Make stress relief a New Year's resolution
By Abigail Cukier
I often receive books to review. Some interest me, some I grit my teeth and write about, others I pass onto someone who might do a better job.
When the book, Frazzled Hurried Woman! crossed my desk, I thought ‘well, now that one’s for me!’
I took it home and put it on my coffee table and it sat there. For weeks.
What frazzled hurried woman has time to read?
But when I finally got around to the book, which is subtitled Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving Not Merely Surviving, it was worth it.
Author Rosalie Moscoe offers tips on topics like time management, relaxation, nutrition and relationships. Each chapter focuses on one area and has easy-to-follow solutions to try on for size.
Because the book is written simply and conversationally, it’s not as hard as I thought to fit it in.
A good way to go through the book is to read one chapter, try a strategy or two and then move on to the next.
For example in Time Flies… How to Catch It, Moscoe talks about our propensity to fill every minute with something. She points out that many of us get a thrill from going fast. But that this leads to exhaustion and burnout.
“The Frazzled Woman is an expert at rushing… Her mind is jumping from one idea to the next. Her heart pounds. She has a nagging feeling she forgot something.”
Rosalie suggests, if you are walking too fast, typing too fast (as I am now), talking too fast, eating too fast – stop and take a few breaths.
Seems amazingly easy, but when you are set in continuous, frenzied motion it’s not so easy.
Rosalie says she is qualified to write this book because she was living it before leaving the music business in the early 90s due to stress. She says she still veers to the hurried lane as a motivational speaker but has learned to slow down.
“I don’t have the laundry list of what I need to do in my head all of the time,” she said. “I don’t schedule as tightly. I don’t push myself. If I need to rest, I rest.”
We’ve heard many of the tips in the book before – make time for exercise, stock your freezer by cooking all your meals on one day – but many are more unique and all of them are packaged in assignments that may encourage you to actually try something you’ve heard a million times.
I am sure Rosalie wouldn’t want me to give it all away (she wants you to buy the book after all) but here are a few tips from the over-commitment chapter.
• Outline your priorities and see if you can drop one
If it is not that important to your life or at the bottom of your list, consider dropping it.
• Let people help
Make a game of tidying and get the kids to help. Ask your mother-in-law to take them to swimming lessons. Hire a student volunteer at work.
• Deconstruct your most stressful commitment
If you are a caregiver for a loved one, recruit family members to pitch in or call agencies for respite care. If work is a major burden, see if you can negotiate flex-time or even consider if a change of employment is necessary.
• Say ‘no’ at least once this week
If you can’t say no, for example to your boss, you may be able to ask which projects are a priority and if one can be held over until next week.
• Mindfulness as stress relief
Take a few moments throughout the day to turn off your mind and be in the moment. Play with your kids without thinking about cleaning up. Walk the dog and notice the sound of the birds or your feet on the pavement.
Can I honestly say I have taken each of these to heart? Not yet. But I plan to review the book and try again.
In the meantime, I’m going to put my feet up on this full laundry basket and watch TV. I’m taking one of her other gems to heart – don’t put off taking a break until your chores are done.
They are never done.
– Originally published at The Amazing Adventures of Wonder(ing) Woman (www.theamazingadventures.com)