WORKING

Friday, January 11, 2008

Balancing Act

Hyun J. Martin plans to carve out about three hours a week to take classes and receive massage treatments at her Bethesda spa, Be You Bi Yu Wellness Center. She knows many of her working customers don't have time for such weekly programs. They show up mainly when they're "in crisis" and overstressed, she says.

Martin, a massage therapist and aesthetician, spends at least 60 hours a week running her business. So a bit of relaxation time for herself will show customers that "I walk the talk," she said.

If you can't get away two or three times a week, she has another suggestion to tackle stress without leaving your desk: Yawn to bring more oxygen to your brain. And then take two or three minutes and breathe deeply.

"Sit and don't think," Martin suggests. As you breathe, "imagine you're bringing in sunlight. Imagine your feet in the water. Everything toxic is out" when you exhale. Then hug yourself.

Or take three to five minutes for something that gives you joy -- "what sings to your heart."

Such short breaks will "balance and center you," she said, and help you through the most hectic day.

-- Vickie Elmer

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