Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cut the stress and anxiety out of chores

A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that men and women who feel they're responsible for most household chores experience higher blood pressure and overall anxiety.

Now you know why you're having trouble sleeping at night. You go to work, rush all day trying to complete your tasks there, and then do the same when you get home. It is an impossible pace unless you're the Energizer Bunny.

What can a person do?

I think a week's stay at the Hotel Caesar Augustus on the Isle of Capri would do the trick. But if you're doing our own chores, chances are you cannot afford the time away from home or the money for a prescription like that.

What you can do is come up with some new ways of tackling the chores. Below are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Plan meals in advance
Instead of scrambling to come up with dinners after work, which often leads us to fast food drive-through windows, create a daily menu for the week. Then make one trip to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients. If things change during the week - rain canceling a football practice or finding out you need to work a little later - you can always swap the dinners around. It is for this reason that your list of meals should include some that are quick and easy, and others that require a little more time. Here's your excuse for trying some of those Rachael Ray quickie recipes. Also, shopping once instead of daily will save you money. 

Divide and conquer
Instead of trying to get everything done at once, tackle mounting housework one day and one task at a time. In my family, Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to doing most of the major tasks involved with house cleaning. Ideally, this should leave the weekdays for laundry and cooking. Yet, by Tuesday the house needs cleaning again. A better use of my time and weekends would be to split up these chores during the week. For example, vacuum on Tuesdays, dust on Wednesdays and clean the bathrooms on Thursdays.
Simplify your errands
If you loathe the weekly trip to the store for items that you need but don't necessarily care to shop for, consider ordering some of the products online through websites such as dollargeneral.com. This way it is delivered to your house. If you Google what you need, you'll probably find more than a few stores that specialize in certain items, and at least one that has it all. This is an especially good idea when you know there's a birthday or holiday coming up. Doing it this way enables you to have big, bulky items and other necessities shipped directly to your door.

Give store brands a chance
I won't touch Spartan peas or any peas, for that matter, but I love Spartan chocolate milk. Meijer has some cereal products that are not only approved by nutritionists, but kids as well. "Now private-label products have national equivalent money-back guarantees. Even replacing a few frequently purchased items with their private-label counterparts will result in big savings," according to a report by News USA. 
Make household management a family affair
If your children are old enough, you might also enlist their help. That's what allowances are all about: rewards for good grades and helping mom and dad out during the week. Even the younger ones should be learning simple tasks such as making their bed and putting away their toys. Let older children help prepare dinner and even vacuum. This is not only important to your health, but to their ability to maintain a dorm room, apartment or home in the future.

Send your comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

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