It’s been a typical week as you inch through traffic. You worked overtime twice and you’re totally wiped out. You and the kids had fast food three times because you didn’t have time to shop or cook. Your house looks like a hurricane hit and book club meets there tomorrow night. And you still didn’t buy a present that your youngest will need for a birthday party the next day. As you pull the SUV into the driveway, you just want to scream. As good as that feels, for a few moments, I have some additional ideas.
Chill out and meditate. It’s portable. A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach. Or take a breathing break. Take just 5-minutes to focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
Chill out from the social network. If you know everything in the world that is trending and who tweeted what to whom, the lack of human bonds could be a source of stress.
One of the toughest parts about the e-devices and interconnection of the world is that we have less and less personal contact with family, colleagues and friends. If you have family and friends make a point of physically spending time together and ask for a hug when you meet. If you’re single, take dance classes or volunteer with children or the elderly who always love face-to-face contact.
Chill out over your schedule. Look at the things you have to do and then ask yourself: Is this task necessary? What if it doesn’t get done? Will the repercussions be earth-rattling bad? If the answer will not negatively affect your life or that of your loved ones, see if it can be put off. Can you only buy wrinkle-free clothes to stop the cost of professional dry cleaning? Can the kids fix dinner on Friday nights, if they’re old enough? Any chance you can car pool to work so you can listen to music, knit or read during the commute?
Chill out and shred that huge “must” do list. Learn to do them in manageable pieces. Clean the bathroom sink on Monday, tackle the tub and toilet on Friday. Break your most hateful chores into chunks. Trade, hire, barter or yes, blackmail (just kidding) others to help you out. Teenagers, I found out at a time when there were about a zillion around the Cluff home, are always looking for ways to make extra cash. No the tasks might not be done just as you would do them, but they will be done. Pay your kids to do the wash, walk the dog, take the car for an oil change, dash to the grocery store or run errands. Share the responsibilities. You can hire a professional service, too. And with this extra time, take time for you. Enroll in a stretching or swim class, rekindle an active hobby, go for a long walk, and other favorite ways to chill.
Chill out and pamper yourself. If you cannot let go of any responsibilities, build pampering into your schedule. A massage, pedicure, new hair style, facial or a few hours browsing at the mall are the right prescriptions when you need to unwind. Visit a resort for a spa day or trade childcare and stay at the resort for a long weekend or a week in the tub? That could be just what you need when the world feels like it is closing in fast.
Chill out with exercise. It seems counterproductive to work up a sweat to relax that IS what exercise can do. Exercise helps the body use up the stress related hormones that can make anyone feel headachy and jittery. Brisk walking, swimming, cycling and dancing are great ways to have a full body work out. Wear appropriate shoes. Dress comfortably in loose-fitting and attractive clothing. Refresh yourself with a cool drink.
Need some reasons to relax? Those who use relaxation methods and have a handle on stress have:
Fewer physical symptoms, such as headaches and back pain
Fewer emotional responses, such as anger and frustration
Greater ability to handle problems
More efficiency in daily activities
Take these tricks to heart and you’ll feel better almost at once. Chill out and stay fit for life.