One would say, the best way to stay stress free is to relax! Well, is it actually so easy to relax when you have deadlines to meet, a family to cater for, expectations to live up to, loans to clear, goals to achieve, children to raise, relationships to fulfill and blah, blah, blah. Where is the time to relax when one is smothered with the burdens of life? Few of us enjoy the luxury of spending quality time with family and friends, pursue our interests and go for that long over-due beach holiday.
Stress often creeps into our lives unnoticed and our mind and body realize it's impact only when it is too late. There are a number of things we can do everyday to fight off the hazards of stress and let relaxation embrace us. You do not need a lot of days or a lot of money to "relax" because relaxation is not a materialistic pleasure but a state of mind and a way of life. I hope you get the hint- staying relaxed is actually something that is entirely in our control.
1. Get adequate sleep and rest: this may not be easy for many of us but one has to squeeze out time for the minimum hours of sleep which our body needs to replenish itself and stay alert. Sleep deprivation can cause chronic fatigue and malaise which eventually effects our efficiency and out-come in the long run. Catching up on lost sleep does not mean taking cat-naps while driving or during boring board meetings! As much as our mind needs rest, our body needs rejuvenation too. Sleep in a cool, darkened room with some incense burning- these will sooth your senses. Think positive thoughts (read daydream) before you actually drift into slumber to ensure pleasant dreams.
2. Do not Skip Meals: eat proper balanced meals at the right intervals and do not skip a meal no matter how busy you are. Relish your food bit by bit and don't just stuff it in and wash it down with a cola. Eating slowly and patiently helps in better food absorption and nourishes your body so that it is better equipped to handle stress.
3. Use your break-time effectively: use your free-time to connect with your near and dear ones. Call up a friend or if possible, meet up for a quick cup of coffee. Socializing and human touch often help alleviating stress as you get to talk about and share your problems. Mail a relative or try social networking websites to find people who share your lifestyle or interests.
4. Work on your inner-self: develop a positive outlook and do not treat an incident or a goal as the be-all and end-all of life. As long as you don't stretch to the other extreme, being a little care-free can actually be good for you. Reserve your energy and concern for important issues in your life and avoid fretting about petty things like what people think of you etc.
5. Exercise: this may sound cliche but is not a cliche for no reason. As much as food and sleep, our body needs a steady supply of blood flow which sets all other organs in motion. Plan your schedule so that you get a few hours of physical movement every week. It may be anything from yoga to swimming. If taking time out seems difficult, consider cycling to work.
6. Pamper yourself: reserve one day a week exclusively for yourself. Spend the day as you like. Watch a movie, eat out, take a spa treatment, go shopping, read your favorite book and just push all your worries aside for a day. Under no circumstances should you carry your work home. Save that time for yourself and your family.
There are no separate ways to lead a stress-free life. The process is infact an amalgam of healthy living, positive thinking and time management. If these three aspects are worked upon as a whole, you can successfully kick the monster called "stress" out of your lives.