Daily stress is something we all know too well. Allowing stress to have too much authority over our life is a slippery slope. We are capable of taking control of our days to win the battle against stress. It just requires a little elbow grease.

As parents, we have many lives to manage aside from our own. One of the biggest reasons we become stressed by our daily life is lack of planning and preparing. Once you find a system of organization that keeps your days moving smoothly (or as smooth as possible) you will see a decrease in your stress. The more you are prepared, the less you have to worry in the moment. You will not need scramble or problem solve at the 11th hour if you have planned the key elements of your day.

Here are a few ways to start de-stressing your daily routine.

1. Keep a Detailed Calendar

Having everyone's appointments, activities and commitments on one calendar is a great way to keep schedules organized. Your calendar is a road map of your week, check it each night before you go to bed so you know what to expect in the morning. Then, check it again in the morning! Parents have a lot to keep track of, so studying the calendar over and over helps to drill it into our forgetful brains. When a new commitment pops up, put it on the calendar immediately. Waiting too long may cause you to forget.

2. Work Ahead

There are many things that can be done the night before to prepare for the morning ahead. Making lunches, setting out clothes and shoes, packing back packs, signing papers — any item you can check off your list before bedtime can help the next morning run much smoother. Trust me, I know that evenings are for relaxing and unwinding, which is why pushing these tasks to the morning seems like a good idea come 7:00 PM. You can get more done in 15 minutes than you think. I am a big fan of using a timer to see how quickly I can get things done. Give it a try. Take 15 minutes in the evening to prep for the morning and see how it lightens your load the next day.

3. Plan Dinner

I admit, I am not a good meal planner. I do not make a schedule for the week and shop accordingly. But I do find that if I have no game plan come dinner time, I start to stress and scramble at the last second. What I do is simple: decide on one component of dinner and prep it in the morning. I look in the freezer and pull some chicken to thaw or grab a bag of pasta and set it on the counter. That way I know at least one element of dinner is in motion. I have the rest of the day to decide how I will prepare the meal but making a quick decision on dinner each morning gets the ball rolling for that evening.

4. One Load a Day

I'm talking laundry here. There have been so many times one of my sons is searching for a certain shirt, I have lost count! Washing and putting away one load of laundry a day sounds like an ambitious task, but it is a game changer when it comes to the overall flow of your week. It is time to think big picture. The ongoing clean laundry reduces pile-ups and days spent catching up on those piles. Once you get into this habit you will see that it is more of a relief than a burden.

5. Give Yourself Some Love

None of us are perfect. When you have a bad day — or week — show yourself some grace. Breathe… take a big exhale and let it go. There is no reason to begrudge yourself when things do not go exactly as you planned. Wake up and try again tomorrow. You're doing the best that you can.

Staying organized and prepared gives your sense of control over your days. Do yourself a favor and lighten your load… you deserve it!