These are proven to work, at least for me. Just sharing, in case you need some ideas.
Listed not according to preference.
1. Family time
I am renting with a long-time friend with whom I spend weekday nights talking to, so on weekends, I try to spend more time with family members. Mostly it is to compensate for the last four years when I was away. There’s a little kid aged 3 in the family, so it can’t be anymore de-stressing! If not with my married sister whose son is such a sweetheart, I’d go out with my two favourite guys – my brother and my cousin, both 19. Watching movies, savoring nice food while talking and sharing stories.
And having my father’s consent, last week my brother and I drove to Kuantan – attending my best childhood friend’s wedding, and checking on my little sister at her campus. I seriously lost count on how much I spent on that two days: staying in a hotel, buying food, gas and toll fares, but I guess I could not care less, because I knew that I would come back to KL happier and in better mood.
We ate, met my sister’s friends, made stupid jokes, ate some more, went back, and came again to IIUM the next day and they had to follow me to the beach – because at that time I need some sort of water therapy…Catching-ups have always been nice. The last time we met, I laughed my heart out until I almost fall off the chair. I mean, I didn’t fall, but the metal chair did, and that was really noisy.
Family is, I reckon, the best stress-busters – just because you are allowed to act and say silly things with reputation to take care of.
2. Attending religious class or gathering.
Nothing beat this. It’s the serenity, peaceful and tranquility that often draw me back to religious classes no matter how short the session can be, or how busy I am at that time.
Even when I was busy with my studies back then, I just could not help. I might seem not to prioritise things right, but hey, if this gives me the soothing and calming effect that boost my energy, I see nothing wrong.
You know, at some points in time you are just mentally and spiritually empty. You have had enough sleep, or beauty sleep, as you thought you were just tired. But that feeling just did not go away – so if you ask me, these gatherings are the best prescription.
I think it is more of meeting and being in the company of a person (or more) teachers who are, I believe, spiritually closer to God the Exalted, at better spiritual state than me, that gives me this peace. It’s like meeting someone who has been there, and you are motivated to do so too.
And of course, the supplication by the Angels to the attendees of such gathering.
How can I miss that?
How can WE miss that?
3. Catching up with old friends
One occasion I remember well when it comes to this, was when I met my school friend – deep in Germany, in this town of Essen – whom I have not met since 2002. It was seven years, so you know, we spent the first four hours talking non-stop. I wrote this in another entries, and as you might have guessed, it was 2 o’clock in the morning when I arrived at her doorstep, and you bet I was tired and she was sleepy, she even had early morning class the next day!
Maybe I should specify it – the first meeting with your old friend after a number of years would be a really good stress-buster.
And I do love my not-so-frequent dates with my girlfriend, Haz – it is strange that we normally would be out of breath talking non-stop. Hanee would even give Haz the co-driver seat to Haz if I were driving, because she knows we’d have plenty to say to each other along the journey.
Oh, I do need my girlfriends. I really do.
4. Reading in coffee shops
Now that I have talked about finding solace in people, I need to reiterate: I’m no extrovert by nature. I did various tests since I was in secondary school and it still doesn’t change much. I’m somewhere in the middle of extroversion and introversion.
And by that, I need both a personal space AND spending good time with friends.
And at times when my introversion is kicking in, I could not be happier with a cup of coffee and a good book.
I used to love Costa Coffee in Manchester, particularly in Arndale. My favourite is the one in Waterstone’s bookstore. I remember seeking refuge from my frustration due to my badly-answered examination at a table facing the old buildings in winter.
I savour the moment when I am actually listening to myself, jotting down personal thoughts and all. I guess everyone needs some times to pause and reflect. And make plans to improve things and self, ultimately.
That is why I love travelling alone. Times spent waiting in airports and train stations and bus stations would have me sitting contentedly in corner of a coffee shop, with a cup of cappuccino – large size.
I know how hypocritical it is for me to include this one, but it still is, whenever I’m doing it, reckoned as one of my favourite stress-busters. It is just that before I get to the part where stress is busted, I have to drag myself into doing it.
I wish I could have enough drive to exercise more now, that 45 hours of my time per week is spent in a cubicle (if not driving to some places) which limits my creativity if not sucking my sanity away.
And I know I’d need it most when my body starts to ache, or before I began a long journey or a tiring week. I’ve tried professional massage the other day when my body started to feel the pain, but it worked only at the moment I was being massaged. The next day the pain came back, and then I realised that the money paid to the masseuse was money burnt for no return.