The children are getting on your nerves, nothing’s going right at work, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way until your holiday. You’re feeling stressed, like nearly half of Canadians (45 percent) who told Ipsos Reid in a 2006 survey that their stress levels are out of control.
What you and others are looking for is inner balance: calm enjoyment of the simple things of life like nature, gardens, pets, sunsets, and a sense of humour. I’ve found a few ways to help you find simplicity and do a bit of personal downshifting. These 10 tips can help you find a few quiet moments to help restore inner balance now.
1. Take a bath
Lie in a bath that’s as hot as you can comfortably bear. Add a few drops of essential oil and half a cup of ginger tea. Drift, just lie there, smile.
2. Switch off occasionally
Turn off your mobile phone. Don’t answer the door. Allow yourself the luxury of not always being available. If it’s urgent, they’ll call back. Instead, use this time positively to do what you enjoy. Go out and drink coffee with friends, have a massage, or learn the tango. Give yourself permission to have fun.
3. List the positives
In good times our heads are full of ideas; in bad times too much pessimism reigns. So when you’re feeling good, make a list of your achievements and your goals, along with things that sound like fun and you’d like to try. Then, when you’re feeling rotten, pull out the list and start making plans.
4. Maintain a network of friends
Talking about your problems with friends helps to defuse your problems, especially when your friends have a positive attitude. Organize a get-together once a month. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A brunch or afternoon tea is perfect.
5. Remove yourlayers of worry
At night, as you undress for bed, lay aside one of your worries with each piece of clothing you remove. It sounds simple, but it works.
6. Make love
Endorphins, the antistress hormone, are released after orgasm and help us to relax. During stressful periods, more than ever, nurture your relationship and arrange time together (dining with soft lights and sweet music, the movies, weekends away). Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And you can do it, too.
Look for the funny side of worrisome situations. Laughter increases effective functioning of the lungs and hence helps the brain work at its best.
8. Know when to say no
Knowing when to say no allows you to avoid useless stress. Dare to refuse invitations to functions where you know you’ll be bored. I know this is easier said than done. We cling to what we’re familiar with because it’s comfortable, but sometimes we have to let go and grow.
9. Do desk yoga
If you feel drowsy at your computer, don’t grab another cup of coffee. Instead, try some stress-busting desk yoga:
- If you feel tension in the back of your neck, breathe deeply and do some gentle stretches. Raise your shoulders up to your ears and hold. Then drop them right down and release your breath.
- Massage your temples in tiny circles, gently at first, then more firmly.
- Slowly roll your shoulders three times forward, then three times back. Shake your arms and legs.
- If you feel embarrassed, do your desk yoga in the bathroom or close the door and take a yoga break. It revitalizes your body and stimulates the blood flow to your brain for better concentration.
10. Don’t move the goalposts
Learn the meaning of the word “enough.” Invest in the truly important things in life, not just your bank balance.
These stress-busting techniques take time to perfect. The best results often come a day or two after you hoped they would. Persevere, nevertheless. Learning to type, drive a car, or swim all take time, and so does learning how to get the best out of life. Above all, be true to yourself. You are the best judge of what’s right for you.