Last updated: Sep 11, 2008
From Health magazine


Your alarm clock didnt go off, theres a pile of projects waiting for you at work, and your next vacation is months away. When everyday life is enough to frazzle your nerves, adding “Relax, already!” to your to-do list might just make things less bearable. The happy truth? There are simple ways to fight back when stress strikes—no matter how crazy your schedule. Try these tricks.

10 minutes: Say om at the office
Deskside poses can bring instant calm, says Sarah Trelease, senior yoga teacher at OM Yoga in New York City. Try this: Lift shoulders to ears and release while taking deep breaths. With feet on the floor, put right hand on left knee, keeping spine long; turn belly to the left to release the tension in your back. Switch sides and release; repeat—and feel the tension disappear.

30 minutes: Spiff up your space
Unmade beds, messy countertops, and dirty dishes are stressful reminders of unfinished business, says John Moore, a licensed clinical counselor with Second Story Counseling in Chicago. Solution: A quick tidy-up session will give you an energy boost. And if that cluttered office has got you frazzled, file (or toss) a few papers or just make some neat piles.

1 hour: Get a manicure or pedicure
Your hands and feet are loaded with more than 7,000 nerve endings, so having them massaged is a great tension tamer, Moore says. Thats all the excuse you need to sneak away from the office for some spa therapy. Skip the chatter with the nail technician, though, and grab a gossip magazine, listen to some music, or simply close your eyes and tune out, Moore suggests. Anything too involved will distract you from the moment.

A weekend: Unplug completely
Technology is supposed to make life easier, but constant exposure to cell phones, PDAs, computers, and TV can overwhelm your nervous system, says Alan Keck, PsyD, of the Center for Positive Psychology in Orlando, Florida. Restore inner peace by enjoying two tech-free days. Catch up on your reading, go out for walks, or just hang with your pooch. (Studies show that spending time with pets lowers blood pressure and anxiety.)