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Tips for maintaining your sanity during the silly season

The pace of modern life, particularly towards the end of the year, means most people are running about madly trying to fit everything in rather than strolling through their days with their life-work balance sorted. If your life tends to be on the frantic side, rather than just plain busy, it’s time to take a few steps to simplify and streamline your everyday. These tips will shave precious time off those chores we all have to do, and help you make pleasure more of a priority.

Get up earlier for me-time (and coffee)
If you have a busy day ahead, or every day is busy, consider getting up a little earlier to ease more slowly into the day. Why not have a quiet cup of tea or coffee on your own before everyone else gets up, or do some quiet yoga before hitting the shower and getting ready for work – you’ll feel positively pious by the time you get there.

Make home a place you love
If your job is stressful and you work long hours, making your home a haven is extra important. If you hate your sofa, your plants are looking a little worse for wear, or your kitchen is on the cluttered side, coming home is likely to grate on your nerves rather than be the nurturing nest you need it to be. Try standing at the door of each room in your house and taking stock – what could you do to make each room look and feel its best?

TIP: If you know your home could make you happier than it does but you’re not sure where to start, inviting an interior designer to come over for a consultation could give you some fresh ideas. Designers offer a range of services to fit your budget and can bring a breath of fresh air to your interiors. Just be clear up front about your budget so you’re both on the same page.

Become extra organised
If those unopened bills are overflowing, the car needs a service, your tax return is late and you just can’t seem to keep on top of everything that needs to be done, there’s no getting around it – it’s time to get more organised. Start by making a list and get one thing done each day; you might be surprised how empowered you suddenly feel. Ticking off each item will feel oh so good, and you won’t have that lingering sense of guilt sapping your precious energy.

TIP: Give yourself a reward for each 10 items you tick off the list – a massage, maybe? You’ll be adding new chores to the bottom of the list as they come up, but if you know you have something to look forward to at regular intervals, they won’t feel like such a burden.

Have groceries delivered
Healthy eating is often the first thing to fall over when you’re especially busy. It’s not just preparing and cooking the food that takes the time, after all – you also have to somehow find time to get to the shops to buy the ingredients. Online supermarket shopping, on the other hand, allows you to have a standard list of groceries on file, and you can add to it if you’re cooking something special that week. Having a fortnightly cycle of meals means you’ll never get sick of anything, but you’ll know exactly which ingredients you need to have delivered regularly. There’s usually a delivery charge, but think of all the money you’ll save by avoiding all those last-minute impulse buys!

BONUS TIP: Just as doing the grocery shopping online can save your sanity, so too can outsourcing any other chores you’d rather not do. If you’re worried about the cost, be selective and don’t forget the value of your time. Weigh up the costs and benefits of having a cleaner come in once a week, for example, and you may well decide your life will be richer for it.

Get a lock for the bathroom door
If you have young children, you’ll know how difficult it can be to find five minutes for yourself. A bath can be the one time you get to unwind and have a little me-time, but not if the kids can walk in to ask questions or make demands any time they like. If it’s your turn for time out and the children are in safe hands, locking the bathroom door could be all it takes to be able to more deeply relax – when you know you’re not going to be interrupted, you can recline in complete peace. If you don’t have a lock, get one put in immediately … just make sure it’s high enough that little hands can’t reach.

TIP: Making your bathing experience more spa-like is as easy as lighting a candle or two and indulging in some divine-smelling bath products. Play some feel-good music, have a glass of bubbles (alcoholic or non) and you’ll walk out of that bathroom feeling like a million dollars.

Force yourself to exercise
After healthy eating, exercise is often the next priority to be set aside when life’s busyness takes hold. We all know we feel more energised when we exercise, so it’s crucial to make it a non-negotiable inclusion in your day. Even 30 minutes daily will get those endorphins flowing and keep depression and anxiety at bay.

Choose furniture that’s easy to clean
If you have pets or children in your house, you’re likely to have more than enough to do. The last thing you need to be worrying about is shooing the dog off the couch and nagging the kids about leaving smudges on the glass coffee table. Do yourself a favour and make the furniture the one thing you don’t need to stress about.

Get out in the garden (and rid of the lawn)
When you’ve worked hard all week, the last thing you probably feel like doing is firing up the mower and tackling the lawn. Consider reducing the area you have to mow, or getting rid of it entirely, and replacing it with garden beds filled with easy-care plantings or, better yet, vegetables. Vegetable gardens do require time, but can be far more rewarding than time spent mowing the lawn. Spend 10 minutes outdoors tending your veggie patch every day and you’re sure to feel great for it – sunshine, exercise, a dose of the outdoors and freshly grown produce is a recipe for well-being.

Share the load
Sometimes the only way to catch your breath is to do less. And that means getting other people in your household to do more. Make a chores roster and get your partner to cook more for starters – if it means getting a pizza oven installed or upgrading the barbecue, just do it. If that’s what it takes to get your partner or kids fired up about taking on some more of the cooking, it’s a no brainer. And it might be a bit of fun, too.

Sleep in – you’ve earned it
If your life is crazy most of the time, it can be difficult to remember how to relax. Why not make it your mission to become an expert? Your nervous system will thank you for it. If it means taking turns with your partner to sleep in on a Sunday, set this new habit in stone.

TIP: Treat yourself to a set of nice new PJs (the more luxurious, the better) and make sure you wear them when it’s your turn to sleep in – you’ll feel all the more special.


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