According to the RealAge website www.realage.com “Researchers have found a strong link between chronic work stress and a nasty cluster of factors known as syndrome X (or metabolic syndrome). They increase your blood pressure, your belt size, and your odds of developing diabetes.” Programming a little relaxation time into your week is one way to guard against daily stress affecting your health. Here are a few ideas of ways to do this. You don’t need to do all of them. Choose the one or ones that resonate with you. 1. 20 minutes of exercise every morning – Work out before going to the office each day. Whether you have a treadmill at home or you go to the gym each day, plan on having a few minutes of quiet exercise. It goes without saying that working while your working out is not going to relax you! 2. Walk after lunch for 20 minutes – Another great time to take a break is right after lunch. It is especially important if you tend to eat at your desk and work through lunch. If you go out for lunch, walk to a distant restaurant rather than driving or taking a taxi. 3. 20 minute coffee or tea break after lunch – Mid afternoon can be a low point in the day. This is a perfect time to stop what you are doing and take 20 minutes to sit with coffee or tea and clear your mind. 4. Weekly pedicure – Nothing like a foot message to really relax you! Taking the time for a pedicure is a great stress buster! 5. Weekly massage – Getting a full massage is amazingly relaxing. It also is helpful for back, neck and head pain. These types of pains are often stress related 6. Weekly date to play golf or tennis – Golf or tennis or any sport for that matter takes your mind off your business issues. Totally immersing yourself in a weekly hobby lets you rest from the work week. Most people gain perspective from the weekly break. 7. Day off once a month to relax and have no agenda – Many of us go from lists of things to do at work to another list with things to do at home. Taking a day a month to do whatever you feel like doing with no agenda or “to do” list can be very energizing. There is a sense of freedom that is exhilarating. 8. 15 minute meditation daily – Meditation refreshes the body and the soul during the day. Keeping your mind rested without thoughts of work is often challenging to people who are always on the go. Try music, a meditation tape or CD, or sitting outside in a beautiful setting ( ocean, mountain, garden etc) 9. 15 minutes reading for pleasure daily – Get into a good novel, read something inspirational, or find some poetry that is meaningful to you. Get engrossed with your mind totally off your work challenges. Set a timer, if necessary, if you worry you’ll forget to go back to work! 10. 15 minutes of music daily (listening, playing an instrument or singing) – Like golf, tennis, or reading for some music can be totally engrossing. What is the best way for you to take a break?