As the year comes to an end you need to find ways to
destress despite pressures from almost every corner.
Here are six booze-free ways to unwind.
Exercise forces your mind off the cares of the day. If you
do it properly and have a really vigorous workout, you’ll feel better because
of all the oxygen in your blood. There’ll be endorphins in your system too –
call them nature’s Prozac. You need to exercise for at least 40 minutes before
they kick in, but they’ll keep working for hours afterwards. The other reason
that exercise is good for you is this: most blokes feel guilty when they don’t
and justifiably feel good when they do.
Soak it off
Run yourself a warm – not scalding – bath, and put in a few
drops of lavender, juniper, chamomile, geranium, clary sage or sandalwood. Any
combination of these is fine, but put in no more than six drops. Then have a
Laughter is the best
Laughter is good for your blood pressure, so build up a
library of stuff that tickles you, whether it’s Calvin and Hobbes collections,
Goon Show recordings, Fawlty Towers videos or just your high school yearbook -
once you hit a certain age the hairstyles are always good for a chuckle.
Also read: Enjoy yourself before you get a man
Start a garden
Some people find the very idea of gardening stressful, but a
bonsai tree or miniature garden can be therapeutic. Plus gardening comes with
many health benefits. For example, getting your hands dirty exposes you to
friendly bacteria, which can boost your immune system and even your mood. Our
bodies actually need a balance of bacteria (the good kind) to be healthy.
Studies show that food odours help reduce stress. So knock
up a fragrant curry or some garlicky pasta with pungent parmesan cheese. Just
shopping for fresh greens can be therapeutic. Back to the kitchen: if you’re
really feeling careworn, slam together a meal that’s high in carbohydrates and
has no protein. Think pasta or pasta salad (easy on the oily dressing), rice, a
mixture of pulses and grains, or simply a baked potato. This works because
carbohydrates trigger the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that calms
Don’t talk shop
Having six beers with the guys from the office may be a
tradition, but it’s one that’s worth breaking. Most social events of this sort
involve shoptalk, which won’t help anyone relax. And the habit of drinking a
lot socially has its own problems. A little of what you fancy is definitely
good for you, as long as it’s a little beer, wine, chocolate or biltong, and
not cocaine or tobacco.
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