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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Finding ways to ease stress

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? I never make them–I’m terrible at keeping resolutions and I’m usually too exhausted by Jan. 1 to think clearly about anything, much less life changes.

But I ended last year with a physical. I assumed my doctor would give me a polite lecture about the “baby weight” I’m still carrying more than five months after giving birth. But the doctor instead addressed an even greater health concern–my stress levels. I have two teenagers on opposite sides of the autism spectrum, a newborn and a full-time job. So stress plays a huge part in my life. And it’s starting to take a toll. The physical was a good wakeup call about the need to reduce this stress.

But, I have two teenagers on the opposite sides of the autism spectrum, a newborn and a full-time job. A lot of my stress isn’t “optional.” I’m not stressed because I’m obsessive about a spotless house. I’m just hoping for something that would be rejected by the producers of  “Hoarders.” And I’m not worried about finding a preschool that will lead to a slot at Princeton for my daughter. I’m still trying to find a decent daycare solution that will fit into our budget.

So I’ve spent the past week reflecting on my family life and trying to find some wiggle room, trying to make some goals that will reduce the stress of our home. As I’ve been thinking of these goals–such as getting the teen boys to do chores–I’ve realized that many of these are things all families struggle with. So I’ve decided to blog some of these struggles, and see if we can come up with solutions together.

So: What are the biggest stressors in your family? Have you made any goals to reduce stress?

Over the next few months, we’ll explore ways to reduce your family stress. I plan to add features on thriftiness, family fun, charity and fitness, because these are all good ways to cut down on anxiety. On my Doing Good blog, I have a feature called Thrifty Thursday which highlights projects using items found at local nonprofit thrift stores. I’m going to add a Thrifty Thursday to this blog, which will feature tips for thrifty living for families.

I hope you’ll join with me in this stress-reducing journey, as we explore such questions as Can I reduce my grocery bill and still eat well? How can I find time for fitness when I can’t find time to sleep? And Does cleaning my toilet count as “me time”?

As always, get in touch with your ideas and questions. I’d love to know what tips you want to learn. You can always call or email: 540/735-1973, aumble@freelancestar.com.

And you can follow us on Twitter: @fxbgfamilies

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