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5 Steps to Stress Relief

Take a moment to think about the week that just passed. Are your first thoughts of long hours at work, driving your kids to every kind of practice imaginable, hurrying to make dinner, clean the house, do laundry, vacuum and wash dishes? Is it any wonder that in today's busy world, more and more women suffer from stress-induced anxiety than ever before?

If you often find yourself struggling with the effect stress has on your physical and emotional well-being, follow the following 5 steps to stress relief:

1. Acknowledge it. It sounds simple, doesn't it? It might even sound futile. But taking a moment to admit to yourself that something is stressing you out is the first step in letting go of it. As women, studies show that we often take on more than we can handle. By acknowledging that an extra activity will put more added stress on an already hectic lifestyle, you can balance out the pros and cons and make a decision that's right for you.

2. Get a massage. I don't mean one of those extravagant, $200 massages with a hunky Swiss masseuse (though that might be something to put on your birthday list!), but the kind of stress-relieving, muscle-relaxing rubs that husbands and boyfriends are great at providing. And don't underestimate the power of bribery in obtaining these... "If you rub my feet for 10 minutes, I'll... [insert pleasurable activity of choice] for 15." No man can resist!

3. Laugh. You've just had a huge argument with your boss. Your mother called for the third time this week to ask if you're pregnant yet. Your son's teacher called you in to discuss his habit of peeing on walls. When you're stressed, even the smallest annoyance can seem like one more added pressure that you're not able to cope with. So forget about it for a while. Grab a good friend or family member and watch a funny sitcom together. Or a romantic comedy. Or a cartoon. Read the funny pages, or share a good joke. The more you laugh, the more mood-enhancing endorphins you'll produce!

4. Sleep. Not getting 8 hours of sleep every night? You should. If you're already exhausted when you head in to work, you'll be less likely to be able to handle whatever life might throw at you that day. If you have small children, sleeping through the night might seem like a luxury you don't have. Try napping during the afternoon when they do, even if it's just for half an hour. It'll do wonders for your mood, your stress levels, and your patience.

5. Pamper yourself. Do something that makes you feel good, something only for you. Buy a new romance novel and curl up with it after everyone else is asleep. Garden, scrapbook, paint, write. Do whatever brings you joy.

Try one or all of the techniques outlined above and you'll find yourself quickly being able to better cope with the stress of living in such a hectic, busy world.

Lacey Savage is the author of a number of sensual romance short stories, novels and novellas. Her articles and works of fiction often focus on women's issues and relationships. Find out more about Lacey at http://www.laceysavage.com

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