The damnedest thing just happened to me: there I was, minding my own business on the mountain side, when this burning bush just set light. I know, right? Also, I found these two stone tablets with ten directives on how life should be lead. But don’t let these commandments cause you any undue stress: it’s time to relax!
1. You are just as important as everyone else, and you deserve a relaxing, healthy lifestyle, putting no other before yourself.
Finding the time to relax and purge the stress from your life isn’t about being selfish, but you will never truly find success in these things unless you accept yourself fully, and learn to factor in your needs when it comes to making difficult decisions. You deserve time to yourself, less stress and a better quality of life too!
2. Thou shalt carve out for thyself a routine, a list of things to be completed each day. (This list shall be most efficiently rendered on paper, rather than etched upon stone tablets).
Prioritise what you have to achieve at least once a week and tick things off as you go. Recognise what has the potential to become a source of stress in the future and tackle it sooner rather than later. Remember to allocate time for yoga classes, a long soak or your comfort breaks too!
3. Thou shalt be (a little) vain.
Relaxation through a proper pampering is nothing to be ashamed of. If looking great makes you feel great, then indulge: putting on a facial scrub, painting your nails or spending some time on your hair can be relaxing activities in themselves. Of course, getting someone else to do it all for you if someone has got you a Health spa gift voucher would be nicer…
4. Remember that whilst the Sabbath day is holy, it’s also the day before Monday and the other six days on which you shall labour.
The length of a weekend is almost all in the mind. If you destroy sleep in the week, the weekend doesn’t get started until sometime in the late Saturday afternoon. And if the week ahead intimidates you, you’ll start thing about it sometime before Sunday dinner. Banish this negative feeling with a Sunday night bath filled with your favourite bubbles.
5. Honour your father and your mother, your family and friends by both respecting their right to relax, and by spending more time with them.
On the first hand, the worst possible thing you can do is shift your worst troubles and responsibilities onto someone else. Equally, time spent with family and friends is an effective way of managing stress: remember that we’re social creatures, and loneliness frequently leads to unhappiness. Even hugging a close friend once a week can do wonders for your outlook.
6. Thou shalt not take up a knife and do bloody murder upon a large chocolate cake, or find comfort in the arms of a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
Excess of any kind is frequently terrible for relaxation. You know to avoid caffeine (in not just coffee but teas and soft drinks too) and you should also avoid the sugary treats if you want to avoid bouncing off the walls (and coming down after it all isn’t much fun either). Eating healthily isn’t just about extending how long you shuffle around in your twilight years: all those vitamin sources are there to ensure that your long life is a happy, balanced one.
7. Thou shalt commit thyself to proper sleeping times and stop staying up for the conclusions of bad action movies.
Eight hours is optimum, and you’ll undermine it by going to sleep and waking up at different times each day, so don’t do that. You know how bad action movies end, and the only reason you want to watch to the end is because you know you won’t ever be stupid enough to sit through the beginning again.
8. Thou shalt steal time.
Ok, perhaps ‘stealing’ is a little too negative (I’m labouring this commandment theme, ok?), and obviously you shouldn’t ‘steal’ time in the evenings… but will anyone miss that couple of minutes you take to go and get everyone a cup of tea? Or to go and speak to a colleague rather the sending them another email? In stressful situations, it’s better in the long term to remove yourself for a short break, rather than carrying on and letting yourself potentially make mistakes. And if you can do it in a way that ultimately benefits everyone else or the task at hand, nobody is going to mind.
9. Thou shalt have a good laugh (just not at thy neighbour’s expense).
Whoever invented laughter probably won a noble prize, considering that it’s apparently a better medicine than penicillin. Seek out other people and activities that get you laughing, and try to see the funny side of any situation, and you’ll get the endorphins you need.
10. Thou shalt not sit on thy lazy ass.
Relaxation may sound like a lot of sitting back and watching the clouds roll by, but you still have to be proactive in making these things happen. It’s also completely the case that procrastination will catch up with you sooner or later: if you don’t achieve anything, you’ll be unhappy, and you’ll just be storing up your stress for a time when you’re even less well equipped to deal with it. And being active in a more literal sense (perhaps going for a regular walk or even a session at the gym) will keep you healthy and happy.