by Colleen Kettenhofen

“It takes more distress and poison to kill someone who
has peace of mind and loves life.”
Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

  1. Get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., 65% of Americans are sleep deprived. Try and get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  2. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Within the same hour is ideal. Researchers at Stanford University’s Sleep Disorder Center have found it is possible to catch up on sleep during the weekends, but this can also upset your circadian rhythms and leave you more tired on Monday morning.
  3. Do not eat or drink anything within one hour of your bedtime. Your body will only have to work harder to digest your food which interrupts sleep patterns. And by drinking liquids right before bedtime, it’s more likely you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night.
  4. Put your nervous system on glide at least one hour before retiring for the night. You can do this by using soft lighting (no more than 25 watts) relaxing music, a scented bubble bath with candles or some other quiet activity. Try avoiding work at least three hours before you go to bed as this can energize you. Ditto with exercise.
  5. Drink plenty of water during the day. Dehydration causes you to feel fatigued even if you are eating healthy and going to bed at a reasonable hour.
  6. Plan at least one activity during the day that gives you pleasure and energizes you just to think about it.
  7. Socialize with others. Make certain you spend quality time with other adults during the day. And if you work outside the home, preferably where you can discuss something besides business or the kids.
  8. Exercise in the morning. Depending on your biorhythms and schedule, many attendees in my speaking engagements report that morning exercise gives them increased energy and a sense of greater calm during the workday. They often tell me they have to “drag themselves” out the door, but feel so much better afterwards.
  9. Hot and cold shower. Research shows that upon awakening in the a.m., take a hot shower with eucalyptus oil sprinkled on a loofah sponge. End with a shot of cooler water. This will invigorate your body, stimulate blood flow and bring oxygen to your cells.
  10. Pour on the protein. Foods rich in protein help improve mental acuity and slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Eggs, fish, low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, also meat and poultry if you’re not a vegetarian. Still, make sure you include plenty of other foods for moderation.
  11. Cut back on caffeine. If you love coffee or colas (coffee lovers I can relate) cut back and consider adding green tea to your daily regimen. Green tea contains powerful anti-oxidants and less caffeine. Enough caffeine to perk you up but usually not enough to experience that crash later in the day.
  12. Have a goal of taking at least two weeks vacation time a year. Work your way up to three and four weeks a year. Start taking off two days per week (if that’s at all possible) where you refuse to do any type of work that would tax your mind and stress you out. If you are very busy or self employed like I am, make this something to strive for in the future.
  13. Spend time actually planning a getaway vacation. For many of us, staying home for a holiday is nice, but we’re still surrounded by bills, laundry, phone calls and other stressful distractions. Consider a goal of taking that dream destination vacation you’ve always wanted whether it’s to Tahiti, Paris, or a national park. If this seems virtually impossible, I strongly recommend you read the article titled “How to Set Goals and Get What You Want” under the FREE articles section. I dreamed of an Alaska cruise for many years, practiced the simple time-tested techniques in that article, and will be cruising there for a third time this May.
  14. Get outdoors every day even if it’s overcast. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, winters are normally gray. This year has been unusual with its turquoise-blue sunny skies and temperatures reaching almost 70 degrees in January. However, it’s a proven fact that with reduced sunlight, many people all over the world suffer from SAD, Seasonal Affect Disorder, during the winter months. Go to or to find out more about this often debilitating disorder.
  15. Listen to mood enhancing music during the day. What type of music energizes you and gets those feel-good hormones into your brain? Blues and Contemporary Smooth Jazz? R&B or rock and roll? A word of caution: be careful listening to your favorite music right before bedtime. I will often listen to Contemporary Smooth Jazz…lots of saxophone and trumpets late into the night, and often it energizes me rather than putting me to sleep.

Take personal responsibility for maximizing your success and minimizing stress. You can’t control many external circumstances such as other people, traffic and weather; but you can control your environment. Write down three action steps you’ll take to improve your well being. Share these with someone. Develop a buddy system for accountability. When you write them down and commit to them, you’re more likely to follow through. Here’s to much success and less stress!

March 24th, 2005

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen’s contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article. Colleen Kettenhofen is a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of “The Masters of Success ,” featured on NBC’s Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. For free articles, video clips, and e-newsletter, visit Colleen’s area of expertise are leadership, managing people, life balance, difficult people, presentation skills. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.


She can be reached at contact information listed below:

Colleen Kettenhofen

(971) 212-0479


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