By: Petra Najafee, Registered Psychotherapist

I see so many people tired, stressed-out, trying to cope with the kajillion stresses of daily life. Some are coping with anxiety or depression on top of all that. All this while (or because of) working a full day, every day, at the office, at school, or at home, without taking the time to de-stress. And if we keep this up, at some point our mental health is going to suffer. So, I’m going to spend the next few weeks offering some simple stress busting tips. They might not be earth-shattering, and they’re not going to fix everything but sometimes we just need reminders of the common sense stuff. And most of us need reminders about taking care of ourselves. As I often tell my clients, the big changes start with baby steps. So here it goes…

Tip #1: Go for Walk

Yup. It’s that simple. I know what you’re thinking….”I don’t have time to go for a walk!” Yes, you do. Even if it’s for 5 minutes. It will get your circulation going, it will clear your head, and you’ll be more productive when you get back to your desk. Sure, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes would be better, but 5 minutes will do. Now, I’m not talking about a power walk here. Just a stroll. Take the time to put aside whatever’s at work and just notice what’s around you as you walk. If you’ve got any green space near you, that’s even better. Any connection with nature has been shown to have a calming effect whether it’s listening to birds, noticing the colours of the leaves, or yes, stopping to smell the flowers. But if you don’t have a green space near you, that’s okay. You can still notice the colour of the sky, the movement of the clouds, the feeling of the breeze on your face. And every time thoughts of work start creeping in, just gently put them aside and remember you will have plenty of time to think about it later. But for the moment, you are just going to notice the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of what is around you while going for a nice stroll.

Try it for a week. See how it goes. And check back next week for tip #2.

openness. nourishment. empowerment.