Let’s Be Zen: Ways to reduce stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life. The good part is that there are ways to reduce it. With a little bit of preparation, a tweak to your routine and a change of mindset, you can be zen (or at least as close to zen as possible). Here are some ideas on ways to reduce stress:

-Get up 15 minutes earlier. If you like hitting the snooze button, set your alarm to 30 minutes earlier than you need to get up. That way you have an extra 15 minutes to keep hitting your snooze button. Getting up 15 minutes earlier allows for the inevitable morning mishaps that can occur like wardrobe malfunctions or the things that you are not prepared for like misplacing your keys.

-Have a station right by your door for all your must-haves for leaving the house such as your keys, your phone, your shoes, your lunch and your bag.

-Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, have the breakfast ready to heat up or serve, make lunches and have them ready to put in the lunchboxes, prepare and lay out clothes and put all your must-haves right by the door the night before.

-Plan ahead. Make sure you have enough gas in your gas tank and that you have a well stocked food shelf.

-If it’s an appointment you have to get to on time, allow 15 minutes extra to get to that appointment. This allows for unforseen traffic or anything that you are not prepared for on the way out. Sometimes this extra 15 minutes is just enough to get to your appointment right on time. And if you are 15 minutes early, use that time to decompress or relax before your appointment.

-When leaving with a group of people, like your family, tell them it’s time to go 5-10 minutes before your intended time to leave. That way by the time they gather their belongings and make it to the door, it’s right on time.

-Keep an appointment book or put your appointments in your phone calendar with an alert. Make a to do list with a due date in your appointment book or calendar. Don’t rely solely on your memory.

-Schedule a realistic day. Allow enough time in between appointments and places you need to go for breathing room. Allow 15 minutes extra to get to appointments. If at all possible and if convenient, try not to schedule any back to back appointments.

-Maintain your car, your house or any other important appliance, equipment, gadget or item that you need to keep your life running smoothly as possible.

-Be flexible when things don’t go as planned. Go with the flow. Have a back up plan.

-Say no to extra projects or social activities that you don’t have time or energy for. It’s ok.

-Disconnect- unplug yourself from your phone or computer.

-Take a nap.

-Read a good book.

-Meditate. Meditate before you get up from bed in the morning, when you are feeling stressed and whenever you feel like it.

-Learn to delegate. You can’t do everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

-Get enough sleep.

-Tackle your most unpleasant tasks first so that you can get them out of the way and enjoy the rest of your day.

-Try not to worry. I know this is easier said than done. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

-Try not to multi-task if possible and focus on one thing at a time.

-Stay organized.

-Take a time out. Breath in deeply three times. You will actually feel yourself relaxing.

-Spend time in nature. Some ideas are stargazing, hiking, fishing or bird-watching. It can also be as simple as taking a walk outside or sitting on a park bench.

-Try a yoga pose. There are many yoga poses designed that help alleviate different symptoms. One yoga pose that is great for relaxation is the child’s resting pose. The body faces the floor in a fetal position with the knees and hips bent and with the shins on the floor. The chest rests on the knees and the head is stretched forward towards the ground with the forehead touching the ground if possible. The arms may be stretched forward in front of the head or backwards towards the feet. Do some breathing exercises in this pose.

-Plant a garden.

-Do at least one thing a day that you enjoy.

And most importantly,

-Take it one day at a time.

-Be fully and truly present in the moment.

-Start each day with a grateful heart.

-Love. Add a little bit of love in everything you do.

-Forgive. Don’t hold anger in your heart.

-Be positive. Keep an optimistic mind. Train your mind to see the good in everything.

I am grateful for love, forgiveness and optimism.




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