This is part five of a five part series exploring simple, easy to implement stress management techniques we can do every day. These are powerful techniques that are easy to learn and they do not take a lot of time or effort. If you do not have time to listen to a guided relaxation CD, or participate in an exercise program or meditate for 30 minutes each day, then these techniques will give you a quick way to begin to combat the effects of stress. No excuses, everyone has time for this stuff so let’s get to work!
Something we seldom do is to take time for ourselves. I’m not talking about taking time to catch up on the millions of chores and incidentals that seem to never end, in addition to all our daily demands. The pace of our lives is quite literally out of control. We do more with less constantly. We sacrifice our sleep to cram everything possible into every waking moment and these days it is rare to find someone who actually does stop to smell the roses. This pace leads to a life that is out of balance, a life that centers itself on chaos, a life heading down the path to depression and total burnout. Believe it or not, it’s OK to stop life and get off for a while!
Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by the pace of my life, which at times boarders on the insane, I just tune out. Admittedly I should do this more often than I do, because I also struggle with allowing myself to find this peace. But this is part of self-care and gratitude and it should be part of our daily life. So, the trick is making the time to do some “Me” fun. I accomplish this by taking my day planner and literally scheduling in the time. I make an appointment with myself for fun and then do whatever I feel like doing, without guilt. I have found that by budgeting the time it makes me feel better about the whole process.
Another positive choice I make when I’m feeling beat up by life is to take a break from information overload. I simply stop reading the paper, listening to the news and watching television. I just deal with my immediate world and the rest of it can all go to hell for a while. Now, I’m not advocating disassociation from the world because that would be an unreasonable thing to do. We do need to keep abreast of current issues in our society so we can be informed citizens, but I am telling you that taking a couple of days off form the constant bombardment of negative stimulus feels really great. And, believe it or not, the world will continue without you! The benefit to this is that when you deal with your immediate world, the larger picture does not seem as significant as before. This will help you to keep your perspective and stay on track. The world will seem more positive and your life will have greater balance and peace.
If you take a look at all the stress management strategies we have discussed in each part of this article you can see that the effort needed to complete any one of these is minimal and best of all none of them require tremendous commitments of time. Literally just a few minutes each day of applying any or all of these concepts can lead to tremendous strides in managing your daily stress. Frankly, you can not possibly come up with any excuses to justify not trying some of these simple techniques. I hope you choose to do everything I have suggested, and would encourage you to explore deeper levels of stress management techniques as you begin to see the positive results emerge in your life.
Rodger Ruge is a retired police officer, stress management trainer and author of The Warrior's Mantra, Barricade Books. Rodger is available for stress management training and seminars. You can reach Rodger through his website at http://www.readyforce.net .