How to Relieve Stress

How to Relieve Stress: A Stay-At-Home Dad’s Perspective

This blog may be about vegan fashion and other vegan topics, but I’m taking a different approach with this article. When you think about it, many people go vegan because they believe it’s the healthiest choice for their lifestyle. But there’s more to health than just eating right! Stress can cause as many problems as a poor diet, if not more.

This is the story of someone I know who faced a large amount of stress, and who discovered how to relieve stress in his life. Let’s call him Steve.

Steve was not happy with the way things were going. He worked at his dream job at one of Ontario’s largest School Boards, but the long, stressful hours left hardly any time for his wife and two kids. A normal day meant leaving the house at 6:45am and returning between 6:00-6:30pm.

Dinner took around 45 minutes to make and eat, which left about 15 minutes of quality time with his two daughters ages 1 and 5. After that there was no choice but to fall into bed and start the cycle again.

Steve and his wife Suzan used to live in the suburbs. Both of them worked full time and commuted into Toronto for work. After having their first child they decided it would be more sensible to move into the city to save on the commuting time. This meant downsizing to a smaller house.

Steve was very unhappy with the new house at first. He missed the extra square footage and large backyard they enjoyed in the suburbs.

Dealing with the duties that come along with buying a 100-year old house in downtown Toronto while working long hours at a stressful job was starting to build tension. He was constantly thinking about how to relieve stress.

Steve started having trouble sleeping. He noticed that the short amount of time he had with his kids was rushed and not remotely close to what you would call “quality time”. It was more along the lines of ordering them and rushing them to “do this”, “do that”, “eat this”, “go to bed”.

“What is this rat race all about?” asked Steven. “You pay money and time to get to work. You spend 8-9 hours a day with your co-workers and one hour a day with your loved ones. You spend half of your salary on day-care so that strangers can care for your kids”. Something was not feeling right.

A Big Change

Three years of this cycle got him and his wife wondering whether or not the benefits of his job were even worth it. Steve felt unhappy at work and too drained to enjoy his family on weekday evenings. He needed to figure out how to relieve stress in his life somehow!

And so, Steve and Suzan made a decision. Steve would quit his job and stay home with their two kids.

Steve feels that the decision they made is the best decision they have ever made. The enrichment that has come into their family’s life is priceless. Every day of the week is a unique fun day for the kids.

Mondays are “mango-Mondays”, where the highlight of the day is mango juice with dinner (simple as it may sound, to a 5 and 1 year old, this is crazy talk when water is the beverage of choice at house).

Fridays are “fantastic-Fridays” where the kids are allowed to pick anything they want for breakfast (within reason of course, and as routine has it, Nutella sandwiches is always their choice…).  The added bonus during breakfast is that the little people get to watch TV (Netflix) while they eat it. Friday evenings are “home-made pizza & movie night”. The kids love it!

Steve recalls that on Friday nights, he used to order in take out which would cost between 40 and 50 dollars. Now, with the family “Fantastic Friday’s” theme day, the ingredients for homemade pizza night comes in under $5.00. Another advantage is that they know what ingredients are going into the food they eat. Overall, the entire is happier and healthier.

With only one income, Steve and Suzan had to think of ways to cut back on expenses. Here is a list of their cutbacks.

  • Get rid of cable TV
  • Eat less meat and more vegetarian dishes (!!!)
  • Unplug things when they are not being used (this saved 20% on the electricity bill)
  • Eating out only once per month
  • Stop listening to the radio (this decreased his desire for consumer products)
  • Walk more, and drive less
  • Shop at No Frills
  • When things go on sale (i.e. non-perishable goods) stock up! 

The plan is for Steve to stay at home for 3-years. At the end of three years, their youngest child will be 4. So far it’s been almost 1.5 years. Life makes sense again.

Before, when Steve was working, he could buy whatever he wanted. These days if there is something he wants, he simply waits until his birthday or Christmas before he gets it.

Perhaps he does not have the latest technological gadgets in the same week that they are released, but the trade off is that he gets to spend quality time with his kids.

If you’re struggling with stress in your life, take some time to look at what’s causing it. Then take a look at what that stress is giving you. If the drawbacks are outweighing the benefits, see if you can find some creative ways to work around it.

You might be surprised at what you come up with!

Thanks for reading! Yours in health, consciousness, and cool fashion, this is Renia Pruchnicki of Truth Belts! Live Your Truth, and Respect Others’!

Yours in health, consciousness, and cool fashion, this is Renia Pruchnicki of Truth! Live Your Truth, and Respect Others’!