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Lose Your Stress in Just Ten Minutes?

by Lynn Fraser

Have you seen the L’Oreal Ten Minute Crème Colorant ads? The slogan – “Ten Minutes to Rich, Radiant Color” – grabbed me. What else could I do in just ten minutes?  Could I lose that pile of laundry in ten?  Prep for a meal?  File those papers piling up on my desk?
As a working parent I find I can never keep up with everything. Those grey hairs are always peeking out WAY sooner than I expected!  Can you relate?  According to two decades of research by Canadian professors, Linda Duxbury and Chris Higgins, the percentage of Canadians working more than fifty hours per week has increased from one in ten to one in four of us. More time at work means more work/life conflict.
So, you’re not alone.
Now before you pull all your hair out, try these Top Five Stress-Busting Tools:

  1. The Timer:  Set a timer for ten minutes and sort through those papers piling up on your desk. The key is NO INTERRUPTIONS!  Turn off your cell phone and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door. Your co-workers will live WITHOUT YOU for ten minutes! 
  2. The Binder:  Find or buy binders and plastic page protectors and slot in everything related to a client, a project or your family. For those who are concerned about “out of sight, out of mind,” don’t worry. It’s all there in one place!  The binder strategy works well for volunteer commitments, too. It appears like you know what you’re doing, even if you’re a new Rotary Club president!  At home, put your family binder in an obvious place (like your kitchen counter) so that every member can access it to find out about school and community activities. 
  3. The Family Calendar:  Post the week’s events on a calendar. Don’t forget to put down details like who’s driving, after-hours meetings, appointments and whose turn it is to clean your pet’s cage. More detailed information is in the family binder near by. Then every member of the family knows what’s going on, not just Mom! (Great for couples, especially if one or both of you work out of town. Synchronize your calendars electronically, if you wish.) 
  4. The Freezer:  Label, date and freeze chicken breasts and stir-fry strips in a marinade for future meals. Slice up sweet peppers, place in freezer bags and lay flat in the freezer so you can pull out a few to use in lasagna or for a vegetarian chili. Ten minutes prep when unpacking your groceries keeps you from sprouting more grey hairs at 5:00 p.m. when you’re rushing home and don’t have a clue what’s for dinner! 
  5. The Walk:  Take a ten-minute walk at lunch or coffee break or when you get stuck on a project and need to clear your mind. It’s a great way to sneak fitness into your life. Plus, you may find the best solutions pop into your head during a walk!

If your life just doesn’t feel “rich and radiant” much of the time, then pick one of the Top Five Stress-Busting Tools and apply it in the next seven days. You’ll be amazed at how much your stress plummets in just ten minutes!
Lynn Fraser, The Practical Life Balance Expert with Balance Your World (www.lynnfraser.ca), is an enlightening speaker and a whole-hearted coach. She works with individuals, as well as corporate and association teams who desire to become Healthy Focused People Attaining Sustainable Results. Catch her presentation at Cannexus 2011.

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