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on Reducing Stress
Do you feel that there aren't enough hours during a summer's day to complete all the tasks that seem to keep the wheels of family life turning smoothly. Do you drive yourself to exhaustion trying to be, and do, all things for all people. Do you feel that you're not really living but existing from job to job, crisis to crisis. You are not alone. Lots of families tend to get caught up in the moment.
You have to slow down, begin to simplify family life. Take an unreasonable burden off your shoulders. Step one: Examine how you are living and what can be eliminated from your revolving-door lifestyle.
Close examination of your day-to-day activities will prove interesting and informative. Write down the where, what, how and why of each activity. You'll be surprised when you see your routine on paper. You'll also begin to notice repetitive patterns that show up every day - car out of driveway four times - ten trips to the basement - eleven telephone calls - a load of laundry. Once the list is at hand, the rule that there must always be time for important tasks comes into play. But, you have to ascertain what is important for yourself and family. If growing your own food is important, gardening should receive top priority. If cooking from scratch saves money, that task too becomes important. If a daily soak in a hot tub is a sanity-must-do, keep it in your schedule. Who needs the hassle of ironing everything?
The relevance of all activities must be questioned. After consultation with family members, you might find out that a son doesn't really want to play in a sport's league, a daughter doesn't like dancing lessons and prefers to read books. You don't need the personal hassle of involvement in every club or church group. Hubby doesn't have to take up golf just because all his workmates are learning the game.
You'll find that as unwanted and unwarranted activities are removed from your schedule, your life won't only become less complicated but you will save money. Do you need a second car to cart kids and equipment? Do you need the expense of someone else training your puppy? Do you need that leaf blower when the wind does a wonderful free job? Do you need that snowmobile and membership in co-responding club when all you really want do to is sit before the hearth with a good book on a winter's weekend? Are you compromising quality of life for quantity of unnecessary adult toys.
Once you've pared your list down to the necessaries, apply the basics of time management then learn to delegate. Kids can sort and do laundry, carry things to the basement, clean storage areas, cut grass, garden, make beds and learn to cook. Simplify and delegate.
On another topic, I had a very naive reporter approach me with a strange question. He, like some people, equated simplicity with poverty or down-in-the-heel circumstances. He felt that there was a visual difference in the people who practiced simplicity in their lifestyle. We were, according to his theory, suppose to stand out in a crowd. He's right. There is a visual difference. We're the ones with smiles on our faces.
I told the fellow that some people live simply by choice; others by fate. It is a fact that most humans have the ability to adapt to any financial or physical lifestyle and to live happily in their particular situation, be it self-imposed or fate-imposed. Even though some individuals must live in less than adequate circumstances - let's call it gentle poverty - many don't compromise the quality of life and standards they have set for themselves within their restrictive financial and physical environment.
From my live, learn and pass-it-on file: For lumpy salt put a few uncooked rice kernels in your shaker. For lumpy sugar, add an unsalted soda cracker to your jar. Honey is the one food product that never goes bad but liquid honey does turn to sugar. It's easy to liquify again. Place the jar or tin, minus its lid, in the top of a double-boiler and steam until the sugar has melted back into a liquid. Some people use their microwave for this task. I prefer the double-boiler.
For a real treat, you can add ½ cup of raisins and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Put all ingredients in a bowl and knead until well mixed-just like bread. Use your fingers to spread dough in a 9 inch x 9 inch greased cake pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Bannock is especially good, hot from the over, slathered with butter and jam. Enjoy. Without the addition of raisins and cinnamon, its great with stews and baked beans.
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