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There’s something nagging at the back of your brain. It’s the stress of a bill that has gone unpaid or a project for work that you can’t get ahead of. It’s the stress of seeing your toddler in pain from an ear infection that just won’t respond to treatment. It’s easy to become overwhelmed especially when stressors not only dominate your waking hours, but your sleep, too.

Stress affects more than just our minds—it has a proven deleterious effect on our bodies.[1] But stress is not invincible; you can take back control by simply taking a break. All you have to do is give yourself permission to step away from the situation for a short time. Yes, you have a bill on your desk that is past due. The bill isn’t going anywhere.

This is not to say that you should engage in avoidance tactics. That may, in fact, exacerbate the problem. But take 20 minutes for yourself. Spend the time listening to your favorite music or enjoy a cup of tea (but not alcohol, which is a depressant). Perform deep breathing exercises.

Stepping away from the stressor for even a short time will let you relax enough to have a different perspective on it. When you get back to your desk, your mind may be open enough to find a creative solution to the problem.


[1] Retrieved on Nov. 28, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx.