Stress. . . How to Unwind
By Brian Dean
(Published in the October 2008 issue of Intercoastal Connector)

Today’s life has a good amount of stress. In fact, the stress levels of people have quadrupled in the last 30 years, maybe even the last 10. Computers have made things faster causing business to live or die on how quickly they can make decisions and implement them. This, of course, makes people have to react faster, work harder, and work longer.

Fifty years ago, one would wrap up a day at the office, go home, have dinner with their family, and watch ‘Leave It To Beaver’. Thirty years ago, it was the Brady Bunch. Today, both people in a household work because it takes two incomes to afford a house. They come home late because they could not finish the work they needed to in the normal(? ) eight-hour day, microwave something to eat, and then pay bills or do work on their home computers.

But what is missing here? Me Time.

Where do we get time to really relax and do some calming, or unwinding? Sometimes we catch a show on television, but that really is not unwinding. It is a form of relaxation, but not deep enough for most people. When was the last time you sat and did nothing for more than a half hour? And when you did that nothing, were you thinking about problems or working out issues?

In this rush-rush environment, we are losing something very important… ourselves. We cease to be an individual with feelings, thoughts, emotions, and desires, and we simply become part of a process. We live and breathe our work. This is all we are, all we’ve become. We don’t have time for things we enjoy whether they be sports, entertainment, relaxation (that being the most key), or anything else. The problem is that without these things, we lose ourselves. We simply exist. We are a part of something else and that part reflects through us. We become the frustration, anger, disappointment, or fear depending on what state our work is in at any given moment.

What can we do about it? Well, first thing is that you have to want things to be different. You have to want to be you instead of a process. Then we have to schedule time for whatever it is we want to do. Yes, that’s right, schedule it, just like you would a meeting or important event. In some cases, Me Time is so special that it is an important event. But we need to do it.

What can Me Time be? It can be anything that breaks the normal routine and gives us some time to do something to take our minds off the things that crowd it too often. Go to a ballgame. See a movie. Take a walk on the beach. Read a book. Sit in the park and watch the children play. Do something special for yourself. Get a massage. Have your hair done. Go out to eat. Do some meditation.

The key is to do something to distract you from the normal happenings. Do something that makes you laugh, or have fun. Do something that calms you.

We are our own best resource. We are the center of our lives, or should be. If we let the us slip away, then we become nothing but a part of something else. We need to maintain ourselves. Do it today. Schedule some Me Time.