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There are always times in one’s life that you feel defeated, or down or just disappointed with the level of satisfaction that you have on your life. Even the most successful people, have times when they feel down. Ever wonder why some people seem to have everything but are still unhappy? Sometimes it is really a matter of perception. A challenge can been seen as exciting and motivating, or overwhelming and exhausting. It is strange how the way we think and view our situations can vary so dramatically from depression to happiness.
So from time to time you need to stop and go through your personal checklist to ensure you are doing everything possible to beat stress and recharge your life.
Successful people acknowledge when they are down – they take stock and do something about it.
I am no health or fitness expert, and certainly not a psychologist, but with more than 20 years’ business experience, and ideas from many gurus, these are my tips for ensuring you can turn that down into a high.
You need to exercise at least 3 times a week. As we get older this is more important due to the obvious health benefits. But besides that, exercise is great for stress relief.
I am not someone who loves to exert myself, but there is no doubt that the effort is worthwhile.
Maybe you want to run for half an hour, or swim or cycle – just as long as you get your heart rate up and build up a sweat. You should also do abs and other strength exercises to activate those muscles that don’t regularly work. I find a good session of Pilates detoxes my muscles.
I also ways feel better after an exercise session.
I like to run with some music on my iPod. I find with some background music my mind clears and I have incredible clarity on things. I actually find I come up with great ideas and solutions during these runs. One of my favorite gurus suggests breathing techniques and incantations during exercise.
You can do just enough exercise to achieve a low level of fitness or you can push yourself a little further to slowly but surely have an impact on your body. I strongly believe that if you look good, you feel good and you perform with confidence.
2. Sleep well
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I think there is nothing worse than being tired. It is impossible to be motivated and produce at a high level if you are tired.
I need my eight hours a day. More and less than this makes me tired.
Many stressed people battle to sleep. There are all kinds of techniques and therapies available to help improve sleep. I find that a good night’s sleep is closely linked with many of the other items on this list and may be a consequence of them.
3. Eat well
Again eating healthily is important for your general health and wellbeing.
I think that if you are in a healthy eating routine you have more energy and stamina. I guess it has to do with avoiding sugar highs, etc.
Everyone will tell you how you need to drink 6 glasses of water a day. Well I have never been a fan of lots of water. I do think there is some merit in being well hydrated, and not with coffee either! Try to get a few glasses of water in and then top it up with Rooibos tea, which comes pretty close to water anyway. Coffee is important to me but I limit it to the morning and restrict the number of cups.
Of course the liquid many of us love is alcohol, and although it has a relaxing effect, too much can cause the opposite outcome. I think you just need to be aware of your body and what works for you.
Believe me, I love a good meal with a great glass of wine, but I think it is important to make sure these are treats for only a few days of the week.
4. Find a hobby or interest
In the early stages of your career you have no time for anything but work. Then you also have a family that demands any time you may have left over. There is often a battle for your attention between the two, and leaving nothing left for anything else. As you get older and the kids are bigger and have their own life, you start realizing that you need more in life than work – you also need to be doing something that you enjoy. Even if you are passionate about work, it is not healthy to be all consumed by it.
For some this is easy to find, mostly the golfers! But for others it is difficult. I am still looking for my hobby; I have tried a few, but still looking.
5. Plan “down time”
Life is so hectic. Weekends are seldom quiet and relaxing. We are so used to busy lives that we even fill our off time with activities and events. I believe you should plan a whole day (or at least a half day ) to do nothing but rest at home with no disturbances. I cannot sit still so it is really hard for me, but once you get into it, it becomes easier. Spend the time reading, watching TV, having a nap, etc. Just be sure that it is something that gets you to switch off the brain and rest the body.
6.Take your vitamins
In today’s hectic life, even if you are eating relatively well I believe you need to supplement with vitamins. Unfortunately they are not a quick fix to feeling better but I definitely find that once you have a good vitamin (or collection thereof) that works for you, and you take them regularly, you feel less tired and require less sleep. My mood actually also improves as I am not exhausted all the time.
These are my quick fix tips for dealing with stress. We are all human and stray from these from time to time, so it is always good to remind ourselves of things that can improve our lives and get motivated to make then part of our daily routines again.
I have some other ideas that take the concept of actively working toward life satisfaction to another level, but will share that in other articles.
Compiled by: Liza Wood, CA(SA) Senior Audit Partner at LUCRO
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)