37 ways to de-stress

The two most exciting things that happened to you this week was the afternoon of sunshine when you had washing on the line, and the phone call on Sunday night that was not from your mother.

Your social calendar for the immediate future contains two birthday parties for three-year-olds and a PTA meeting. The only time you see other people is when you go to the supermarket. It's time to do something new. 

There are things every one of us should do at least once a year – if only to remind ourselves that we are alive and that stress is our enemy. Remember who you used to be, get a good babysitter, and let the games begin.

  • Go for a long walk in the rain – who cares if your underwear gets soaked?
  • Go away for a weekend, but don’t decide on a destination beforehand. Just get in the car and see where it takes you.
  • Read all your old love letters.
  • Go and watch two movies in one day and have a pizza and a glass of wine between the two.
  • Get up early and watch the sun rise.
  • Go to an outdoor symphony concert.
  • Phone an old friend you have not spoken to for ages.
  • Wear something outrageous and different to what you would usually wear.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
  • Reread your three favourite poems and books – preferably in bed or in front of a fire.
  • Go for a long walk next to the ocean.
  • Swim when it’s raining.
  • Buy something you don’t need at all, but would like to have anyway.
  • Phone an old boyfriend on his birthday.
  • Let the dog sleep on your duvet on a really cold night.
  • Talk through the night to someone you really care about and only go to sleep when the birds start chirping.
  • Invite the nice new person at work for dinner – don’t just promise to do it.
  • Eat oranges and broccoli and chocolate fudge and boerewors for supper – just because that’s what you feel like.
  • Go and see a play or a live concert.
  • Spend an hour on the phone to your best friend gossiping about someone you know.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to a restaurant you have never been to before.
  • Go for a massage or aromatherapy.
  • Watch the sunset.
  • Ask your hairdresser what he/she would like to do with your hair.
  • Use some of your hard-earned savings and suddenly decide to go and see your friend in Milan or Kimberley or Dubai.
  • Learn to let the dishes stand for a day.
  • Sign up for singing lessons, dancing lessons, or judo classes, or paper marbling, or live drawing, or writing classes, or Tai Chi.
  • Put in a day’s leave and go camping in the wilds or in a nature reserve for a long weekend (no toddlers in nappies allowed on this trip – that’s what grandparents are for).
  • Go to a nursery and buy some plants, even if they’re for the balcony of your flat.
  • Go to the local tourist information bureau and pretend for one weekend that you are a tourist in your hometown. Visit the museum, climb the mountain, visit a gold mine, or crocodile ranch, or take a township tour.
  • Invite ten very dissimilar people to a dinner party. Drink a tranquiliser beforehand.
  • Commit one hour a week of your time towards helping others in some way – whether volunteering at a community organisation or visiting your mother’s aunt in an old age home.
  • Buy flowers for yourself.
  • Go out for the evening and say “Expect me when you see me” as you leave.
  • Walk barefoot in wet grass.
  • Go out for breakfast.
  • Leave the TV off for an hour, day or a week, or until it hurts.

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