1. Have sex. Preferably unpaid. Preferably with someone who turns you on. Preferably with your BlackBerry switched off.
2. Avoid all good literature and film. It will only make you wonder what you’re doing with your life. Watch something from the Heyy Baby genre instead. The advantage of this type of film is that you’re happier if you watch just the first half— that’s one hour saved right there. Or listen to Indian jazz, like I did over last weekend. It’s guaranteed to make you smile incredulously. And you won’t be able to sit through more than an hour.
Spin the wheel: It fights stress, works your thighs, improves your sex life
3. Play with children. I don’t have my own but there are two very willing nieces. It’s quite a trip to immerse yourself in a child’s world every once in a while—so go on, feed their online pets, play their spy games, swap secrets and wisdom (steer clear of Barbie and her accessories please).
4. Empty your house of maids, spouses, parents and children. Sit six inches away from your music system. Put a few cushions under your head and lie down in front of it if you must. Blast your worries away with your favourite soundtrack (and that’s why you must get rid of the gang first—you’re one in a lucky trillion if your favourite soundtrack is any family member’s chart-topper too).
5. See the real India. Hop on a train; go have street food in the old quarter of your city where idlis still cost less than a cigarette; visit a stoic Delhi mosque that’s watched the years whizz by. It’s a guaranteed Big Picture outing, it will give you perspective and make you wonder why on earth you were stressed in the first place.
6. I would say spa, especially if you’re a Vata type like Shoba Narayan and me (don’t miss her column next week), but for that you need time. Opt for a head massage instead. Steer clear of olive, almond, hibiscus and “herbal”—good ol’ coconut oil is the one you want (cheap, best, always reminds you of childhood). For a shot of double distraction, get a pedicure simultaneously.
7. Flirt. If you get a response, you’ll definitely forget about stress.
8. If you don’t get a response, there’s always beer. I’m likely to be the object of much public scorn, but these days I’m hooked on standard-issue Bud. The Indian version, of course.
9. Go for an am walk instead of your regular, after work, pm exercise. You’ll see more smiling senior citizens and less harried senior executives. Promenades and parks are always emptier in the morning. And most car owners are still asleep at this time.
10. Cycle. Okay, you don’t own a cycle, so buy one without blinking. A really good one costs less than Rs10,000— that’s more expensive than the Atlas you learnt to cycle on, but it’s a fraction of the price of the red Porsche in their just-opened Mumbai showroom. Cycles don’t need garages; no one will scratch your cycle; cycling works your thigh muscles (that will also help you execute the first point on this list with greater vigour and enthusiasm); and guess what, you’ve got yourself a new, environment-friendly self; stress will be far from centre stage as you struggle to awaken those muscles. Read our cover story (Page12) if I haven’t convinced you.
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