Life is a bit heavy going at the moment, the world economy is melt downing in ever increasing waves of panic. Costs for everything are soaring; teenagers remain moody and resistant to all pleas for conversation and room cleaning. Work gives you migraines and your partner has a never ending list of complaints and demands. Your fitness and diet regimens have fallen to dust and the fight against wrinkles and age is defeating you. Instead of reaching for the wine or vodka and stuffing your face with chocolate and Doritos, try some of these simple, sane ways to bring some calm into your world.
1. Be Physical – get outside and swim or walk – run or play golf if you must. You don’t have to be high powered but doing something with and for your body is a great way to release the chemicals in your brain that help your peace of mind. Every day is good, but a couple of times a week will do.
2. Go outside and simply breath: be in a park, watching the ducks, have a picnic, take a water-boat ride to anywhere. You don’t have to be physical for this; you just have to be (remember you don’t always have to do). Sunny days help but being outside, even your own backyard or deck is enough. Rug up and sit outside under the stars at night, it makes you feel wonderful to be alive.
3. Do something for someone else, something nice or helpful is best. Simple things like making a cup of tea, hanging out the washing, cooking dinner, buying a treat on the way home from work; flowers are always nice. You don’t have to volunteer or read to strange children, just something small and heart felt for those you love is enough.
4. Create a happy vibe – listen to music that makes you feel good. I can recommend Love is in the Air by John Paul Young, it always makes me sing along and dance. Do the same with movies, find some that make you feel better about the world, eg Love Actually, Bridget Jones and the much under-rated but brilliant Water, with Michael Caine and Billy Connolly.
5. Eat your favourite foods. Ignore all imperatives about diets and calories and the time of the day. Eating is one of life’s purest pleasures, so indulge yourself – have a meal of the things that you just love. But don’t feel guilty. Let me recommend champagne and Toblerone in the bath – bliss.
6. Do something with your hands. Making something is good, so cooking or sewing or gardening. Doing something simple and repetitive is soothing to the soul. Try shelling peas, knitting a long scarf (also doing something for someone else) and peeling hard boiled eggs. I strongly recommend the latter as getting the membrane to break away from the egg and lifting the shell away without taking lumps out of the egg is one of life’s little triumphs.
7.Be with people you love, who make you feel good, who, in the words of Mark Darcy, ‘love you just the way you are’. When my baby girl (now teenage mood-bag) was little she was a joy-bucket, just being with her made you happy. She was a little bundle of sunshine and made everything about the world all right. (She can still do it when she wants.) Find the people who make you feel good, love them, be with them, be good to them. You’ll feel so much better in no time at all. (I include pets here too, cats, dogs – something you can stroke and who doesn’t give you grief back soothes the stressed breast no end.)
Try some, try all but find some way to deal with the stresses of life and make sure you remain a decent functioning human being.