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Eat. Sleep. Work. Play. Is it possible?

12 ways to find balance in a stressful world
Stress. It can affect relationships. Raise cortisol levels. Weaken your immune system and wreak havoc on your long-term health.

So, how can you find equilibrium? The Ohio State University’s Vice President for Health Promotion and Chief Wellness Officer Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk has evaluated different approaches with nearly 1,000 employees and offers the following tips for tuning out, unwinding and taking care of yourself.

  1. Stop procrastinating

    There’s nothing like putting off a big task to build up undue stress. Divide it into smaller pieces, and take it a single step at a time. Complete one, then the next and, eventually, your to-do list will be less daunting and substantially less stressful.

  2. Look for options

    Is there something you can do to lessen your everyday stresses? Ask your employer about flex hours, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. Make the most of your workplace resources and referrals for mental health services, child care or elder care to start easing stress in little ways.

  3. Get your rest and relaxation

    Spending time with family after a stressful day can do wonders in helping you recharge. Maybe you need some alone time — try meditating before bedtime to slow it all down. Don’t run on empty!

  4. Talk it out

    Feeling overly stressed or down? Be honest. Instead of holding it in, try working with your colleagues and supervisor to create reasonable solutions. Consider talking with a mental health provider if your stress or mood is interfering with your functioning. Taking care of yourself shows strength.

  5. Stay in the present moment

    Worry and guilt are emotions that are not constructive as most of what we worry about never happens and guilt can rob you of your joy. Practice being mindful/in the present moment every day and watch how your mood improves.

  6. Unplug

    Having your phone (and work emails) next to you at all times can be exhausting. While it’s important to be available, learn to recognize when you need to disconnect and take a timeout from work after hours — emails and all.

  7. Just say no

    It’s hard to say no sometimes. But when you stop overcommitting, you’ll find you have more time for meaningful activities.

  8. Take time to do what you are passionate about and love

    You’ll discover an abundance of energy and less stress.

  9. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t

    Get in the habit of counting your blessings every day to feel happier and more satisfied with your life.

  10. Read five minutes of a positive book every day

    Negativity that happens around us can zap our energy and deflate our mood. Beginning the day with this tip can boost our ability to stay positive throughout the day.

  11. Engage in physical activity

    Getting in just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week can reduce stress, depression and anxiety and boost energy. Add to that lots of water and healthful foods for all the energy you need throughout the day.

  12. Take frequent recovery breaks during the day

    Take five minutes every hour to take a quick walk or stretch by your desk. Have standing meetings. Sitting for prolonged periods raises your risk for heart disease and depletes your energy.