Save some ‘Tender Loving Care’ for yourself

A hard yet fulfilling week's work behind you, all your mind craves on that Friday night is a hot bubble bath, and a good dinner before you finally retire to bed.

A hard yet fulfilling week's work behind you, all your mind craves on that Friday night is a hot bubble bath, and a good dinner before you finally retire to bed. However, just as your head hits the pillow, thoughts about Monday morning's presentation suddenly poke you hard. You're thinking slides, client and that all-important deal. Can it be cracked? You doze off, only to wake up in the middle of the night: You didn't realise that it's been bothering you this much. Something tells you that, like millions of others, you are stressed.

Over the years, countless studies have concluded that feeling overly stressed can have serious health risks. A recent University of Helsinki study found that high job strain with an unequal reward system could potentially double your risk of cardiovascular death. And according to the Franklin Institute, the brain produces hormones in reaction to negative stress to deal with emergency situations. If exposed to chronic bouts of stress, your adrenal glands could literally wear out, putting you at risk of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Stress can also affect your memory. Too much cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone) in the bloodstream can prevent neuro-transmitters from performing optimally, and result in impaired cognitive performance. "One sign that shows stress is beginning to take its toll on you is when you begin forgetting where you've kept simple everyday items. This is an indication that your body is severely stressed and you need to take it easy," points out sociologist Rabindra Ray from Delhi University, who specialises in stress-related studies.

With the pressures of modern living building up, it's important you take it upon yourself to incorporate certain self-care strategies to stay centred and sustain your productivity levels. As you continue to work hard and balance harder, it sometimes helps to pamper yourself with some tender loving care (TLC). And there's no reason now to run empty. Here's what you could do.

1. Meet old friends once in every two weeks
Catch up with old friends from school and college. "And not just a chat session, engaging in weekend activities with old buddies too could be very rejuvenating and act as a mood uplifter," says Dr Divya Parashar, clinical rehabilitation psychologist, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

2. Read your favourite book
According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading for just 6 minutes can reduce your stress levels by up to 68%. Take time out to visit your favourite bookstore, and browse through the sections that interest you. Pick up something as simple as a cookbook, a work of fiction or even a comic book for that matter. As long as they are of interest to you, it will come as a positive distraction from the world around you, allowing you to release tension in your muscles, especially your heart.
Dedicate one evening a week doing something only for yourself.

Whether it's swimming, gardening, a music class or an aerobics lesson, promise yourself some time out for this hobby. But do it only if it doesn't feel like another chore. Otherwise, spend some time doing nothing and by simply enjoying that cup of tea on your terrace. Already thinking you don't have the time? Not so soon: the Bureau of Labour Statistics' annual American Time Use Survey says every American has 5 hours of leisure time at his/her disposal every workday. So, even if it's not 5 hours for you every day, finding an hour or two in an entire working week shouldn't be all that difficult.

3. Visit your old school/college
Making a trip to your alma mater if you are living in the same city can be therapeutic. You will see that it feels amazing to go back to the place where you grew up, a place that has memories etched in every corner. Seek out teachers who are still there and talk to them. Even the stories of mischief and punishments will make you feel cared for and fill you with a warm glow.

Pagination

(2 Pages) | Read all

Join us on Pinterest

Featured Blogs

  • Daddy's home: A tribute to my dad
    Daddy's home: A tribute to my dad IT'S A PARENT THING - Wed 16 Apr, 2014 12:59 PM IST

    When my sister and I were little, our dad would announce his arrival every evening by whistling outside the window. It was a ritual; we would hear his Rajdoot motorcycle rumble to a stop, and then the familiar whistle would follow. My sister and would leave everything we were doing and rush out to greet him. More »

  • 12 Ways He Shows You that You're the …
    12 Ways He Shows You that You're the … SHE - Wed 16 Apr, 2014 2:22 AM IST

    RELATED: 18 Signs You're With the Man You Should Marry More »