Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stress: Yikes! Eek! Argh!

Taking a walk towards my favorite tree 
in Glover Park, D.C., offers a moment away from stress

We’ve all heard stress-breaking advice: Deep breath. Take a walk. Write out a to do list. Ask for help. Exercise more. Let your body rest. Eat less carbs. Set a timer while you work. Stand up and stretch every hour.

Even the advice starts to pile up in lists that you can't find time to complete.

The semester is in full-swing and there seems to be more work than usual. After all, taking a holistic approach to life, i.e. The Year of Health, takes time, too. Working primarily from home means that there's no natural rhythm to breaks (lunch, water cooler chats, post-meeting chats, commuting time, etc.)

So, what helps to cure the super-stress-freak-out? There’s the punchy list above. And of course there’s what’s best for you and maybe not anyone else.

Yesterday wasn’t the best day. When my pile of super-important papers somehow slipped off my desk and into the garbage can below to mix with, well, garbage, I knew I was in trouble. I took a step back and spent some time with my calendar trying to prioritize and figure out a reasonable plan.

And then I made dinner. I sliced tomatoes and ginger for a tangy chutney. I mixed together some vegetables and prepared a spicy curry. Standing up, away from my computer screen, and doing something with my hands calmed me down. Cooking is almost always relaxing to me. (Did you know I blog about Italian cooking over at Fare La Scarpetta?)

The fact that my de-stress activity resulted in dinner was an added plus. After eating – and scalp-sweating through a ridiculously spicy meal – I was ready to sit down again and return to work.

Humans need breaks. Take them. 

What kinds of breaks do you take?

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