(Photo: Angella Dykstra)

My life is as busy as it gets. I have one husband, three kids, two dogs, and three cats. I used to have about one hundred chickens, but we decided that we had enough wildlife in our lives as it was. My husband works full-time, and is working on his Master's, which is also full-time. I'll wake up in the morning and ask him what time he came to bed and he usually answers, "You don't want to know." We decided to go down this path together, but it means that more of our household chores are my responsibility.

It also means that I'm dealing with our three pre-teen kids, whether it be driving them to and from school, to and from basketball/swimming/rugby/youth group...you get the idea. On top of this, I also work, and while being self-employed gives me flexibility, it also means I often feel like I'm on a hamster wheel. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me keep my sanity. Here are 5 of my favorites:

  1. Coffee. Or tea. Starting the day with a warm cup of coffee is essential to my mental well-being. I like to get up before everyone else, pour a cup of coffee, and sip it in the quiet before the chaos erupts. At night, after my kids are in bed and everything is in place for the next day, a cup of herbal tea (with honey) is part of my wind-down routine.
  1. Run. I run for the health benefits, and also because it's a major stress release. I literally burn stress right off. And on the days I run with a friend, I get some much-needed girl time as we chat and catch up. I also like to attend a boot camp at my local gym where my instructor makes me work until sweat is pouring off of me. I walk out of the gym feeling strong and like I can take on anything.
  1. Capture a happy moment with my camera. Using my phone to capture daily moments that make me smile, and sharing some of them on Instagram and Facebook to make everyone else smile is a recipe for happy. If you have a "big camera" like I do, taking photos and getting lost in editing them can give you a huge creative recharge, too.
  1. Do something fun as a family. In the winter, we ski together. In the summer we hike and bike together. Being outdoors and being active while creating memories is a huge stress release for me, and for many of my friends. Some of the photos of my family where we're looking the happiest is when we're doing activities together. We also like to watch movies, yes, but it's getting out there and doing something that brings out the big smiles.
  1. Take time for myself. The to do list will never (ever) end. Ever. I've learned to give myself permission to sit and crochet, or read a book, or watch a silly movie, or anything that doesn't involve "getting stuff done" without feeling any guilt about it. I don't do it as often as I should, but I'm getting better at it. Make sure you take time for yourself, so that your well is full enough to give to others.

Angella Dykstra is the wife of one, the mom of three, and a multi-tasking ninja. She's been writing her stories on her site (http://www.dutchblitz.net/) for almost ten years. You can also find her on Twitter @AngellaD.