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Guidelines for Low-Stress Living

Personal Matters/Relationships

1. Make time your friend, not your master—practice effective time management.

2. Associate with gentle, kind people who affirm your personhood.

3. Take actions to maintain or regain balance between each of the areas of your life (family/relationships, health, career, spiritual, intellectual, community, etc.).

4. Engage in meaningful, satisfying work.

5. Don’t let work (and ambition) dominate your entire life. Instead, compartmentalize your life into clearly defined work and non-work segments.

6. Do not drift along in troublesome and stressful situations:

  • Let go of unhealthy relationships

  • Take action to settle matters that are troubling you

  • Do not leave upsetting situations unresolved for so long that they make you worry needlessly.

7. Open yourself up to new experiences:

8. Read interesting books and articles to freshen your ideas and broaden your points of view. Keep an open mind. Reduce TV watching or scrolling your social media feeds on your phone.

9. Form at least one or two high-quality relationships with people you can trust and be yourself.

10. Set priorities in your life—review your core values and "obligations" regularly and make sure they are aligned and bring rewards for you. Divest yourself of those not good for you.

11. Maintain positive thoughts, a positive image of yourself, and a positive attitude towards life.

12. Have realistic expectations and goals for yourself and others.

13. Maintain a sense of humour about life and yourself.


1. Find time every day for unplugging, detachment and relaxation.

2. Learn and practice mindfulness—body awareness/monitoring, focused breathing, and deep relaxation.

3. Find some time every day—even if only ten minutes—for complete privacy, alone with your thoughts, free from pressures and responsibilities.

4. Have one or more pastimes (hobbies, recreational sports) that give you a chance to do something relaxing without having to show something for it.

5. Get seven-eight hours of sleep a night.


Note: if you have a medical condition or have been prescribed medications or supplements and are considering making a significant shift in your diet, check in and follow the guidance of a medical professional.

1. Eat more whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

2. Eat more healthy fats, such as those found in olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts, soybeans, tofu, and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout).

3. Stay away from unhealthy fats (trans fats), such as packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, and commercially baked pastries, cookies, donuts, muffins, and cakes.

4. Decrease consumption of meat: turn to poultry and fish.

5. Form and keep sensible eating habits:

  • Eat sweets rarely (reduce sugar consumption)

  • Minimize your intake of "junk" foods

  • Emphasize foods you like that are good for you

  • Minimize the use of caffeine—coffee, tea, cola drinks, cocoa

  • Eat moderate quantities, not until "stuffed."

6. Reduce salt consumption.

7. Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly. Because digestion begins in the mouth, don't wash food down with fluids.

8. If you smoke, QUIT.

9. Use alcohol or cannabis only for occasional social functions, if at all. Don't let it use you.

10. Eliminate the use of recreational drugs.


1. If you haven't exercised in some time, or have health concerns, talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

2. If you’re new to exercising—build up your fitness gradually.

3. Pick an activity that you enjoy. Almost any form of exercise can increase your fitness level and reduce stress—walking, gardening, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, hiking, yoga, bicycling, weightlifting or swimming.

4. According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more.

5. Develop and engage in a regular exercise program at least 3 times a week.

6. Decrease your body weight to your healthy weight range and keep it there.

7. Use aerobic exercise to build your health to a high level of conditioning.

Additional Resources:

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