December 9, 2016
Welcome back to the banquet of your life. All of your favorite foods are spread out before you, but you only have ten minutes to eat. How will you make the most of those ten minutes?
Your life is just like the banquet. Last week, we explored some techniques to handle stress and maximize productivity. Try these new tips to make the most of your meal.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Don’t shovel all the desserts in. You’ll make yourself sick and run out of time for those things that will keep you healthy, strong, and energetic.
Exercise three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes. According to Health magazine, exercise increases your endorphin production, helps regulate sleep, lowers depression-like symptoms, boosts your energy, and helps you remain focused.
- Eat healthy and avoid caffeine. It’s easy to eat a lot of junk when you’re stressed or get fast food, but don’t do it. It will slow you down. Eat healthy, balanced meals and try not to skip any.
- Get enough sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep is not helpful; your body needs more sleep and rest when you’re stressed, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
- Get some sunshine. Vitamin D helps boots serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Being outside can also provide a distraction from your stress factors.
- Review “Taking Care of Your Body” from July 2015 for more ideas.
Make time for fun and relaxation
Take some personal time to relax and ease your stress for a bit. Right before the banquet ends, eat your favorite food or try something you’ve never had before. Then sit back and digest.
Do something you enjoy. Maybe take a bubble bath while listening to some relaxing music, get a massage, call your best friend, work in the garden, go for a hike, read your favorite book, or play with your pet.
- Welcome humor. A good laugh might be all you need.
- Take a few deep breaths and visualize yourself in your “happy place” if you feel like you don’t have time for something longer. It will help reduce cortisol, a stress hormone.
- Have fun finishing your to-do list. Play games with yourself, check things off, compete with someone else, or whatever you think will make it less stressful and more enjoyable.
“Our bodies [need to] receive that recreation which is proper and necessary to keep up an equilibrium, to promote healthy action to the whole.”2
Don’t give up
Prioritize, put things in perspective, be healthy, and let yourself have fun. These will help you get the most out of your banquet (or your day) and help you feel more efficient. Sometimes it’s easy or tempting to give up, but the related consequences are usually negative. Push through, and you will be amazed how much you can get done in ten minutes or one day.
If you need extra motivation, give yourself a reward to look forward too. Life Hacker calls this the “Strategy of Reward” and recommends making the reward relevant. For example, if you get all your homework done without checking your phone, email, or other social media tools, you can reward yourself with thirty minutes to check them. The rewards should be relevant or something you enjoy.
Don’t give up, and you can handle your busy schedule.
How do you handle stress? Comment with other strategies below!
^ Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom: The Principles and the Promises,” General Conference, April 1996.
^ Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, “Happiness and Social Enjoyment,” pp.183-91, 1997.