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Survive hard times: beat stress

Published:Wednesday | April 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Times are tough, that's nothing new. In order to beat inflation and deal with the rising price of gas, more people are driving less. This means we are cutting back on pleasure trips. But we don't have to cut back to the extent that we become trapped in our houses. Try these options:

Car pool. Jamaicans do not like car pooling as we are very individualistic, but it can cut down on the petrol bills and we can still enjoy those nice, long trips to the country or beach.

Rent a bus. The other day a friend of mine was planning a trip. She considered chartering a minibus but it was going to cost $40,000 for the day. We checked the rent- a-car companies and would you believe that it costs about $9,000 per day to rent a mini-bus. Good option for large groups planning a long trip.

Beaches close to Kingston. Want a trip to the beach. You do not have to go way out of town. Hellshire is still a great place, just a little crowded sometimes. You may try it earlier in the morning or later in the evening. If you want a little more privacy, do Fort Clarence Beach. By the way, the mineral bath at Rockfort is still an interesting place to go.

A trip to Lime Cay. Strongly recommended. Drive to Morgan's Harbour, take the ferry to Lime Cay. The cost of the ferry service is affordable. Exciting trip. Remember Lime Cay does not have restrooms or restaurants so remember to take your meals. Avoid it on public holidays, it can get crowded.

The mountains. I am on a personal mission to promote the Blue Mountains. The mountains are a paradise, our great national treasure. It is surprising that in a mountainous country like Jamaica many persons are afraid to drive to the mountains. My favourite stop is Irish Town. I strongly recommend breakfast or lunch at the Crystal Edge restaurant - great place, nice décor. The food is great and affordable. The service is excellent and personable. Check it out. You may venture further with the family and spend a day at the camp site at Hollywell Park. Great day out for groups or families. Stressed and wanting some peace and quiet, spend some time at the StarLite Chalet in Silver Hill.

Rent a villa. If you want to spend some time away but you can't afford a hotel room, pool funds together as a group or families and rent a villa. You can still have a great time and yet save some money.

Hey friends, it is spring, the place is getting green again. Get out of your house, especially over Easter weekend. Beat stress. Survive hard times. Life is short, enjoy it.

Dr Wendel Abel is a consultant psychiatrist and head, Section of Psychiatry, Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies; email: