We are in the biggest holiday season of the year. For most of us this is a time of reflection to see how our year has been, what we can do better and how we can make next year even better. A lot of us also go on vacations which is great but sometimes we need a vacation after the vacation. So, my aim with this article is to give simple suggestions to stay relaxed and enjoy the holidays. At the same time, I also share strategies which can reduce our stress levels and enjoy life more.
Stress is one of the leading causes of depression and considering the pace of our modern lives we should pause and reevaluate our lives on a constant basis. As Mahatma Gandhi said “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
Here are some simple strategies to be relaxed, stay happy and enjoy life in general.
Create white space – What I mean by this is there is no need to cram every single activity in a 10 hour period. Allow some space as you cannot get to every location in a place. Ease into the day off just go slow and start slow. This keeps you relaxed. I believe the whole purpose of vacation is to stay relaxed.
No peer pressure – With the advent of social media this is more important. We might see a lot of people doing a lot of things. First see if this applies to you. You may not want to do skydiving or anything exotic which is fine. So do what you enjoy and no comparisons.
Lesser expectations – Sometimes we think when we are on vacation we will be fabulous and happy. However, if you are entering the vacation from a stressful time you cannot just magically get into a good mood as soon as you arrive at a new place. So, you need to reprogram your mind to be relaxed before you start your vacation. Start with lower expectations.
Focus on others – It involves taking the focus away from you and show interest in other people’s problems. When you start focusing on the problems of others you become more relaxed.
Walk along the beach – This week I have been on vacation in Key west and Fort Lauderdale. There have been a lot of beaches and early morning just walking along the sound of the beach waves makes you calm and relaxed. It is a great strategy to reduce stress.
Take time to respond – In a delightful book I read recently “Forged in Crisis” one strategy of top leaders was they took time to respond. They didn’t just say what came to their mind. So, take a good amount of time before you respond in haste. This does take practice but the payoff is enormous. As Stephen Covey said, “Between the stimulus and response there is a space and in that space lies your power.”
Develop resilience – Again in the book I read recently “Forged in Crisis” one strategy of top leaders was they were resilient. There will always be a crisis in a leader’s life and it is the ability to bounce back that determines the key to your overall well-being. You cannot be relaxed if you are angry so you need to be objective of any situation you are in. Taking control of your emotions is one of the keys to staying relaxed.
Have an abundance mentality – There is plenty of credit to go around. Enjoy others success and avoid the necessity to prove yourself on a constant basis.
Take one day at a time – What I have found useful is to take one day at a time. Just concentrate on what must be done that day and once that is taken care sleep peacefully. The rest of the days will take care of itself.
Become more patient – One of the reasons we are stressed is because we feel a lack of time. We want to get everything done in a hurry. The way to overcome this is to become more patient.
Ask yourself the question “Will this matter a year from now” -This thinking puts life in perspective. Yes, we all blow things out of proportion at times but this question can help us get our bearings right.
Write your life sentence – Imagine yourself at your deathbed and assess how you would view your life. Would you be happy with what you are doing now? If you are not happy make changes now. Once you know deeply what you are in it for you will be more purposeful and relaxed at the same time.
Practice Solitude – This can be just 10 min being alone. All experts suggest to practicing the magic of solitude and some of the great works have come about due to a lot of time spent being alone.
Don’t argue – Yes sometimes we might have all the facts and hence we can argue endlessly to ensure we are always right. But as a wise man said do you want to be right or happy. Choosing the latter might be a better way to go.
Be Humble – Humility and inner peace go hand in hand. As Ken Blanchard said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but it is thinking of yourself less.”
Appreciate others-This is an amazing strategy as this takes the focus of yourself and as they say you can only get what you give out.
Know when you are angry – The key is to understand when we are not feeling good and quickly change that attitude to positive.
Do one thing at a time– Allocate some time for doing one activity at a time without distraction. As someone said Multitasking is the death of creativity.
Be grateful – Yes being grateful is the first step towards being relaxed and happy. Yes having a long-term vision is good but only if we appreciate what we have we can be truly happy.
Be happy with what you have – Don’t postpone happiness. This is a follow-up to the earlier point. Unless we are happy with where we are it is difficult to enjoy our day to day lives.
Get enough sleep and rise early-This is a very important one as if we do arise early then we get some alone time to plan the day better and maybe even get a quick workout. However it depends on when you get to sleep as well so plan to be early to sleep to early rise.
Concentrate on love -As Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
Go full blast today – The bottom line is we only have a finite number of days to live. When we think along those lines life does become more important and we don’t waste time on the wrong things. Give your best every day and other things will be taken care.
Understand your weakness – It is important to be aware of your weakness and then identify how you can improve on that area.
Reflect and evaluate constantly – When you feel stress coming take a time out and reassess the situation. I think stress arises due to a perceived lack of time and lack of control. So, we need to constantly reevaluate and assess our pace of lives on a constant basis to ensure we stay grounded.
You are not alone – Life becomes easier when you have a lighter heart. This is another way of saying don’t take yourself too seriously.
All the strategies above are meant to reduce our overall stress and stay relaxed. Ultimately whatever we can do to increase our happiness and reduce our stress levels is well worth the effort.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.