Stress is a byproduct of daily life. To combat the ill effects of excessive stress levels, people tend to seek out diversions. These pleasurable distractions are usually near their home or work environments. A convenient location helps to maintain a work—life balance and minimizes the possibility of making excuses for why there’s not adequate time to relax.
Sometimes all it takes is a refreshing walk or listening to music. While scheduled meditation sessions are advocated by numerous wellness professionals, many people find it difficult to maintain this daily habit. Finding a suitable activity can sometimes escalate stress levels. If one activity isn’t a “good fit” the pressure is on to find another.
For daily stress reduction, I gravitate toward things that I enjoy. If I don’t like something, I’ll be less likely to follow through. Hiking, biking, and swimming are my go to sports. Weather and availability can sometimes create obstacles. For months, I was unable to swim because my health club was renovating the pool. I had to use the time I usually allot to that activity to do something else. Now that the pool is open, I will add swimming back to my weekly routine.
When situations cause a break in my routine, my stress levels will climb. As a travel writer, I spend a considerable amount of time away from my home environment. Usually hotels, resorts and ships have a fitness center. On a cruise ship, I can easily walk 30 floors or more in a day since I avoid using elevators. The quality of fitness options varies from location to location. Oftentimes, I adjust my routine based on what I find.
Staying with relatives can create exercise barriers. When I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson in India, it wasn’t possible to do anything other than walking. There were no health clubs nearby and I didn’t care to do floor exercises on a marble floor. My body missed an active lifestyle and craved some form of activity. I had to wait patiently until I returned.
After spending the month of January traveling to various places in Asia, I was eager to return home. Jet lag went into high gear. Exercise needed to be put on hold. An unexpected trip to see my elderly mom who was in declining health added more stress and a prolonged period of inactivity. Due to situations beyond my control, I stayed in three different households during my week in Chicago. I spent most of my time sitting by my mom’s bedside with an occasional walk to a nearby restaurant or store. Expensive suburban Uber fares forestalled my desire to seek out a health club.
When I finally returned home, I was exhausted but searching for a major stress reducer. Walking around the neighborhood was worthless. I needed something stronger. Heading to the mountains was my prime choice. As soon as Denver was in my rearview mirror, I started to feel better. Mother Nature’s majesty created a calming effect.
The finishing touch was skiing the next day. After a couple of weeks of ample snowfalls, the runs at Keystone Resort were in phenomenal shape. The weather cooperated with partly cloudy skies and a temperature that lingered around thirty-five degrees. With a minimal number of fellow skiers, I skied without worrying about others.
Back in my mountain home, I felt amazing. The weeks of tension had vanished. My mind and body had rebooted. The mountains and skiing had done the trick. While it’s not possible to ski on a regular basis, I recommend combining a natural setting with a favorite activity for stress reduction.
Sandra Bornstein is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She shares her experiences and recommendations on this blog and on other websites. Check out Sandra’s second website, https://thetravelingbornsteins.com.
Sandra is the content coordinator for Golden Living, a Best Version Media publication. In addition to writing family and business feature stories, she contributes a monthly travel tip column. She also writes for print and online media.
Sandra is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. This memoir highlights Sandra’s living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. As a licensed Colorado teacher, Sandra has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad. She also taught college level courses.
Sandra’s memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.