Time spent shaking off stress is one of the best investments for your present and future happiness and overall wellbeing. You need to explore a balance of quick, short-term, and long-term practices for optimal results. Introduce quick experiences that last minutes or hours, like listening to music, taking a walk, calling a friend, napping, practicing Tai Chi, or meditating. Incorporate activities that take a day or night, like disconnecting from the virtual world for 12 to 24 hours, spending time with someone you care about, or getting a full night’s sleep. Include longer activities that last at least a week, like vacations. Explore what works for you, and create a viable routine.

Investing in time for recovery can counteract the negative effects of fatigue and excessive stress, increase creativity and productivity, and help you maintain your wellbeing.

Here are 20 suggestions to help you start:

• Disconnect from your cell phone and the virtual world.
• Listen to relaxing or uplifting music.
• Get more sleep. Actually go to bed early or sleep in late.
• Go for a walk, whether by yourself, with a friend, in a group, or with your dog.
• Get close to nature.
• Take a bath with bubbles, aromatherapy oils, or relaxing salts.
• Hug, kiss, cuddle, snuggle.
• Get together with people whose company you enjoy.
• Call someone whose voice you want to hear.
• Indulge yourself in a fun hobby.
• Cook or bake.
• Read a book for pleasure.
• Listen to an audiobook.
• Join a moonlight walk.
• Practice deep breathing.
• Meditate.
• Tai Chi.
• Attend a yoga class or do an at-home session.
• Go jogging.
• Watch a funny movie.
• Do a puzzle, crossword puzzle, or word search.
• Sit in a park.
• Create a relaxing environment -- candle light, soft music, and aromatherapy candles.
• Massage
• Back massage
• Foot massage
• Pedicure
• Snack on Citrus
• Take a break from reality.
• Say no to avoid overwhelming yourself.
• Take up a new hobby.
• Knit, needlepoint, or cross-stitch.
• Have a cup of chamomile tea.

Not all of the suggestions will be right for every person. What relaxes me, may cause you stress. Try what you think you’ll enjoy, and skip the ones you know you won’t.

Lisa-Michelle Kucharz

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