Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

My Operation: Reduce Stress, and how it's going

I am a pretty high stress, busy, ambitious person. I pack a lot into my time and I feel guilty, or like I’m just missing out on opportunities, when I relax. Some of this is just my nature and I will always want to be achieving new things, but my tendency is definitely to overdo it and get too busy so my progress/goals no longer feel positive. People ask me how I do it all--day job, blog and Instagram, podcast, parenting two kids--and the answer is I am just a ball of stress almost all the time.

Always Busy

A little over a month ago after finishing our home office renovation (lots of DIY projects on a short timeline), I just reached a tipping point. I have been working on the chair slipcover and touching up paint every night after the kids went to bed and every spare moment on the weekends for several weeks, not making enough time for my family or myself. On top of all the other stuff I usually have to do. I was so unhappy. I regretted taking on this project, which was a great thing for our house, but the way I did it was just miserable.
The lovely finished room that a lot of stress built

I decided I had to make a big change. It’s easy to do a 360 when something becomes too much, so I initially thought, just no more house projects! Ever! Although that’s not realistic. But I decided I really need to scale it way, way back and just focus on the essential things I need to do, and leave the remainder of the time for rest or buffer.

Doing Less and Being Excited About It

I know that stress comes from both having a long to do list and the way I feel about it. Let me say that again: I’m stressed not only because I have a lot of things to do, but also because of my attitude. So I need to shift both. 

It’s very hard for me, but I know that getting three blog posts a week up or staying 100% on top of the laundry are optional tasks, and nothing bad will happen if I don’t do them all the time. But, reframing everything as part of my larger, ongoing resolution to be less stressed has made it motivating! Like, I am a little bit excited to leave those things for later because then I will... win points? on my operation to be less stressed! I guess I am a driven person and I needed that points to be awarded somewhere. 

It feels really good, too! I’ve been trying to find time each weekend to lay in the hammock, even for only a few minutes. I’m definitely still working on that, but after having all of our weekends this spring busy with things like the office, I am really enjoying and trying to preserve our summer weekends for family time. We recently joined a gym and have been going swimming with the kids on the weekends, which really gets my day started as a weekend day, not just any other day at home. (The days can blend together when you work from home and watch the kids alone one or two days a week so this helps.)

Self Care (So Hard)

I’m also adding things back in, for myself. I recently hung out with a friend and her two little kids who are a little older than Otto. She has been a stay-at-home mom with them and joined a gym that has good childcare. She goes five days a week! She takes an hour class then showers and does whatever because the kids can stay in childcare for two hours. An hour long workout class and a shower? Every day? That sounded so luxurious to me!! Now, I can’t do that exactly because I work four days a week, but my afternoons and evenings with the kids are really tough and Jason doesn’t get home until they’re in bed. I thought maybe I could fit in some gym and childcare time after work! Jason got excited about joining a gym too. 

We joined a small one near us. They're still ramping up their childcare options but Jason and I have been taking turns going to the gym and just that hour or so of time to myself in the weight room feels so, so good.

I've had a few slip-ups the past week or so, which is part of why I wanted to write this post. I'm trying to remember that getting less done is a good thing (in my case). I'm trying to put less on my calendar every day--not fill every evening after work with blog emails and little house projects. Give myself time to shower and get in bed in time. It's hard.

Three Ways to Reduce Stress

I also recently listened to this podcast episode on ways to reduce stress. It's an enjoyable listen (start at 20 mins, 20 seconds in to skip to the stress part) and I really like Miranda's attitude and experience in this topic. (She's a fellow longtime DIY blogger, but she now does so much more than that.) The short of it is the three ways are: lower your expectations, learn to be present, practice gratitude. But I learned from her sharing her experience as another high-energy, high achieving person who used to think stress is an inevitable constant--and is now on the other side.

Well, I have a lot to learn, but I'm making a conscious choice to do less. I also know this isn't the first time I've had a goal like this. It's hard! But I hope to make a big change over the next few months that lasts a long time. 

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