Here are five tried and tested ways to beat stress, calm your nerves and just relax.
Taj Spa at Taj Exotica, Goa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1) Make an appointment at your favorite spa for a relaxing head massage and wash, followed by a manicure and pedicure. There’s nothing as relaxing as just sitting back and giving yourself over to the magical fingers of your therapist as she massages the knots out of your shoulders. Bliss! Follow it up with a manicure and pedicure – apart from making you look like a million bucks, it will leave you feeling totally lucid. I promise.
2) Don’t have time for a leisurely spa treatment? Never mind. This next strategy takes just 5 minutes. Put on some soothing music (optional) and deep breathe. In and out. Watch your breath. Focus on it. If you start thinking of something else, gently bring your mind back to your breath. It will leave you feeling re-energized and filled with energy.
Central Park Bridges (view from Bridlepath looking southwest), Gothic Arch, Spanning bridlepath south of tennis courts at nort, New York City, New York County, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3) If action’s more to your liking, plug in your iPod and go for a walk – preferably in nature. There’s something calming about all that greenery.
4) If you find yourself unable to step out of the house try listening to some instrumental music. Classic overtures are excellent at taking us out of the humdrum of our daily lives and transporting us to a different state of being.
5) If all else fails, turn to the telly, more specifically, comedy. What’s your favorite funny movie of all time? Pop it into the DVD player and watch it. Mine is The Birdcage, by th way. No matter what my mood when i start watching that movie, 20 minutes in I’m laughing so hard my tummy hurts!
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite stress busting strategies?
But things have been so busy lately, that I am unable to make much use of the little time that I do have. So I’ve been using those snatched moments to read. It seems to be the only thing I am capable of doing these days…
What a month this has been! Work has been absolutely crazy, leaving me with no time for myself or the blog.
I reach back home tired and drained, with little will to do anything but flop down on the couch with a cold bottle of water and a book.
Sadly for me, though, the book I’m reading is doing little to hold my interest. It seemed interesting enough – a story on Chandragupta’s cunning about 2,500 years ago and a cunning political king-maker in the present day. But the treatment is shoddy, the characters aren’t well developed and the plot is little snippets of political games in the past and future.
But I find it really hard to leave a book mid-way, and so I’m plodding along with Chandragupta’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi, just waiting for the infernal thing to end.
One good, actually great thing, that I achieved this month was finally understanding the exposure triangle in photography. The combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO finally worked! I’ll share some pictures when I can bear to open my laptop again.
As 2010 comes to an end, I look back and reflect on the year that’s gone by. There’s been so much joy, a few sorrows…so much hard work…a lot of partying…and so many things that I have learnt.
The top 10 things I’ve learnt….
To laugh out loud– Life’s too short to be constantly worried. Take every opportunity to catch life by the horns and L-I-V-E!
To stay calm– Shit happens, but how we deal with it is what matters most.
To prioritize– Family and friends and health come first. Work’s important, but it isn’t the be all and end all of life.
To constantly adapt – The only constant in life is change. We can’t stay in our comfort zone forever. To live fully (see point 1), we have to break out of our comfort zone…sure it’s hard at first, but like Nike says, Just do it!
To make time for me – My day for myself is Saturday – I have the weekends off, but the husband has only Sundays off. Instead of moaning and groaning about it, I use that one day to have fun…go out with girlfriends or even alone (see the next point), clean up the house (if I feel like it), do some bloggy work…
To be comfortable in my own skin – Next time you’re out in the market or mall, really notice people around you — they are almost always with their families or friends. Even the movies would have you believe that one is a lonely number. But you know what, it isn’t! It takes great confidence and oodles of self love to be out there in the crowd alone, doing your own thing, even *gasp!* eating at a restaurant alone. This may be an Indian thing, but it’s one of the most important lessons I learnt this year.
To try and try again – If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have started working out again. I’ve lost count of the number of crash diets I’ve gone on, of how many times I joined the gym and gave up. But this year, I was determined I would do it, and stick to it. And I’ve succeeded. The weight hasn’t come off as fast as I had hoped, and there are days when I stumble, but I get up and get back on!
