, with more time to focus on her in the mornings. I really recommend trying this if you are like me and really didn’t enjoy the time and effort it took to washing each day. I hope you give it a go and I hope it works for you. Remember to be patient with the process, it will take a little while but you will reap the benefits once your hair gets used to the routine.

Cleaning hacks tried and tested

Using household items in replacement of cleaning products to clean things in your house – what is the verdict? Do they actually work or not. I wanted to find out if I could use them in my day to day routine. Let’s go!

Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar – does this clean stainless steal? In short, yes it does. But, and this is a big BUT… it took so much longer to do and a lot more effort to get the shiny finish.

The method: Pour some vinegar onto the surface and then sprinkle on some bicarb. Then use a scrubbing brush to mix the two together and rub all of the area that needs cleaning (side note, the fizz sound that these two products make when combined is SOOO satisfying). Then, leave this to work it’s magic for a few minutes and wipe away with a damp cloth.

My verdict: I found that the bicarb sort of coated everything and made my sink feel weird. I wiped and dried it and came back to find that it had left residue everywhere – so I had to keep wiping it until this had disappeared. So, the process took a really long time to get it looking good. In the end, I poured more vinegar on to wipe away with some kitchen roll – water just wasn’t doing the trick! So, compared to my usual cleaning technique, I’d have to say that this definitely makes my stainless steal shine, but it takes a long time to get that result. I might do it again, using less bicarb on my next deep clean, but I wouldn’t use it for day to day cleaning.

Lemon juice to clean a microwave – how effective is it? Don’t you just hate having a dirty microwave? It’s so gross when food gets caked into the sides and top.

The method: Add some water and lemon juice to a microwaveable bowl and set it to go for 3 minutes, the grime should just wipe off, without using any elbow grease.

My verdict: I was pleased with this hack, the grime did wipe off very easily. The tougher stains needed a bit of elbow grease and some will need something a bit stronger, but overall as a day to day hack I would definitely use this technique again. I used some kitchen towel to wipe away the grime and the used a kitchen sponge to attack the tougher stains.

Oil to polish up dull wood: does it work? Surprisingly, yes.

Method: Put a splash of oil on some kitchen towel and rub the wooden surface in circular motions. Use a clean piece of kitchen towel to wipe away residue.

My verdict: It worked! My camera doesn’t give the final finish any justice, but I have always battled with the tops of my tea and coffee containers. The wood always looked dried out. The oil really gave them a nice shine. I will be using this again as it was so quick and simple to do.

Which household items would I use again in my day to day cleaning?

Overall, I thought the oil and the lemon juice trick work well. They were quick and simple, so they would be easy to fit into my cleaning routine. On the other hand, the bicarb and vinegar just took too long and a lot of effort to get that final shiny look that we all want for our stainless steal! I have always battled with my stainless steal items, so I am yet to find a useful hack to get these clean and shining easily! If you’ve found anything useful for this, or any household items for cleaning, leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks! Or if there are any that you’d like me to try and test I’d be up for that too.

How to create a purposeful back-up storage space

Anyone else walk past a cupboard or drawer, knowing full well what kind of state it is in behind the door? Well, this was my situation and I couldn’t face it anymore – it was time to get organised! You start off with the best intentions of keeping a space organised and you put in the time sorting the shelves and then it ends up looking like this:

It has happened to us all, I’m sure. So I have been thinking of some ways that I make sure I can keep this space organised and purposeful – instead of becoming a junk cupboard! We keep all of our spares of cleaning and beauty products in here. So it got me thinking, I actually don’t have an inventory of all of this… stuff? I had no idea what was in here and when I was sorting what I had, there was so much that needed to be thrown away and stuff that I was keeping ‘just in case’ which I haven’t used as I had forgotten that it was even in there! I made a rough list in my notebook of all of the things I was keeping (and restocked my toilet rolls whilst I was sorting). I decided to make a grid and eventually I will laminate it, to keep on the inside of the door. So when stock gets low on a particular item, we can check the list for the next time we go shopping or do a big Costco trip. I will attach the free download of my template in this post. Until my laminator comes, I will use a couple of print outs and a pen to fill out my grid. I have typed out the products that we will always keep in here, with a few blank spaces in case we decided we want to store anything else in there.

