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Hi everyone,  

The request last month was for me to talk more about stress, and particularly how to de-stress, but first I need to talk about what is stress, really...  

You all know that stress is a physical reaction to a perceived threat, and was developed by our bodies to help us fight immediate danger (think tiger or bear close to you). It also comes into play when we feel threatened, even if there is no physical danger (think boss yelling, traffic jam when you are late, etc.), only a strong emotion.  

The latter kind of stress, emotional stress, comes when our “emotional battery” is depleted. Think of it this way: you have several energy batteries in your body, one of which deals with your emotional energy. As long as your emotional battery is charged, all is well. You may experience stress, but it won't impact you for long. However, as you let the impact of small and bigger stresses accumulate, it drains your emotional battery. Do it for long enough, and you're operating on empty batteries -with all the negative effects it entails.  

So how do you recharge your batteries and/or de-stress? (To me they're basically the same thing).  

You have all heard of deep breathing, and meditation. But there are other ways to do that, if you don't like those two. Basically, an activity that recharges your emotional batteries is one that  

a) has nothing to do with work, chores or obligations;  

b) is not family- or friends-related (sorry, as much as you love your family, they're not entirely restful. And sometimes neither are friends).  

c) is enjoyable

d) makes you feel better - refreshed, more alert, happier - after you've done it than you were before.  

So things like reading a trashy novel; painting; going out for a walk in nature; building furniture; going to a day spa or getting a massage; knitting; of course practicing a sport; all qualify. Ideal is to have a variety of activities, some that you plan for, some that you can do in just a few minutes to get a little bit of relaxation. You should try to get as close as you can to having at least an hour a day (not necessarily all at once) of "recharge time", and a couple hours a day on the weekend.  

What are YOUR "recharge time" activities?  


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