To draw the line, work-wise – Sure work’s important – it’s what helps us put food on the table and clothes on our back. But if work overtakes the rest of your life what purpose is it serving? If you have no time for family, for friends, to enjoy your hard earned money, is it really worth it? There’s only that much stress I can take over work, beyond a point, I refuse to compromise on my personal time.
To speak out – The husband’s not a mind reader. Unless I tell him what’s bothering me, he ain’t gonna know. So instead of stewing or going silent, I realized it’s best to let it rip from time to time. Keeps him on his best behavior too 😉
To take a break– I used to take time off from work only if I was sick or traveling. But there are days when you just want to laze around, and I realized that if I just took the day off, I went to work the next day feeling like a million bucks!
Life is always teaching us lessons, either by experience or by sharing. I’ve shared what I’ve learnt this year, won’t you share your lessons with me in the comments section?
If you were in charge and could make any one rule, what would it be? There are a lot of rules I’d like to make, but the one rule that would be most important to me is…
Reduce the workweek to 4 days If I could make the rules, this one would be on the top of my list. Slash down the workweek from 5 days to 4. We could increase the workday by an hour each day to offset the loss of a working day. But a 4-day work week would give us ample time to take care of the rest of our lives too, and would be a perfect way for employees to strike a work-life balance.
There are too many things that we are forced to put off due to work commitments, and not all of those can be addressed on the 2 days we have off. Imagine the possibilities that having 3 days to yourself would open up! I know there’s so much more I could achieve if I had 3 days to myself —- from the daily nitty-gritties that get piled up for the weekend; to giving more time and attention to my hobbies (photography and art journals); managing to get important official work get done, which a lot of times gets pushed and pushed unless there’s a fire…
So, if you could make your own rule, what would it be?
I recently had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Dr. Kiran Bedi, India’s first and highest ranking female Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. Her speech, aimed at career women, was one of the most inspirational that I have ever heard.
While we were waiting for Dr. Bedi to arrive, there was a current of excitement among the audience. And once she entered, her presence was almost tangible; she has this aura of energy and awe surrounding her, and the anticipation mounted.
Her hold over an audience was undeniable, as once she started talking there was not a murmur to be heard among the crowd. Since the lecture was aimed at women, she started by asking us what we really wanted to hear her speak about. She initially shared various strategies that she personally used to achieve all of her professional goals, and then opened the floor up to questions. It was an extremely inspirational and very interactive session, and though it’s hard to recreate that energy in words, I’ve attempted to capture the essence of her talk.
The most important thing she mentioned was to create a mission statement for your life. This, she said, would help you to know what you want, what is important for you. If you’re a person who is focused on your career, for instance, you will need to design the rest of your life in such a way that you are able to focus on your work without being pulled in multiple directions or feeling guilty about not concentrating enough on your home and family. On the other hand, if your family is more important for you, then you know that you don’t really need to compare yourself with the other go-getters at work. Then you know that you need to find a job and a position where you can balance your work with your home, and you don’t set unattainable goals that then de-motivate you. So, creating a mission statement will help you to know what you want — and be true to that.
When she was asked about her career and how she moved up the ladder among the male dominated IPS cadre, she said the answer was “focus.” Focus on what you want and on doing what you have to do — the rest, like promotion, will come. When you are true to what you’re doing, and are focusing on getting what needs to get done, done, recognition is bound to follow.
Another important thing when in the corporate arena is to strengthen your home — that has to be your sanctuary. Then no matter what is happening on the outside, at home, where it matters, you can come back and be rejuvenated. Make friends with your mother-in-law; she can be your best support system, Dr. Bedi advised. If she believes in you and helps you, then you can go to work knowing that your home is well taken care of. But at the same time, she warned women against putting all of their finances into a joint account.”Keep a personal account. You never know what tomorrow will bring, and it’s important to be protected,” she advised.
Her greatest strength has been her own inner strength. “Strengthen yourself from the inside,” she advises. “Be of inner steel, strong and pure steel — be secure in what you are. The security has to come from within. If you are strong inside nothing can shake you. You can deal with anything. Tomorrow if people around you are not there, can you move on on your own? That is inner strength.”
