It goes without saying that we are living in stressful and accelerating times. If, a hundred years ago, work took weeks and months to accomplish, today it must be done, well, today! Otherwise, consider yourself terminated.
The concept of time has become so sharpened, so precise, so suffocating.
If the ancients had the luxury to measure the time by years and seasons, today we are forced to be accountable for every hour, minute and second of our time. With all the convenience brought by the industrial revolution and the technological advance, it sometimes feels that us, ordinary humans, were left behind and now we must pick up in our pace and coordinate our speed with the Machine. The technology and the work places have made a tremendous leap forward – however, did our biological systems adjust accordingly?
The emotional strain and various biological reactions, such as high blood pressure, are a sure sign that there is a dissonance between our resources and whatever outside demands we must fill. Sometimes it is inevitable. We have to work a lot in order to provide for our families. Some of us even have two jobs and then there are chores when we return home. There is no time to relax, since time is in demand. Nonetheless, something can be done about it.
In order to deal with the daily stress, you will need to step out of the frenzy stream of time for about an hour every day. Your system needs to wind down. Don”t worry about losing time – if you are stressed, your work will eventually suffer, since your performance will become poorer. So decide on an hour and make this hour your safe haven. This is the hour during which you cannot allow yourself be worried about the tasks at hand, about tight schedules, about your boss”s requests, about the academic papers, and so on. This is the hour in which you will celebrate the first person that should matter to you – yourself, of course.
What can you do in your stress-free safe haven hour?
You can choose any activity you enjoy, as long as it is not an over-stimulating one. Don”t turn your TV set on, don”t sit in front of your computer, don”t you the Internet, the instant messaging, Facebook, Digg, Myspace or anything else which will bombard you with useless information. Silence your cell phone as well; you are not supposed to talk with anyone else during this hour. Your activity must be a calm one. Try something creative, like art or writing. Try relaxation or meditation. Try yoga, tai chi or even simple stretching exercises. Use your imagination and do whatever you wanted to do for yourself, but postponed it indefinitely.
You need this island of safety and sanity among the non-stopping torrent of stressful life. Ideally, you can have this hour outdoors, if you have a large park nearby. If a small piece of nature is not available to you, use your bedroom. Make sure it is brightly lit and just enjoy whatever you do. And whatever stress comes your way, tell it, “Sorry, I”m on a break!”