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Simple Strategies for Relaxing

Updated on March 22, 2010

A few simple strategies can help you manage pressure in your life.

Relax and unwind

Daily life can be full of unforeseen stresses. Make sure you always perform at your best.

Top tips

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Don't feel guilty about taking time out.
  • Get some exercise.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.

Eat an energy-boosting breakfast
Eating an energy-boosting breakfast will help start your day off on the right foot. Having slept for a number of hours without food, your body is going to need refueling. Otherwise you'll end up feeling light headed, hungry and irritable before you even get to work. Eating oatmeal or cereal with fruit and nuts will provide you with lots of essential nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as a constant supply of energy throughout the morning.

Plan your weekend
You work hard all week, so make the most of your weekends. Spend a little of your lunch break each day planning the things you would like to do, and make a commitment to do them. Perhaps you simply want to relax, visit a theater, or go on a trip. Whatever it is, never feel guilty about making time for yourself, and don't keep putting things off until next weekend.

Step back
Feeling under pressure does not mean that you are unable to cope. It simply means that you are human. Stepping back from a problem until you are in the right mood could be the best strategy. If one piece of work has you puzzled, start something else for 15 minutes before returning to the difficult part. The solution will probably come to you in a short time, and the positive feeling of "crossing off" tasks is very satisfying1.

Go for a walk
If you can't get out at lunch, take a walk after work instead. Research shows that exercise is one of the best ways to tackle stress, release tension, and relieve anger or depression, as well as increase vigor2. Relax, listen to your music, walk at a comfortable pace and breathe deeply.

Get some rest
Sleep deprivation has measurable negative effects on physical and mental performance. Loss of sleep can cause confusion3 and frustration, so getting seven to eight hours can keep you happy and healthy. Make sure you have enough rest each night, get up with plenty of time to spare, and have that energy-boosting breakfast to start the next day.

The power of color
As early as 570 BC, Pythagoras believed in the healing properties of color, and the ancient Egyptians encouraged enlightenment by shining beams of light through amethyst and rubies. Although this might sound like nonsense, studies have shown that certain colors (especially blues and greens) seem to reduce stress and anxiety levels in some people4.


  1. National Mental Health Association (USA). Stress - Coping with everyday problems. 2001;
  2. Mersy DJ. Health benefits of exercise. Postgraduate Medicine. 1991; 90(1): 103-7, 110-2
  3. Harrison Y and Horne JA. The impact of sleep loss on decision making - a review. Journal of Experimental Psychology - Applied. 2000; 6: 236-249
  4. Jacobs KW and Suess JF. Effects of four psychological primary colors on anxiety state. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1975; 41(1): 207-10


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