By Payal Puri
Health and happiness may be the foundations for a good life, but factor in today's life realities - relationships, money, parenting, schools, in-laws, career, commuting, competition - and being happy seems a utopian dream, something to postpone for the "future".
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But this is no longer an option; not when strain and fatigue are telling on your everyday life; on your productivity and your mood. It's happening to every single one of us. As we navigate difficult personal and professional terrain, keeping our physical and emotional balance has become trickier than ever. We argue more, cry more and stress more. We're more anxious, irritable and short-tempered. And we often feel like we aren't doing things that we should; things for which we no longer have the energy.'
There are no easy solutions to life's big issues, and we do not claim to have them for you. What we do have, instead, is a tangible plan to transform your stressed-out life and make you feel like you're in control again. We have culled out proven research, tested tips and expertise of professionals to put together this nine-month plan to help you feel less drained, relaxed and more upbeat. Before you start, ensure you go through the various medical tests that are critical prior to embarking on a new physical routine or changes in diet. Then, make a commitment to yourself to start this focussed plan - and experience a new you!
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The Health Plan - April
For Mind & Body
Take one afternoon "off" every two weeks
Whether you have a job or are a stayat-home wife and mother, it's unlikely you take any time - relaxed, guilt-free, uninterrupted - just for yourself in an average week. Even waking up slightlylater-than-usual on a weekend is often instantly accompanied by a long list of chores, entertaining, grocery shopping, meeting family or ferrying the children to and from classes. Research proves, however, that taking a few hours off for yourself isn't a selfish move, it's a critical investment for your sanity and peace, and thereby your family's wellbeing.
- Once a fortnight rexal - on a working weekday or on a Saturday if you are office bound - negotiate one afternoon completely for yourself.
Pre-fix with a relative, a neighbour or a friend to take care of your child; order a meal in for dinner that night instead of cooking. Make this time nonnegotiable - let your husband, child or parent adjust their schedule around your needs on this one day, instead of the other way around.
Use this time purely to unwind - picking up clothes from the tailor or visiting a sick relative don't count, they're still errands. This time is for pure leisure - reading at a café (or in a quiet corner of your home if you can ensure you'll be left alone), watching a movie with a friend, browsing a gallery, getting a pedicure and a head massage, or just sleeping the afternoon away in your bedroom.
Not used to doing leisure things alone? Start by including a friend in your plans if you're wary of going to a café or mall alone. Set a ground rule: talking shop (by which we mean about children, husband, home, in-laws, job and boss) are off limits. Feel free to gossip about friends or celebrities or television, though!
Don't make excuses - the more hectic your life, the more urgent your need for this personal time. Make it as much a priority and as immovable on your calendar as your child's PTA meetings or your pet's vaccines.
Reproduced From Good Housekeeping. © 2011. LMIL. All rights reserved.
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