Reducing Stress in the New Year

The world’s present state of affairs can be a bit unsettling.  Corporation failures, job layoffs, price increases, home foreclosure, wars – it can all get a little disturbing.  In addition, most of us are juggling chores, errands, family duties, and a job or two.  With time crunches and worry, life can be hectic.  That’s when stress levels soar and we feel fatigue set in big time.  Getting out of bed in the morning can be the biggest chore of all.  But there are a few ways that are actually pretty simple to battle stress.

Budget your time. Make a schedule of appointments with yourself for each thing on your to-do list.  Most importantly, schedule time off into each day and week.

Keep a regular bedtime. The body heals itself while it sleeps.  Since the body operates best on a regular cycle, a regular bedtime and plenty of sleep is so very important in battling stress and fatigue.  To ensure a good night’s sleep, take a few minutes to wind down before bedtime with a soothing bath or a good book.

Choose a healthy diet. The body functions best on nutritious foods.  Make a weekly menu with a corresponding grocery list that includes more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.  Keep sugars, fats and empty calories to a minimum.

Exercise is a great stress buster.  Make sure you leave a few minutes each day in your time budget to enjoy a power walk in nature.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Dehydration can bring on fatigue too.

Take a day of rest. This may be the single most important way to battle stress and fatigue.  Even vacations and activities you enjoy can raise adrenaline levels.  Schedule one day each week in your time budget for rest and calm, and stick to it religiously. Learn to set aside your worries for that one day and put on some relaxing music, watch the birdfeeder, give your pet a massage, read a book, or sit outside and marvel at the sunset or the stars.

Remember that extreme or prolonged fatigue may indicate a medical problem. If you don’t feel rested after a day off and a good night’s sleep, consult your doctor.