10 real ways to de-stress

The first and most important thing to do to reduce stress is find ways to feel more in control of your circumstances.

by Jo Ann Joy — 

Everyone tells us to relax, but they never give us practical advice about how to do it. It does not help when someone says, “You have to learn to relax.” That comment just puts more pressure on us and turns relaxing into one more chore.

Despite people telling us to “stop and smell the flowers,” we are still over-stressed. We deal with stress in unhealthy ways like overeating or skimping on our sleep. There are better ways to de-stress, however, and they are easier than you may think. The first and most important thing to do to reduce stress is find ways to feel more in control of your circumstances.

The following are ways you can gain more control and, therefore, feel less stressed:

1. At the end of each day, prepare for the next day. Make a to-do list of all the things you must accomplish the next day and clean your work area in preparation.

2. Prepare healthy snacks at least twice a week and always keep them with you. Do not “feed” your stress with cookies or ice cream, because they will not help.

3. Make good use of your spare time. If you find you have five or 10 extra minutes, put more staples in your stapler, shred paper or some other simple activity.

4. Listen to relaxing, calming music in your car, at work, at home and anywhere else you can. Music can be very soothing to the soul.

5. Take good care of yourself. This means getting plenty of restful sleep, seeing the dentist regularly, working out a minimum of 30 minutes at least four days a week, drinking plenty of water and taking naps if needed.

6. Make shopping and errand lists. If you keep a list of the groceries you need and the errands you have to run, you will save yourself the stress of forgetting something. This prevents unnecessary trips and wasting time because you did not plan ahead.

7. Keep a simple budget so you will always know where you are financially, and money shortages will not sneak up on you.

8. Do not spend all evening or weekend on the cell phone, or reading and writing job-related e-mails. If you need to do extra work, schedule one hour each evening and a few hours each weekend to do work-related activities. Realize that your “downtime” is just as important as your work.

9. Be sure you have one or two good, understanding, supportive friends in whom you can confide.

10. When things do not work out well, try to imagine the worst thing that can happen. If you do that, you will realize that there are solutions to even the most serious problem.


Jo Ann Joy has a law degree, an MBA and a degree in economics, and is a strategic business attorney who offers comprehensive legal and business counseling. She is the owner of Indigo Business Solutions, a legal and business consulting firm., or 602-663-7007.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 6, December 2007/January 2008.

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