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Stressed? I'll get the beers in ...

What do you think of when you hear the word “relaxation”? That it’s just a “girl thing” with bubble baths, new age techniques and trying to bend your body into uncomfortable positions at a yoga class?

So, when you're stressed after a hard day at work or want to take your mind off something, what do you do? Easy - you go for a few drinks! Sound familiar? A third of men in the UK use alcohol to deal with stress according to a survey by health charity Developing Patient Partnerships (DPP). The other two-thirds are likely to pop to the pharmacy for a stress remedy, smoke or stock up on junk food. You don't need to be told this isn't the right way of doing things and I'm not going to insult you by doing so. What I will do is give you a few alternatives to try and then you can see the benefits for yourselves. I'll leave it up to you…

  • Find a leisure activity such as gardening, cooking, building or fishing. Find something relaxing to do as part of your weekend schedule. It's good to calm down after the stresses and strains of the working week.
  • Work up a sweat or do some weights - working out is proven to reduce tension and can also boost self-esteem. Find a sport or fitness activity you enjoy and have fun while reaping the health benefits.
  • Don't take your work home with you - you need separate time at home with your loved ones. Mixing the two can cause arguments and increased tension.
  • Try not to live beyond your means - getting into financial difficulty is one of the biggest causes of stress and it can be pretty hard to get yourself out of debt once you start overspending.
  • Organisation - make sure you allocate yourself enough time to do things. It's no use planning a workout and then spending the whole time worrying about what you should be doing instead. It's important to have time to do something you enjoy and that will make you feel better at the end of it. Setting aside the same amount of time each week will get you into a good routine. You could sign up to a couple of classes at the gym every week or book a slot with a personal trainer - this will give you a stronger reason to allocate time for it.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that to survive the normal day-to-day stresses we need to find ways to take time out. You can do yoga, t'ai chi or meditation if you like but it's not compulsory - the main thing is to do what makes you feel relaxed and good about yourself. It's up to you how you deal with your stress…

Courtesy of Fitness Professionals UK

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