Sunday, May 29, 2011


For many of us Monday is the most stressful day of the week, especially at work. We start to anticipate it and stress about it on Sunday night. It's automatic, a habit we've developed over years and years of Monday stressing. I think we can't make it a stressless day, but I know we can learn to stress less.

What's important is to change the way we think about Mondays. This may be hard because EVERYBODY seems to expect Mondays to be bad. What we focus on and anticipate often become real (especially negative anticipation). For example, if you expect to have a bad day you usually do. Let's start by anticipating 1 good thing to happen on Monday. Then plan it and make it happen. It will be something positive to look forward to.

Plan a special lunch, dinner, or other activity after work. Find 1 small thing to do differently at work, maybe make a bothersome office relationship more enjoyable (or just less annoying). Once you set your mind to changing how you experience the day, maybe Monday can be Fun Day. Ok, that may be asking a bit too much. But at least you can stress less.

Find other Stress Less Monday tips on our Facebook page

Sunday, May 8, 2011

School's Out Soon. What To Do...

The happiest day of my life used to be the last day of school. I can't be specific, but I'm sure I learned a lot during my summer vacations, mostly in Cape May, New Jersey (much different than summer in NY City). Plan some of what you want your children to learn this summer, and structure it. For example, if your child's had difficulty calling out in class (or other attention seeking), have them practice controlling that impulse at home a few times per week . And make it rewarding. If he can sit in the kitchen (maybe while you're doing something there), for 30 minutes (two 15 minute segments) and practice raising his hand and waiting for you to 'call' on him, he gets a special privilege. Let him practice relaxation breathing (see my post of 3/1/11, Take A Moment... Breathe...) to learn to control his impulses during this exercise.

There are a lot of things our kids can learn during this time off. In addition to reading, and practicing math problems (for a few minutes daily), you can help them learn good studying habits, less defiance, controlling whining and tantrums, to eat more healthily, improve social skills. I know, it's not sounding like fun, yet. These practice sessions can be fun for the child, especially if you're practicing your new and improved 'special rewards' system(s). But your fun really comes when you are less stressed by not getting phone calls from her teachers, or improved grades, better behavior, your child's improved self-esteem. If there are particularly stubborn bad behavior habits that you and your child haven't had time to address during the busy school year, now's the time to get some help with it. In some cases kids who have been working on issues in counseling during the school year, take a vacation from the work during the summer. Often the old habits return when school (and the school stress) starts again. By all means, the summer break should be an enjoyable time for your family, use it wisely.