De-stressing On Your Own Time

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~ William s. Burroughs

80 percent of Americans state that the economy is a significant cause of stress while another 62 percent say that work has a substantial impact on their stress levels. But considering the economy isn’t on much of an upswing, and we aren’t leaving our jobs any time soon, it’s vital that we learn how to distress right here and now. Think it’s an uphill battle? It’s not. De-stressing is easier than you think and you can make it fit your schedule on your terms.

For me, morning is key. I set my alarm 10 minutes earlier than I need to and use that extra time to walk outside. Yep, that’s it. I walk outside and breathe in the fresh air for ten minutes. Whether you take your time getting the paper or add some time to your dog walk, it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you leave the house and concentrate on your breathing.

When I get to the office I work under soft, indirect light, which helps to relax my temperament. I also take 5 minutes out of my day to make an herbal tea. Tea has less caffeine than coffee and is known for calming your mood. It also helps with everything from bone disease to cancer and while it may sound crazy, just the act of making yourself a drink can be calming in itself. When my workday is over, I shut off my cell phone, turn on music in the car and vary my routes home. The change of pace helps eliminate the monotony of an otherwise inevitable routine and the music takes me to a alluring mental space.

When I get home, I dedicate my time to my family, not my computer or cell phone. One hour before going to bed, I dedicate my time to… me. Pick your guilty pleasure, but for me, I sit in my favorite chair and read a book. It directs my attention to the words on the page instead of the stresses of my workday and by the time I’m ready to hit the sack, I’m completely relaxed and calm. Tomorrow, I’ll do it again and next week, I’ll change it up with some new ways to de-stress.

That’s what works for me, but by no means should this be what works for you. Find out where you have a few moments in your day (or a few moments that you can pull yourself away from youtube) and give yourself your own de-stressing routine. It’ll be a change of pace, but when you see your stress level drop severely, you’ll welcome it with open arms.

Statistical source: American Psychological Association,

Written by: Aaron Lyles

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