It was so satisfying seeing the shelves organised and knowing what I have and what I need made me feel so calm. I even had a sneaky look in the cupboard again after sorting it, just to get another waft of satisfaction! Is that just me? I just love looking at a completed job and thinking YES that looks good. It makes it all worth it. So now I have a system, I’m hoping that this cupboard will continue to look organised and will get restocked in good time. Here is the after photo, and I am so pleased!

I never imagined that there would be EMPTY shelves left for more things, it’s perfect as we are keeping our spare toilet rolls and kitchen rolls in the garage, so we can bring these in now. We even added some hooks to the door to hand our mops. I am a tiny bit gutted that our cleaning caddy (on the floor) doesn’t quite sit straight with the hoover living in it’s home. We are planning on installing a small shelf for the caddy. We love this, it is like my cleaning best friend. Whenever it is time for housework I just fetch the caddy instead of balancing all of my cleaning products underneath my arms as I stumble around dropping everything. I seriously recommend getting a caddy, they are pretty cheap and you can get them from most stores. I think ours is from Quality Discounts or B&M.

I will be doing more posts in the future of before and after organisation with tips and things I found useful, so keep and eye out for my next post and please leave any comments on things you have done to help to keep your space organised!

How to have a productive day

I have been thinking about the content for this blog and thought I would start with how I start my day. During the first lockdown, I was pregnant with my daughter. Days started to merge into one and working from home as a teacher of my fantastic Year 1 class, creating learning packs, marking and setting work from home was a difficult adjustment. But we were all in it together and we made it work. Working through the kinks together and making adjustments to my daily routine really helped me not to fall into a lull.

I woke up promptly at 7:30am (sometimes the alarm got snoozed, but who doesn’t snooze once in a while?) and opened up my notebook to make a daily to-do list. My mind would be so full if I didn’t have a pen and paper to write things down. To my fellow list writers out there, I am sure that you have felt the pure satisfaction of crossing jobs off of a list (even to the point where I finish a job and realise that it wasn’t on the list… so I add it on just to do a squiggly line right through it!). I even found through the Summer when my husband and I would create to do lists to organise the house, that he got very grumpy if I crossed off a job that he had done! But I will tell you more about our home organisation and preparing for baby girl’s arrival in another post.

Whether it is a work day or the weekend, I always write down what I want to achieve. Making the lists makes me do the job. Like some sort of miracle, that little line forces me to just finish the job. Organise your jobs to do into categories. Even breaking down housework into the specific jobs for each room.

I give myself a time schedule which helps me not spend too much time on one task. I suppose it was like having a regular school day, cut into blocks of time. In the beginning, working from home was long and taxing as I didn’t make time for myself and would feel guilty if I took a break to make a quick cup of tea. I started scheduling my day and purposefully timed in breaks to make a snack, a drink or even to watch a quick YouTube video. This improved my well-being and attitude to my work greatly, as I began to enjoy some well deserved me time during my working day. Even moving my laptop to a table and not working in my living room or bedroom allowed me to switch off once I closed my laptop. My husband and I decided against creating a home office, and as we knew that I would be taking my maternity leave later in the year.

Another tip is to sort jobs by priority. I think we actually titled them ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ jobs. This began really during the Summer holidays, when I thought that I wasn’t going back to work in the new school year due to the pandemic. You can read more about this in my other post here. Pregnancy comes with lots of appointments, check-ups and during the current pandemic, lots of phone calls and the odd video call. So blocking these into a weekly planner was useful, but more often than not I would use my phone calendar to jot in appointments and other things to remember. More recently, I have moved to using Google Calendar, so my husband and I can link calendars. This has worked really well so far and I would recommend this if you have a busy lifestyle and love a bit of colour coding.

So if you want to feel more productive, my top tips would be to block out times in your day to complete jobs, run errands and take breaks. Wake up at a regular time and try to get your body into a steady routine. If you’re having to work from home, set up a space away from the areas that you relax, as you will be able to ‘close the door’ on work and enjoy your evening. Use some form of visual calendar, whether this is an app version on a phone or tablet, or a paper calendar (we have both) to plan out your week and see what events are coming up. I found this especially good for birthday reminders so that we have time to buy and send gifts and cards. (Side note, if you don’t have Amazon Prime yet, you need it – it’s amazing). I hope that you can make some of these small adjustments in your daily routine, let me know if they help or if you have any questions you can contact me on enquiries@daytodayfamily.com.