Couldn’t resist reblogging this one.
It’s been a crazy few weeks.
DH has been busy with end-of-term meetings, presentations and the like. I’ve been in charge of scheduling contractors for lingering punch-list items including a sink replacement — it is SO much fun to have your children visiting when you can’t use the kitchen sink –, replacing two window blinds that had arrived damaged, painter touch-ups, fixing the garage door, etc. Plus finding someone to clean the windows, finding someone to cut the grass, and everything else we have to squeeze in before we leave for the summer.
I don’t do well with stress. (Does anyone?) So I try to remind myself to do these simple things:
- Walk whenever possible. We now live about a quarter mile from the supermarket so, instead of driving over when I need a few things, I take the rolling grocery cart or a couple of shopping bags and walk there. It takes longer but is weirdly relaxing.
- Buy flowers. They smell lovely, look pretty, feel indulgent, and improve air quality.
- Spend time alone. Go for a stroll, take a bath, exercise, give yourself a facial… whatever clears your head (literally or otherwise).
- Read or watch something funny. Laughter is the ultimate stress buster.
- Do something creative. It doesn’t have to be award winning or museum quality: Bake, garden, rearrange your closet — anything that fuels your imagination.
- De-clutter. If there’s no time for a full reorg, even neat piles on my desk help me feel more in control.
- Simplify entertaining when you’re short on time. Unless you find it relaxing to make a fancy dessert or bake bread, don’t bother. Your friends want to spend time with you, not admire your gourmet prowess.
- Do the dishes tomorrow. Guests stayed late? Put the food away and let the dishes soak overnight.
- Don’t overschedule. This usually happens because I (and you, too?) want to make everyone happy, often at our own expense. Be realistic about how much you can fit into a given day. If you have to cancel, do so as early as possible to minimize other people’s inconvenience or disappointment. And try not to feel guilty.
- Remember to breathe. Inhaling lavender helps.
Special shout-out to MSW blog for more thoughts on this topic.
The Internet was full of interesting tips this week!
7 ways to prevent (and fix!) smelly shoes
1. Start with clean feet: Soak them in salt water, then dry off and dust with talcum powder (baby powder or Gold Bond).
2. Put antiperspirant on the soles of your feet.
3. Sprinkle the inside of your shoes with baking soda and leave overnight. Vacuum or shake out in the morning.
4. Place dry tea bags inside your shoes and leave them overnight.
5. Put crumpled newspaper inside your shoes and leave overnight. It absorbs odor-retaining moisture.
6. Place your shoes in individual plastic zip bags and leave them in your freezer overnight to kill bacteria. During the winter, leaving them overnight in a cold car will work too. Let your shoes slowly return to room temperature before wearing.
7. Spritz sneakers or fabric-lined shoes with mixture of water and white vinegar. Let dry thoroughly.
5 steps to relaxation
1. Place the tip of your tongue just behind your front teeth and exhale sharply.
2. Close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Exhale strongly to a count of eight.
5. Repeat 3 times. Ahhhhh.
17 ways to save money
- Clear your browsing history. When shopping online – especially for airline tickets – make sure to empty your cache. Online companies follow your history and raise prices based on this information.
- Shop as a guest. When buying online, use the Guest option instead of creating an account. New customers usually get lower prices.
- Leave items in your online cart. Get everything filled in, with your name, e-mail address etc., but don’t purchase immediately. You’ll often get a follow-up e-mail a day or two later offering a discount code to incentivize you to complete the sale.
- Lower the brightness on your TV and computer screen. Reducing the brightness of your TV and/or computer monitors from their default settings can reduce power consumption by up to 40%.
- Carry large bills. Research shows that you’re likely to pay less if you use cash instead of a credit card. That’s because purchases feel more “real” when you see the amount you’re spending. If you carry only $50 bills you’ll be less inclined to break them, which helps avoid impulse buys.
- Make lists. You’re also less likely to succumb to impulse buys at the mall or grocery store if you’ve decided ahead of time what you need and plan to buy.
- Build your credit. Your credit score determines your rate on loans; nowadays utility and insurance companies use these scores to calculate monthly premiums.
- Make large purchases at the end of the month. Buying a couch, car or electronics? All sales reps have to meet monthly quotas. If they’ve had a slow month they may be willing to give you a deep discount in order to make a sale—and reach their quota.
- Paint your roof white. If you live in a warm climate, this quirky idea could save you a bundle on air conditioning bills. Traditional roofs are dark, and dark colors absorb more heat. Go even further and install solar panels – the upfront cost will be worth it if you plan to live in your house for a long time.
- Brew your own coffee. Home brewing cuts your cost to about $0.25 per cup vs. $3 at a pricey coffee shop, saving you hundreds per year (and over $1000 if you have a 2/day habit!)
- Eat less meat. Eating vegetable-centric meals 2-3 times per week will save you some major cash.
- Buy generic. Store brands often have the same ingredients as name brands and may even be made by the same companies. Same with prescriptions – ask your doctor if the generic version is an effective option.
- Buy a water filter. Bottled water isn’t just expensive; it’s not necessarily healthier than tap water. The filtration process may result in water that’s actually better for you than spring water!
- Exercise daily. Research confirms that working out regularly limits the number of trips you’ll take to the doctor’s office.
- Eat out at culinary schools. If you love dining out, investigate culinary schools in your area. You can enjoy delicious meals from up-and-coming chefs at significant savings vs. restaurants.
- Stay hydrated. Many people overeat because they mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water before a meal will help you to only consume what you need. Result: lower grocery bills!
- Ask for discounts. Most companies offer money-saving promotions but may not advertise them. When contacting your cable, gas, phone, or credit card companies, ask if there’s a way to reduce your bills. Sometimes, mentioning that you’re ready to cancel a service or switch providers is all it takes for them to “magically” come up with a better deal.