Monday, September 24, 2007

5 Quick Ways to Destress

Ever have one of those days, or maybe weeks or months, where you just feel overwhelmed? You know the don't get enough sleep. Little things annoy you more then usual. You crave foods that aren't so good for you, can't even imagine exercising, don't socialize with you friends because you just don't have the time or energy. With the arrival of fall, sometimes we find ourselves juggling new demands - work, home, family, etc., with barely a moment to ourselves. Here are 5 quick ways that I have found help me to destress relatively quickly - I'm talking about a half hour to an hour each day.
1. Make time for exercise. Even if I'm tired or feeling overwhelmed, it always helps me when I set aside even just half hour a day, whether it means going for a walk, attending yoga class (these are usually an hour), going for a swim, if you have access to a pool, or bike riding if that's your sport. If you don't have time to head outside or to a class, there are many online videos you can watch in the comfort of your own home. You can subscribe to Yoga Today, which offers free online yoga classes at all levels, with scenic backgrounds. Whatever you do, don't forget to breathe!
2. Take the time to cook a delicious healthy meal. Sometimes, I feel harried while making dinner and end up throwing together microwave concoctions that aren't the most appealing. But lately, I find that having a more "zen" approach in the kitchen and using cooking as a way to relax, takes almost the same amount of time and allows me to be creative, with a delicious final product! Sauteing, baking, or even coming up with a new sauce or salad dressing recipe, really takes my mind off the daily routine. Spice up a dinner salad by adding fruit, like grapes or strawberries, or even treating yourself to a delicious and healthy breakfast smoothie.
3. Catching up with reading, whether it's the latest bestseller or that stack of magazines you've been hording by your bed and never getting to. I find that reading really allows me to escape to another world, even if it's just a magazine. My favorite magazines are: Self, Dwell, The New Yorker, and The Yoga Journal. Note: try to cut back on your subscriptions as you'll only feel overwhelmed if you don't have time to read them all.
4. Take a hot bath. We've all heard it before - but it's true, water is very healing. There are a lot of great aromatherapy bath products out there, not to mention organic soaps and soy based candles. Close the door, put on some music, you get the idea. And if you want to treat yourself to a rubber ducky, I won't tell anyone.
5. Speaking of music...there is nothing more soothing than putting on some of your favorite music, whether it be classical, the Beatles, Enya, or whoever you like. I like to keep my favorite tunes handy on my desktop so I can click on a song while working on a project or taking a break. Last year, we saw "Spamalot," and there's a great song on the soundtrack called, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." That song always puts a smile on my face. Also, I discovered Loreena McKenitt a few years ago through a friend, and really love her music. She has a great album called "The Mask and the Mirror" which integrates Celtic music, and the instrumentals are phenomenal.

Do you have some great ideas for quick destressing? Let me know!

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