How To: Stop and Smell the Roses

by JENNA PACELLI

At a loss for time? Try doing nothing: relaxation can go a long way for the heart, mind, and body.

 

Our guide to getting started

Busy-ness is an addiction of the modern-day century. Think that’s too grand a statement? According to the American Psychological Association, 48% of us feel our lives have become more stressful in the past five years, and the number keeps growing. Even as UCLA students, many of us have grown accustomed to jam-packed schedules whereby relaxation has become an underrated and sometimes altogether discarded endeavor. Breaking the stress cycle naturally requires a conscious effort, and while taking it easy may seem like a costly punctuation of a relentlessly forward and scheduled lifestyle, the rewards reaped from a less bustling lifestyle, such as improved memory, better sleep, and improved metabolism, very well off-set the very little time forsaken in the process. A look into how to chill out (because we all need reminders sometimes).

 

A How-To for the Workaholic

Appreciate the Benefits of Relaxation

Relaxation lowers cortisol levels, the stress hormone that wreaks damage to the body (impairs cognitive performance, raises blood pressure, lowers the immune system) when present in abnormal levels. Relax to reduce your risk of stress-related illnesses. Ultimately, you can get more done when you are working because you have rejuvenated your mind during your time of rest.

Seek Old Loves

Invite the “little things” in your life back: make a call to your parents, cook or eat a decent, slow meal, or engage in something tranquil, like meditation. Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing because they relax you, or preserve your sanity. Prioritize these things you love to do and seek the top few during your more frantic moment.s

Reflect on Time Management

For a week, log your usage of time in a journal. Are you wasting ten or twenty minutes every few hours engaging in truly trivial and unstimulating activities (for instance, Facebook)? Look at all the things you do and see if you can delegate, give up, or stop when they are good enough .Through dissecting how you spend your time, you can see why you don’t have time for yourself to being with.

Reinvent the To-Do List

Designate on your To-Do list a few things that are nonnegotiable like sleep, class, and meals, and schedule your other activities around that. Then put your To-Do list on a n index card for anticipated stressful days. Remember that our body prefers to work upon waking up and retire towards the end of the day: tackle the harder, more challenging items in the morning or early afternoon.

We’re All Procrastinators

It’s inevitable. But tell yourself you’ll spend just 5-15 minutes thinking about that item you’re putting off; you may actually get into a groove after a minute or two and end up finishing it. Ask yourself if you “have other things to do” simply because you’re trying to avoid doing another altogether.

Eliminate Guilt

You need time to recharge your system in order to be fully efficient and effective for the work ahead of you. People who seem to relentlessly occupy themselves with work may only seem to be “fine” - in reality, you come out on top for accepting the way the human body is designed to work. That is, that the mind, body, and soul need rest and quiet in order to be functional as a whole.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

Being around people who know how to relax will help you in your effort to break your habit of continually being on the go. observe and take note of how they spend their relaxing time and their working time. They may very well be able to relax often and still perform well in school - and you’ll soon be convinced that the two are not mutually exclusive events.

Slow Down

Consciously decrease the pace at which you walk. Take up activities like Tai Chi or yoga (check for classes at Wooden) to learn how to slow down. Sketch a picture. Lay on the grass. Sing in the shower. When you fail to slow down, you similarly fail to develop perspective and form deeper ideas about yourself and those around you. Isn’t that, ultimately, what the most successful people have?  

Take A Day Off

Many religions observe some variation of a “Sabbath” day. This is their day off from work and is solely for spending time with the people they love. it may seem somewhat foreign, but a day free from chores, to-do lists, work and homework can allow you to fully recharge and work more efficiently the rest of the week.

Put A Name on Your Idling

Go outside and tell yourself you’re gazing at the clouds. Tell your roommates you’re going to go meditate and go sit somewhere by yourself and just think, read, stare at nothing. Take a nap. It doesn’t feel as foreign in your life if you put a name on it

 

Spring 2010 | Vol. 10 | Issue 4