Sometimes I feel like such a champion, unstoppable, as I check off my never ending To Do List. And sometimes I want to just burn the list and pull out of my driveway and turn right. That would be North, my every day requires me to turn left. Let's just call it the ups and downs of life.  Anyone remember those old commercials "STRESS - The Silent Killer"?  So let's talk stress, not the killing kind, but the kind that makes you put your keys in the fridge, yell at some undeserving sales person, or eat a box of Madeline's on your way home from work that you had to specifically go out of your way for. Those are my favorite cookies, although I admit to nothing.

Well, life requires balance, kind of like when you start the day with an amazingly healthy breakfast of green juice and Greek yogurt with fruit and seeds and you get to work and some sneaky well meaning saboteur has placed a red velvet cupcake on your desk. Sure I healthfully give it away to someone else. NOT! Really, who gives away a cup cake?   Balance ~ it's why we sometimes order french fries with a salad (I can't be the only one!).  Balance ~ it's having one girls night and one night date night. Balance ~ it's splurging on a designer purse and going to the dollar store to buy toothpaste.

In Yoga there is a counter balance for every asana (pose). So if you spend a few minutes bending over a good stretch in the opposite direction is then called for.  If you've spent time traveling this summer, fall may find you longing for a little nesting at home.  It's the Ying and Yang of life. The go with the flow, the tune into your inner guide. OK, enough with the metaphors, you get the picture :)

So here's a few (10) things (that work for me) that I hope will inspire you to relax when you're stressed to the max.

Mother nature is always there to lend a helping hand. Get outside,walk, run, skip, jump, sit! That saying stop and smell the roses, it's not an expression, its advice! Really STOP an SMELL the ROSES!
butterfly through the lens of my daughter taken in Venice CA

Start your day with positivity, set your intention, (ex; I'm going to have a fabulous day). Pick a theme for your day,  (ex; I'm calm and confident). Pick a mantra. (ex; I'm full of energy) Youtube is full of guided meditations if you have trouble being still.  Here is the link to my all time favorite morning meditation, I do this one every morning, it's only 10 minutes, and it sets me up for a calm day (among the chaos).
Breathe!  Yup, that's it. Breathe! Studies show that during a stressful day with turning our attention from one thing to the next, not to mention checking social media in between, we fail to talk long deep soothing breaths.  So breathe in and breathe out. S.L.O.W.L.Y.  I recently had to visit the regular doctor (that's rare for me) I guess it made me nervous, they took my blood pressure and told me it was 'alarmingly high'. They gave me 10 minutes to 'try and relax'.  I closed my eyes and I breathed, imagining I was sitting on my dream terrace in Santorini. They took my blood pressure again after the 10 minutes and it was normal.
thinking of this in Santorini brought my BP down!

Exercise, you've heard it all before but it really is a stress buster! Taking a yoga class, a dance class,
Pilates, you'll see how impossible it is to think about all those things stressing you out when you're trying to follow the Zumba teacher, especially when you are totally uncoordinated, again I admit to nothing. If you can't get to a class or it's not in your budget, Youtube is a mecca of free videos. There's also some great apps, I love my Yoga app it's called Yoga Studio by Giam and it was $1.99. It has classes for every level and every issue.
Your own totally underrated bathroom. GOT TUB?

A trip to the spa. Message, facial, mani pedi, whatever your thing is or have a spa day at home. It's no accident that spa sounds like aahhhhh.

Have an artist date with yourself a la Julia Cameron. This can be anything from a solo trip to a museum, your favorite ice cream shop, a trip to the craft store, etc.  I can literally spend an hour browsing Micheal's craft store just to get lost.
vegan ice cream on our latest trip to Carmelas

Reading and writing, curl up with a good book or a journal, write, contemplate, get all those weird thoughts out of your head and onto paper, you will feel so much better!
Naps. And if you can nap outside even better! Pets have the right idea, they wake up, get walked, get fed and then curl up and go back to sleep.

Relax, you deserve it!