Daily Doses to De-Stress

11/07/2012 11:45 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2013
a young woman laying on the bed.
a young woman laying on the bed.

"Whew!" With a seven-minute late arrival, you land your bum on your yoga mat. Tuckered out, you conceal your panting and inner chaos. Post-mad dash to get to yoga class, you pretend to tune into the calm vibe in the room. "Om."

Welcome to the sardonic comedy of our time: Rushing to Relax. Do you have symptoms of "Time Deficit Disorder"? Can you relate?

Time Deficit Disorder (TDD):

You are a multitasking connoisseur. Elevator and vanity mirrors in your car serve as your dressing room. You skip meals. You use lunch break to complete deliverables. You forget to drink water. You gulp down meals. You eat standing up. You live for on-the-go options. The term "New York Minute" was created for you.

Your magic genie wish is for more hours in the day. You groan at your email inbox. You have a codependent relationship with your cell phone; it is your alarm clock, the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you let go of at night. You text with one finger on the treadmill or while getting a manicure. Siri is your closest friend. "Busy" is your middle name. You create early bed times for your kids so you can clean the house, breathe and eat dinner, at midnight. You work three jobs. You dream about sleep. You are scheduled down to the minute; there is no room for the unexpected.

Regular workouts, diets and relaxation routines feel like "big" commitments; overwhelmed, you choose nothing. The irony of it all? Relaxation itself stresses you out.

Choose Your De-Stressor Dose:

Daily attention on stress reduction and that "Ahhh" feeling are the secret to youth, beauty, health, and life enjoyment. To get relief, you need to self-prescribe a "dream" or "time-deficit" de-stress dosage that works for you. Your relaxation dosage will turn from minutes to hours and daily practice become a habit.

1) Baths

Dream Dosage: Water is inherent nourishment, and soaking your body feels great. Take an epsom salt bath for cleansing the body and easing the mind. Use a water filter if possible. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a more soothing effect. Swim or wade in the ocean when possible.

Time Deficit Dosage: Do a foot bath. Fill a small washtub, pot or bathtub with hot water and 1 cup of epsom salts. Soak your feet for 2-5 minutes before bed. A foot soak helps drains the tension from your head, helps you sleep, increases circulation and warms up your body on cold days. You will feel incredible.

2) Veggies

Dream Dosage: Stroll through your local farmer's market regularly and buy seasonal produce. The "nature" immersion brings immediate peace, especially if you are a city dweller. Eating local produce gets you into rhythm with the seasons -- an overall wellness booster. Learn creative recipes to cook for yourself and others. Enjoy long meal times with loved ones, which will nurture all parties involved.

Time Deficit Dosage: Drink a high-quality green powder blend. Stock your freezer with organic vegetables and fruit. Frozen produce retains high nutritional value and is great to have on hand so you don't reach for an unhealthy option in haste. Steam some broccoli in minutes. Sauté spinach or asparagus to easily get in these vital greens.

3) Massage

Dream Dosage: Healthy touch is indispensable and whisks away tension like nothing else. Get professional full-body massages or trade massages with a loved one. Learn to give yourself self-massage. Experiment with different styles of massage and choose what relaxes you the most.

Time Deficit Dosage: Massage your scalp and feet. Scalp: Use your fingers or a scalp massager. The head holds a lot of tension, and when released, is pleasure you will want to repeat. Feet: Use a little lotion and massage them before bed. Both of these techniques will improve sleep as well. Massage for 1-5 minutes.

4) Meditation

Dream Dosage: Dedicate a place in your home to sit silently, breathe, unplug and let go. There are many techniques of meditation; find one that works for you. A daily seated practice, with your electronics off and 100 percent focus on just "being," brings consistent calmness to the mind and body.

Time Deficit Dosage: Focus your mind on your breath for one minute at these key times of day: upon rising, before you eat a meal, and before bed. If you work with clients, you can add one minute between each meeting as well.

Put your smartphone to good use. Take photos as a crafty way to create "focus moments" and change your perception throughout your day. Think about how happy you are when you pause to capture the beauty of a sunset or your child's funny expressions.

5) De-Clutter

Dream Dosage: Create a system in your home and life where everything has its place and expiration date. Once a week, do a reassessment. Donate what you don't need, let draining people go, erase unused apps, clear excess paper and virtual mail. Revamp your diet.

Time Deficit Dosage: At least once a season, do a clutter reassessment, same as above. Practice pressing "delete" sooner and more often to avoid a back log. Go through your mail, clothing and to-do lists to 'recycle' and "trash" immediately. If you delay, you probably won't do it. Streamline your wardrobe. Simplify your choices and your routines to save time. Buy items that can do multiple functions for you. Having less is better is better if you are on the go.

6) Exercise

Dream Dosage: Do a daily one-hour exercise routine of your choice.

Time Deficit Dosage: Insert exercise moments at every opportunity. Take the stairs. Create a five-minute yoga routine. Do calf lifts while on the phone. Do bicep curls with your groceries. Dance while brushing your teeth. Fit it in.

Move toward the Dream Dose: Create a habit of relaxation and free yourself from the modern-day "Time Deficit Disorder." Breathe deeply as you rush to slow down.