12 Ways to take control of your life

Dec 10, 2009 at 2:46 p.m. ET

Managing 576 Facebook friends, three email accounts, two Twitter identities and a social calendar that rivals that of a celebrity can be exhausting -- and, arguably, can cause premature graying, dark under-eye circles and really unnecessary bitchiness. That's why you need a zen plan this year to relax, refresh and reenergize while you take over the world one status update at a time. The key: Effective time management. Here's how to take control in 2010 and beyond.

Woman Drinking Tea by Window

12. Morning "me" time

Get up 20 minutes earlier and do something just for you. Read a favorite book or magazine, drink a cup of tea and watch the sun come up, do yoga, take a walk -- whatever it is by starting your day in a peaceful state of mind you will set yourself on a more peacefully productive path.

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  1. Power-down. Turn off your BlackBerry, unplug your TV and just de-clog your brain for the day.
  2. Relaxation can be magical.
  3. Find your calm. We all have our own sense chillers – find yours and use them.
  4. Rediscover nature. Observe the stars, oceans, or any other calming natural beauty.
  5. Treat yourself: Whether it's to a sundae or a spa day, indulge in what you crave.

11. Learn to say "maybe"

If the thought of saying "no" makes you feel like you may be served a one-way ticket to the fiery gates, then try on "maybe" for size. This way you can buy yourself some time and really think about what you are being sold and decide if it is actually something to which you want to commit.

10. Identify your zen senses

Pinpoint three things that instantly make you feel calm. Typically go-to zen triggers leverage your five senses: Smell (incense), touch (warm bath), sight (sunset), taste (glass of wine) and sound (soft music). Make an appointment with one of these daily.

9. Create a sanctuary in your home

At least one place in your home should be a quiet, beautiful zone to which you can retreat for a deep breath or two. Whether it's your bedroom, your bathroom, a hidden spot in your yard, choose a spot to create an atmosphere that allows you to take five.

8. De-tech

Unless you are an on-call doc, power off your tech devices once in a while and accept that the world won't stop if you do for an hour or so. Relaxation magic can happen when you relinquish the technology leash.

7. Take mental health days

To avoid checking into the hospital for fatigue, tabloid style, gift yourself a mental health day every now and then. It's the "Ahhhhhh" that every over-achiever deserves and needs to stay cool, calm and collected.

Next: the top 6 ways to take back control of your life

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