Monday, April 6, 2009

Beating stress on a budget

I know that it goes against the Stress-ista ethos, but I'm stressed. Tired. Rundown. Overworked. Underpaid. All the classic symptoms. I'm also struggling with the notion that I need to take time out from work (eek! the world will surely end if I'm not slaving away at my desk) at a time when work is hard to come by.

What to do, what to do?

In frugal times, it's difficult to justify the lazy $60-$100 required for a massage or a facial (particularly in light of this NY Times story that questions their relevance at all), but the fact is that you need to recharge to stay on top of your game. Overstress leads to poor performance which leads to more stress which leads to... well, you get the idea.

If touch therapy is what you need, why not try a student massage? They're generally half the price, well-supervised, and, let's face it, a vast improvement over letting the kinks in your shoulders grow to gigantic proportions. In Sydney, you'll find one through NSW School of Massage or Nature Care College - find one near you by Googling 'student massage' (taking care to avoid the obvious porn sites).

If you're addicted to facials, beauty colleges often offer a student version, or you could throw yourself in a rose-scented bath, slather on a mask, and read a book for half an hour (far preferable to me than inane chatter about my weekend with a beauty therapist).

Other free stress-relieving options include taking a few deep breaths, walking around the block a few times, or getting someone you love (or would love to love) to give you a hug. Cuddling releases the hormone oxytocin into your nervous system, making you feel soothed and safe.

Once you're all calm and focussed again, it might be time to consider some Income Protection Insurance. There's nothing more stressful than discovering that you suddenly can't work for a while - due to illness or accident.

Take a load off your mind and consider your options at

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