You know the feeling: Your phone keeps buzzing, every email in your inbox is marked “URGENT,” and you have to have a meeting on the way to a meeting because your calendar has less space than you did on the train ride to work. I don’t know how it happened, but at some point, we’ve accepted stress as a normal part of life. Over time, these everyday pressures can have adverse effects on how we relate to others, our productivity, and our health. Here are some of my quick fixes for stressful moments:
My BFF sent me this URL via Gchat and I have been sharing it widely ever since. Click if you dare to be calm, and enjoy relaxing scenes from nature and meditative sounds. You can choose to play the scenes on loop or select 2-, 5-, or up to 20-minute guided sessions. Put on your headphones and give yourself a moment of peace.
Take a Walk
Unless you work in a hospital, you can take a 15-minute break to take a walk away from your stressful environment and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to leave your cell phone and your iPad behind.
Make Yourself a Calendar Item
Tres Leches, Cuba Libre (Photo: iPhone5)
Had to eat lunch at your desk? Again? Make a date with yourself after work to indulge in something sweet. Happy hour can be fun, but the noise of it all can just add more stress to your day. Every once in a while, put some “me time” on your calendar and enjoy your own company. You’ll have something yummy to look forward to throughout the day.
Twitter saved my life. Ok, that’s a gross exaggeration, but it has come in pretty handy recently. A couple of weeks ago, I was suffering from sever sinus pressure. I’ve always had pretty bad allergies and have dealt with asthma for some time, but after a sleepless night and incredible pain that lasted through the next day, I was at my wits’ end. I took my frustration to Twitter, and my workout buddy, Kara, saw my tweets and suggested that I try acupuncture and recommended I see her specialist. I was a bit skeptical at first (sorry Kara), but I tried it and have gone back several times because it seems to be working. It doesn’t hurt and some insurance companies cover the treatments.
Not only am I excited about possibly finding a solution for my sinuses, but I look forward to the 30-minute vacation I get once or twice a week in the doctor’s office. The combination of aromatherapy and soothing music puts me right to sleep every time. It has turned out to be my go-to stress reliever. This is indeed my summer for trying new things.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. But, I do know from experience that stress has adverse reactions on my health, so I’ve been taking active steps to combat the anxiety and fatigue that come along with having way too much to do.
Put yourself at the top of your to-do list. If that means something else remains unfinished, don’t feel guilty. If you’re not 100%, you can’t give 100% to much of anything.
Over the past two weekends, I’ve traveled to my hometown, the Bronx, NY, to visit my family and spend time with my sister for two milestones in her life. Two weekends ago, I went up to help her get ready for her prom and last Saturday, I saw her graduate from high school! I could not be a prouder big sister. All that time with the family and a change of scenery definitely served as a breath of fresh air.
- Get the Look! Maronel lightly swept MAC’s “Filament” from her brow line to the crease of her eye lid, then used “Deep Truth” (also by MAC) on her lids. To keep the focus on her eyes and maintain a soft, youthful look, she wore nude lip gloss and a light touch of blush on her cheeks.
To save money, I usually do my own mani/pedis, but every now and then, a nail salon visit makes the world of difference. It’s relaxing, and it feels good to have someone else take care of you. While I was in NY, I took advantage of the salon prices (DC can’t compete with an $8 mani) and got a fab manicure. I’m into pastel nail colors this season, so I opted for Essie’s Turquoise and Caicos from their resort collection.
Ok, I admit, I originally chose it because I adored the cute name. I have vacation on the brain, what can I say? But, I fell in love with the blissful nail color once the technician was finished.
On vacation in the Bahamas
The phone won’t stop ringing. Your Blackberry won’t stop buzzing with e-mails. Your planner looks like it’s been tagged by graffiti artists. It’s time for a break.
Late hours and 12-hour workdays on an 8-hour-a-day salary rate have become the norm in the workplace. It’s easy to become bogged down in the everyday routine. Though you may think stress is only accompanied by the occasional headache, it can lead to some serious health issues if not confronted.
Here are some steps I’ve taken to manage stress. I hope that all you overachievers and Type A personalities take note.
- Plan a vacation. Every year, I try to take at least three days away from work, turn off my Blackberry, and totally disconnect from the office. Hard economic times may prevent you from taking the trip of your dreams, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking an amazing staycation — complete with museum visits, at-home Margarita nights, and tons of sleep. I visited the U.S. Botanic Garden with a friend during my last staycation. It’s so quiet in there and the bonus is that it’s climate-controlled, so for just a little while, you can feel like you’re in tropics.
DC Staycation: U.S. Botanic Gardens. Take the Metro to the tropics.
- Take a trip to the spa. If you absolutely don’t have time to go on a vacation, a massage is a quick way to get rejuvenated. For a spa splurge, take a full day to yourself. For a quick fix, take your hour-lunch break and get a relaxing back rub. Tip: Book an appointment for Spring Spa Week (April 12-18) ASAP for discounted rates.
- Go to the gym. Working out lets you take your aggression out while improving your health and wellness. About three times a week, my girlfriends and I take jazzercise. I know what you’re thinking. But, there’s no Jane Fonda-like moves or pink spandex leotards involved. It’s really an aerobic dance class that involves pilates and weight training. Right now, my favorite routines are Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams, Mary J. Blige’s Stronger, and Britney’s Womanizer.