Under pressure - top tips for chilling out on a shoestring
It’s not exactly surprising to hear that for many women, stress levels are becoming a bit of a problem. And with budgets stretched tight, you might feel as though there’s not a lot you can do to relax. But the truth is there are a lot of simple ways to lift your mood, that won’t put your budget under pressure.
Yes, it’s an 80s pop hit, but it’s also a pretty accurate description of the average Aussie woman. A recent survey by RUOK?, a group that focuses on suicide prevention, revealed that around 40 per cent of the Australian workforce experiences medium to high levels of work-related stress every day – and, unsurprisingly, the most stressed of the lot were single working mums.
It’s not really surprising, and now the data is coming in from everywhere: women, stress and worry are pretty strongly connected. The Australian Bureau of Statistics records that 42.4 per cent of women (compared to 34.9 per cent of men) feel rushed and short on time all or most of the time, and The Australian Psychological Society reports that women feel significantly more stressed than men – so if you feel like you’ve got a lot to do and not enough time or energy to do it, join the club!
And unlike the song by pop legends Queen, the sort of lifestyle stress that most of us experience isn’t exactly upbeat and fun. It tires us out, wrecks our ability to focus, causes all sorts of unwanted aches and pains and can cause health problems. With everything we’ve got on our plates it’s no wonder we need a break, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got the time, or the cash, to indulge in a relaxing tropical getaway or employ a personal masseuse whenever we want. But if you think that means we’ve just got to grit our teeth and put up with all that extra stress, think again. Plenty of stress-busters are easy, cheap and won’t transfer all the pressure you’re feeling onto your family budget.
Do it your way
Commercials would like us to believe that it’s impossible to relax without the latest CD compilation of whale song, a DVD on the ‘right’ yoga techniques and the newest book on meditation … but the truth is that relieving stress is really all about getting a bit of ‘me’ time every day. If you enjoy meditation, that’s great – but if that’s not your thing, skip the relaxation products and make sure you take a bit of time to read your favourite book, listen to some music (whale song is optional), or just have a cup of tea. If you’ve got kids, get a friend or neighbour to watch them for an hour while you unwind – and you can return the favour later. Taking a bit of time out to do the things you like won’t cost you anything, and it could seriously improve your mood and your day.
On nutrients, that is! Eating fish at least a couple of times a week has been shown to reduce your chance of suffering from depression – omega-3 is very good for your mood. Get plenty of protein to avoid mood crashes between meals and eat leafy green vegetables to improve your folic acid levels – they’re as important for your mental health as they are for women hoping to have children. Fresh, healthy food is generally cheaper than processed goods too, so pick seasonal vegetables to reduce the cost of your grocery bill and lift your mood. And here’s a big bonus: it’s been suggested that having a little dark chocolate every day can boost your endorphin levels and improve your sense of wellbeing – and if a licence to eat a little chocolate doesn’t brighten your day, nothing will!
It’s great to find ways to relax at home … but sometimes what you really want is a great day out. The question is whether your budget can accommodate the splurge – and the answer is that if you know where to get the right deals, it probably can! When it comes to spoiling yourself without breaking the bank, your mouse is your best friend. Watch sites like Spreets and Scoupon to get a coupon discount for spas, massages and facials – or just see what else pops up that sounds like fun. Bungee jumping might just be the stress reliever you never knew you always wanted!
We live busy lives, and there’s no doubt the pressure’s on – but it’s always possible to take a little time to relax and recharge. And if you want to listen to a few Queen songs while you kick back and chill out – go for it!
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Tags: women stress, coupon discount, healthy food
Analaura Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.