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Reduce Stress : Make Time for Stress Management (part 1)

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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 relief.

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 management plan.

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.

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