Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marie's Advice On Recharging The Old Bio-Battery

   We all get tired and we all have way too much stress in our lives. I don't care what you do, there are things that stress us out and make us tired and we get depressed and bogged down with this roller-costar called life and there are times when you need to learn to take a friggin' break and recharge. In other words, for the purpose of this blog, YOU are the bio-battery. You are the one that holds your life together, the decision-maker, the big boss of your world, and you need a break, okay? Yes, you do, if you are saying no, you are in denial. So I'm going to tell you how to do it, and I recommend doing it once a month, maybe every two months if you are just super busy. I recommend that you get your family in on it, so that they look forward to these days, and learn to participate instead of distracting from your valuable recharge time. Even if you have small kids, I recommend that you try. You days won't go as planned at first, because small kids always come with unanticipated surprises, but eventually, you will get them there. So get started.

Step 1: For a recharge day, you have got to prepare properly. If you work, you are gonna need two consecutive days off, or for a really luxurious day, three. The reason for this is that if you work, you need to do all the non-work work, and usually you need a day off to do that. Stay-at-homers, you need to plan on getting everything done the day before as well, so you are going to have one ultra-busy day. You need to get all the house work done the day before. You need to make all your important calls, pay all your bills, and take care of anything that is weighing on your mind the day before. Do not put it off until the day after, because you know that you will worry about it and that will spoil you recharge. 

Step 2:   You need to carefully plan food for your recharge day. Unless you just really love being in the kitchen, and baking and cooking relaxes you, you need to have easy to prepare snacks and meals. You do not want to follow a strict diet on this day, because being hungry is gonna make you mad, but you don't want to totally pig out, because worrying about eating a whole cake from the bakery is gonna make you feel guilty and make you stress about your weight.
   Personally, I like to have a frozen dinner. Trader Joe's has a wonderful frozen spanakopita, which is a Greek spinach pie. If you are interesting in trying spanakopita and don't have a Trader Joe's near you, Target has a decent option. I like Trader Joe's better, but I do pick them up from Target as well, because I tend to go there more often so it's convenient. Popcorn is a good snack that isn't too unhealthy; popcorn has lots of fiber so it fills you up. My daughter likes hummus, and I like cheese and olives. I also recommend keeping a little chocolate on hand. You don't have to binge on chocolate, but a craving for chocolate can disturb your day, so have a little on hand, just in case. 

Step 3: Do not set your alarm. If your kids are old enough to fend for themselves, then make sure that they understand that either cereal or poptarts or some similar do-it-yourself options are for breakfast, and that they are to get them on their own. If you have little ones, sleeping in is probably a few years away, but let them wake up naturally and try your best to sleep in. No alarms. If you are dealing with some older kids or adults, unless someone is not breathing, bleeding, or in crisis in some way, no one is to wake you up. They need to understand that the consequences will be severe, and that your attitude will be stuck in angry-bear-mode for the rest of the month. 

Step 4: Plan some activities. DO NOT make a frickin itinerary and stick to the thing like glue; that's stressful and no fun. What I mean is to have some movies that the whole family likes to watch, have some video games ready, if your family is into board games, have that ready. DO NOT plan on getting dressed, this is a lazy pajama day. A day at the park is excellent, but something to be done on a different day. Plan stay-at-home, don't get dressed activities, like art projects for the kiddos, movies, book reading, and things along those lines. If you have a good friend that you wanna call and have a good gossip-gab with, a conversation that is completely frivolous, that's fine. Don't talk on the phone with anyone who is going to stress you out, don't answer the phone if work calls, don't pick up for bill collectors, ect. Personally, I am capable of gleefully ignoring all these people, but if you cannot, unplug your house phone and stick the thing in your sock drawer along with all your cell phones. If you like to cook, then cook, but don't do the damn dishes; they will be there tomorrow. If needed, imagine me standing over you and nagging in the most authoritative voice you have ever heard in your life, "Put down the soap and the dish cloth." If dirty dishes bother you, use throw away utensils and plates. You aren't cleaning today.

Step 5: Is optional. If you have a third day, stay up late and sleep in the next morning as well. Nothing feels better than not watching the clock. Staying up late can be as fun as sleeping in, but if you have to work the next day, waking up tired defeats the purpose of a bio-battery recharge, so get enough sleep. FYI: young kids count as work, so you'll need to get to sleep on time. You want this day to help you feel more rested, not make you feel worn out.

   I do this often. Not every day-off, that is not feasible, and would get boring. But I do try to do this once a month, and my daughter loves it! This is my time to teach her how to relieve her stress. We all work on teaching our kids good work ethics, good manners, good social skills, ect., and these are good goals and very important, but we also need to teach them how to effectively relieve stress and take a break, and this is one of my tools. Of course there are park days, and visiting friend days, and hiking days, but this is the recharge day, and has as much value in stress relief as any of the previously mentioned activities. We all need some good couch time in our lives. Plus, if you do have kids or a spouse or whatever, this is a fun and cheap way to have some quality family time. Try it! 

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