It’s also important for you to be your own friend, she counsels. Just the way you ask a friend for advice, ask yourself for advice. Would you be comfortable choosing a certain path? Ask yourself that. Be in touch with who you are and be true to that, that’s one of the important life lessons she shared with us.
Dr. Bedi is also a firm believer in the power of the mind. “The mind is wonderful — it can enslave you and you can enslave it — depends on your thoughts, which can change,” she says. “Thoughts are powerful. When you’re thinking of something, you’ll get the right kind of books/music that will speak to you, that will help you move in the direction of your thoughts.” That’s why she advises people not to focus on their problems. Focus instead on finding solutions — you’ll get answers in a few hours…suddenly, unexpectedly. Work on your mind; change its pattern from negative to positive. The best way of dispelling negative thoughts is to read inspiring books, listen to inspiring music, meditate…It helps.
Filled with anecdotes from her own life, as well as the problems and solutions she gave to people through her television show Aap Ki Adalat, her lecture was uplifting and thought provoking. It left us with a sense of empowerment and a road map of suggestions that we could follow to be more in tune with ourselves and to be successful in every sphere of our lives.
We’re going to Dharamsala next week…can hardly wait! Our bookings are done at the Norling Guest House at Norlibungka Institue a little way away from McLeod Ganj. The place looks absolutely beautiful! Can’t wait to get there. I’m already thinking of looking up the cheaper options in McLeod Ganj, ’cause I have a feeling that I’d like to spend more time there…maybe at the monastery, or just hanging out…
Speaking of hanging out, Pushkar was a great place to hang out…roam around the market…chill out and just relax. Our visit there last year was one of the most relaxing trips we’d taken in recent times.
With the stress and humdrum of our everyday lives, it’s really important that we find something to do to unwind and relax — it could be listening to music, reading, working out, doing something creative, whatever works, really. Without a stress-buster, things can get really overwhelming.
Today’s Reminders from God on my iGoogle page was:
“All walls fall before you. Your faith and My Power are the only two essentials.”
It’s such a reassuring statement to read first thing in the morning, especially when you’re going through as much mental turmoil as I am. There are so many decisions that I need to make without losing too much time.
I had made up my mind to take a certain path if things at the work front didn’t go according to plan at the end of this year’s performance cycle. Now that the time has come to act, I find myself wondering if I should still stick to that decision, or take a slightly different approach instead. A part of me is worried about the recession, while another part of me just wants to go ahead and act. Caught in this dilemma, with no clear plan in place just yet, I find myself unable to act. Unable to sit down and list out pros and cons of different actions and paths and to take a decision.
But this statement, so simple and powerful, jolted me out of this limbo that I find myself in. The time has come to act, and with my faith and His power, things will work out just fine.
I find it hard to sleep without reading these days. It’s probably got something to do with the amount of time I spend staring at my computer. My eyes rebel against the brightness and glare of the screen, demand some rest on good, old-fashioned paper.
I was re-reading May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. It’s funny how some parts of that book that did not seem relevant to my life the last time I read it have suddenly become relevant now. That’s the beauty of a well-written, meaningful book.
One passage that caught my eye and lingered in my head is from one of her first few journal entries:
I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting and tormented self.
That is an eloquent expression of how things stand with me these days. I’m frazzled, irritated, agitated, and desperately need some space.
I can’t remember where I read this poem — though it is all over the Internet! — but it really spoke to me in many ways and on many levels.
The last few lines of this poem, especially, are filled with meaning and imagery.
there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do — determined to save the only life you could save.
There is so much right now that needs saving in my life, that I cannot even begin to list it all!
I’m still stuck with the many voices pulling me in different directions…many things that are “on fire”…crazy work schedules and deadlines, combined with unreal expectations and unwilling colleagues…and no time to let my voice be heard — by me!
For now, though, I leave you with the poem in its entirety. Read on…
The Journey by Mary Oliver One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles.
“Mend my life!” each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do — determined to save the only life you could save.