1. Act Now
Can’t you start your stress
management tomorrow . . . later . . . when you have time? No, because
you won’t ever have time. Tomorrow will become today, later will become
yesterday, and you’ll still be just as busy as you are today. If you
don’t start to de-stress now, it may never happen. Maybe you can’t join a
gym today. But can you take a walk? Maybe you can’t overhaul your
junk-food diet today, but can you order the chicken Caesar salad instead
of the double bacon cheeseburger? Maybe you aren’t up for meditation
tonight, but can you go to bed a little bit earlier?
“If you don’t start to de-stress now, it may never happen.”
2. Weave Stress Management into Your Life
You can weave stress management into
your life one thread at a time. To start establishing your new habits
today, try doing just four little things every day. You can work them
into your schedule in any way that works for you. You may already be
doing some or all of them.
• Do something good for your body.
• Do something to calm your mind.
• Do something to feed your spirit.
• Do something to simplify your environment.
Any of the techniques listed in
this book can be used to fit into these categories. You can even knock
off two categories in one blow: Meditate for mental and spiritual
maintenance. Then, add a brisk walk for physical maintenance and get rid
of one stack of clutter you don’t use or need.
3. Be Open to Change
Becoming more open to change is an
attitude shift. Start spotting changes and then finding one good thing
about every change you experience. Someone parked in your spot? You can
get an extra few minutes of exercise by walking from a spot further
away. It’s good for your body! Your favorite television show is
pre-empted? Another opportunity! Spend the evening reading a book or
taking a walk or practicing a new stress management technique.
Major changes are even
easier. Any change, no matter how disturbing to you, can have its
positive side, even if you can’t find it right away. But finding the
positive side isn’t even the most important thing. The most important
thing is a willingness to accept that, yes, things change and, yes, that
you can go with the flow.
4. De-Clutter Your Life
Clutter creates stress. Just looking
at clutter suggests clutter to the mind. While de-cluttering your entire
garage, basement, or bedroom closet may be a monumental task to
accomplish all at once, any big de-cluttering job can be accomplished in
small steps. Every day, spend five or ten minutes—no more, unless you
schedule ahead to spend a larger block of time—de-cluttering something.
Maybe it will be that dump-it table by the front door, or the pile of
laundry on top of the dryer, or one corner of your desk. Whatever it is,
clear something out once each day and feel your mind let out a sigh of
5. Go to the Spa
Who says you have to go to a pricey
spa at a resort? Sure, such a vacation is nice if you can manage it, but
you can give yourself a mini spa every week in the privacy of your own
bathroom. Give yourself a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, and a hair
conditioning treatment. Soak in the bathtub with a splash of lavender
oil, then moisturize from head to toe. While you relax in your weekly
spa, play tranquil music, and soak by candlelight, think about things
you love, beautiful places, calming images. You’ll feel pampered, your
skin will look great, and you’ll be both relaxed and energized.
6. Make Time for Family
Nothing renews you like time
with the people you love, even if that time can also be stressful.
People with strong family ties have a much larger base on which to rely
in times of stress. Start building that base with regular family
gatherings. The family that spends time together grows stronger
together. Let family time be an important component of your stress
7. Make Time for Peace and Quiet
Family is good, but time
spent alone with yourself is equally important for physical, mental, and
spiritual renewal. Let yourself reflect on you—who you are, what you
want, where you are headed. Spend at least ten minutes each day in quiet
reflection, with nobody else in the room. This healthy habit is an
incredibly powerful stress management tool.