•Garden. There is a great satisfaction in preparing the earth, smelling the rich earthy aroma and planting a seed.
Watching something grow from seemingly nothing, and becoming a large and beautiful plant, perhaps giving of its bounty for your enjoyment. Gardening clears our minds and helps us stay “grounded.”
•Guilt. Get rid of it. If you are doing something that makes you feel guilty – stop. The spiderweb of guilt will bind you tighter and tighter. There is no way to truly relax until you can be guilt free.
•Hobbies. Find a hobby that you really enjoy. Paint, get involved in photography, put together a jigsaw puzzle, knit, dance, or whatever you love to do.
It has been fun learning the birds in our area and discovering that bird watching is another one of the best ways to relax. The distraction works marvelously to relieve stress.
•Massage. The use of massage, along with herbs, began before recorded history. It soothes the body and mind, having not only physical benefits but psychological benefits as well.
Have a massage by a professional masseuse. If you don’t have time or money, have your spouse or a friend give you a massage, and in the very least – give yourself one.
•Prioritize. Make a list, putting the most important things first. Do the things you realistically can, knowing that if there are some left you can do them the next day.
•Quiet time. Find a quiet place where you can sit and meditate. Studies have shown that regular meditation can reduce your cortisol levels (high levels indicate a lot of stress), it can also lower your blood pressure and reduce chronic pain!
•Read Something. Will Durant said, “A book is a friend that will do what no friend does – be silent when we wish to think.” Reading can whisk us away into another place, another world. It can help us relax by leaving our cares behind us for a while.
Service. Service is more than something we do at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Serving others actually improves our mental, as well as physical selves, by taking us out of ourself. It helps us give. Giving instead of taking brings us an unexpected amount of joy.
•Sleep or take a nap. When we sleep it gives our bodies time to turn their energy inward.
The energy that we use to perform our everyday tasks, such as eating and digesting, talking, walking or exercising, can then be used for repairing damaged tissues and cells, recharging our immune system and giving our overworked minds a chance to relax and reboot.
•Write. Write a thank you note to someone or send a note to a friend. Start a journal and record your journey. I have heard that if you write about your stressful issues or traumatic experiences it can help improve your immune system.
In my own experience, however, I have found that if I look for something good that happened that day, or try to write something uplifting, even if it is after I have put down my stressful issues, it helps me relax more and walk away with a more optimistic attitude.
•Yoga. Yoga works by teaching you to stay alert to your body and to coordinate your movements and your breathing. While doing so it creates strong antidepressant effects and among many things, it eliminates stress.