When electric companies are overtaxed by demands on their energy, they slip into brownout mode to give the system a break. G. Gaynor McTigue, author of "Why Make Yourself Crazy? Strategies for a Stress-Free Life" offers five tips for a mental brownout, since it is superior to a complete mental meltdown. 1) Clean up your clutter. McTigue says physical clutter can exacerbate mental clutter. 2) Everything in its place. Dumping your jacket on the couch attracts other jackets, again, making clutter. 3) Do extra cooking now, to have "unwind" time later. If you've already frozen that little extra from dinner, it's a simple matter to kick back while it defrosts. 4) A 20 to 30 minute nap can really help pull you through that hump in the day, when everyone else starts to drag. 5) Always have a trip planned. According to McTigue, just planning a trip reduces stress. Little weekend jaunts are fine, but make sure there is a big, long vacation somewhere on the horizon. It usually takes people a week just unwind and get used to not working.
McTigue believes that physical clutter -- the mountains of stuff in our office, house, attic, garage, etc. -- becomes mental clutter.
While the solution seems obvious, it's often hard to find time to de-clutter, because as the clutter accumulates, "the job becomes more frightening."
But there's a problem with that: Things "tend to attract other things and surfaces and spaces tend to disappear," McTigue says.
Meanwhile, everyone else in the household unwittingly follows your lead and sets their things on that recliner, too.
McTigue advises circumventing that stress and storing things where they belong.
Studies show that people are more productive and alert when they take afternoon naps, according to McTigue.
"You don't need a cot or a bed.
Just put your chair back and close your eyes," he says.
A short nap "will get you through that valley in the afternoon when everyone feels tired and draggy."
Keep in mind, though, that a long nap could make it harder to fall asleep at night, so limit your naps to 20 to 30 minutes.
Whether it's a weekend jaunt or a world tour, "the mere act of planning a trip is liberating, uplifting and something to look forward to."
That's why McTigue recommends taking vacations in 2- to 3-week blocks (or more, if you can) rather than a few days or a week at a time.
McTigue also insists that people should be vigilant about taking vacations, even if the thought of spending the money is a concern.
You're enjoying it while looking forward to it.
One final thought: "Stress is a meltdown
or brownout," according to McTigue.
"There's a way to sidestep that: Never let it get that far to the point of meltdown.
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