Health

Ten quick fixes for stress

We’ll get you on the path to Zen with these relaxing techniques

You’re stressed, I’m stressed and we really don’t have time or money to spend a day wrapped in seaweed at the spa. But dealing with stress is important — we look better, feel better and work better when we manage it. So here are 10 ways to chill out in a pinch.

1. Have a cuppa
Curling up on a couch with a cup of tea and a cookie feels luxurious, but studies have shown that black tea also helps reduce stress. Try flavoured versions such as cassis or cherry vanilla, which are lovely with a teaspoon of honey.

2. Sweat
You don’t have to run a marathon (or even go to the gym) to get your heart pumping and blood flowing (both important biological factors in reducing stress). A jump rope is inexpensive and three minutes of jumping will do the trick.

3. De-clutter
Managing stress is often about creating order in your life. Dig into a small project like cleaning up your desk and you’ll be left with a tidy space and a sense of accomplishment.

4. Eat!
Foods that are high in fibre, vitamin B, C and E are said to play a role in reducing stress. Put fish, almonds, fresh fruit, yogurt, veggies (carrots, tomatoes and leafy greens in particular) and skimmed milk on the shopping list.

5. Go outside
Whether at work or at home, put on your runners and head outside (without an iPod). While breathing deeply and steadily, take a 10 minute walk around your neighbourhood and concentrate only on the scenery that surrounds you.

6. Have a glass
No, we aren’t encouraging you to forget about your problems by drinking but as we all know, a glass of red is shown to have health benefits, and I defy anyone to argue that it’s not calming.

7. Revert to childhood
In yoga, child’s pose (click here for instructions) is the position returned to when you need to take a break and relax. In life, it works just as effectively and you don’t have to be a yoga type to do it, just concentrate on your breath.

8. Read!
Magazines are a small but totally satisfying indulgence and there’s one for everyone. Head to your neighbourhood book store’s magazine racks and buy three that stand out, go home and draw a bath.

9. Get ready for bed
It might sound odd, but our night-time rituals are soothing habits for a lot of us. Clean and floss your teeth, wash your face and brush your hair. The routine alone will calm you down and reinvigorate.

10. Have an orgasm
– Admittedly, it can be hard to climax when you’re stressed, but the release is worth the effort. (Science has proved it!) More importantly, you can do it alone. Unlike a cup of tea, though, don’t try at work.