Monday, November 30, 2009

By Joyce M. Stuart

Stress relief is now high on my schedule, and it's about time too. The only comfort is knowing that I'm not the only woman in the world who has discovered that finding time to relax and unwind is becoming increasingly difficult. But I've been growing aware of the fact that my health must come first sometimes, and so I have spent a little while exploring various stress relief therapies for women.

Perhaps I am not alone, but I must confess that my life has been so frantic that I've never really paused to think about the number of ways in which I could relax. Downing two or three glasses of wine every evening is clearly doing me no good at all, which is why I have been delighted to discover the wide range of stress relief options that are easily available.

For me the first thing I tried was yoga, since I'd been walking past a poster advertising yoga classes for ages. Like many people I thought yoga was just about tying your legs in knots while trying to stand on your head, but it was actually very straightforward to get started, and as well as offering a way to relax mentally there are many physical health benefits to yoga too.

The next method of stress relief on my list was meditation, a word which sounds simple, but I couldn't believe the range of options available. Honestly, I could have spent all my meditation time just choosing what form of meditation to try. In the end I bought a meditation CD which was lovely and relaxing, although I found myself constantly interrupted by annoying itches or sudden thoughts of deadlines and dinners.

Although not personally undertaken to any very serious degree the next item on my list of stress relief alternatives was physical exercise. My idea of physical exercise is racing to the back of the shop to be first to the sale rail, but I have several friends who assure me that regular physical exercise can be one of the best stress relief therapies available. I'll have to take their word on that, the pizza's just arrived.

Then of course there's my personal favourite - the old faithful. Women's toys now come in such a wide range, with every possible taste and fantasy catered for! Having browsed through a few online stores and been alternately confused, shocked and titillated I am now the proud owner of a bunny rabbit that does considerably more than nibble my carrots. Stress relief that fits in your handbag - now that's relaxing!

Although I had relaxing music next on my list, this is really something I have been edging towards like many people, with my portable MP3 player and favourite songs. However, most of the songs on my playlist weren't really very relaxing, and so I created a playlist of specially selected, deeply relaxing music. Convenient enough to take anywhere, it's even great to take to work for those moments when the boss is in a meeting.

Finally, the one method of stress relief I seem to find hardest of all - finding the time for plenty of rest. Just recently I have had almost no time for rest because I've been too busy researching the various stress relief alternatives, but along with eating healthily, getting plenty of sleep and organising 'me' time, there are certainly several alternatives available - it's just finding the time to try them out.

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