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Archive for the ‘Stress relief’ Category

by twm1340

Fun with Food.  Okay, so I was like totally tired, overworked and mentally exhausted at lunch today.  So what did I do?  First I closed my eyes and willed myself to relax and take a few deep breaths.  Then I started eating.  It was kind of boring; a roast beef sandwhich and some grapes.  I had a lot of grapes.  So of course, I started playing with them. 

 

Grape Toss.  First I tried to toss a few and catch them in my mouth.  Man is that hard to do!  I kept missing.  They were bouncing off my cheek and going down my shirt.  It was hilarious.  Then I noticed that I could see my reflection in the candy machine.  I used my reflection to judge distance, but still couldn’t get it right.  Then I practiced moving the in one smooth motion from the container into my mouth.  After a few practice runs, I did it halfway and tossed it the rest of the way.  Success!  I stopped on that high note.  (Well, it was that or have the people passing by in the hallway notice what I was up to.)

 

So next I put a bunch of grapes on my paper towel to see how many letters of the alphabet I could shape them into.  That was fun, but not giggle-worthy like the grape toss.  I squished one in my hand just to see what would happen.  (It just dripped some juice and got a little messy – no squirting across the room or anything.)  Finally I hit upon a great idea.  Grape dodgeball!  Sure – line up 2 sides of players.  Use a slighter bigger grape to be the ball.  Using a man from Team 1, hit it toward a player on Team 2.  If it hits them, that player is eaten!  Keep going until all team members have been taken out.  I accidentally ate the ball and not the player on the first game.  But on game 2, Team 2 was Victorious.  (Which is a good thing, because I think Team 1 won game 1, but I ran out of time to play the tie-breaker game).

 

I think that was one of the most fun lunch times I’ve had in quite a while.  I wonder what suprises tomorrow’s lunch might hold?

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AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by WTL photos

In the middle of a savage zombie invasion, your heart beat increases, adrenaline flows through your body, and your muscles stiffen in anticipation of a possible impact to the body.

Luckily for most of us we won’t face the zombie apocalypse anytime soon.  But sometimes we can experience this same stress response in our daily lives.  One big problem, or a barrage of smaller ones, add up and overload both mind and body.  While we can recover from a day or two of such stress, week after week of “fight or flight” can leave us feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.

Why does this happen?  I know I’m not the only one waiting on hold forever, in endless line, or getting their paperwork wet in the rain that curses the fact that they got out of bed this morning.  On days like this, I don’t laugh off my over-reaction to muddy dog prints on the floor, I yell at the dog and angrily wipe them up while silently contemplating if anyone I know would like a new pet.

Recognizing this build-up before it gets to the blow-out point can be a lifesaver.  A good way to do this is to teach yourself to take a break each time you notice the worry, frustration, and anxiety are building up.  When you feel too busy to stop, that’s a good sign you need to slow down.

Like any other skill, it takes practice. There are several strategies you can use to do this.  One is to set times during the day to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. If for example, you notice at your 10:00 break that you are feeling worried, overwhelmed or upset, you can take a few minutes to do some deep breathing, put on some fun music or take a walk to change your focus. If you’re feeling fine, you can simply continue with your day.

You can also teach yourself to stop for a few minutes whenever you feel stressed. This is harder to do, as you have to consciously realize that you are feeling stressed.  Once you recognize the signals – shallow breathing, stiff shoulders or back, headache, tired eyes, etc, you can take a few moments to recover. Close your eyes and simply sit still for a few minutes.  If your mind is racing too much, count backwards from 50 to 1 or 100 to 1 until you are breathing deeper and feeling calmer.

Amazingly even 1-2 minutes of deep breathing can improve your mood. You’ll find longer lasting relief by taking a 10-15 minute break, but any break at all will help you refocus your attention, breaking the cycle of worry, complaining and anger you feel.

Because it’s hard to think of ideas to break your negative thinking while it’s happening, here are few ideas:

  • Relax. Close your eyes.  This rests your eyes and your mind.  In the fluorescent jungle the lights can dry our eyes and cause eyestrain bringing on a headache.  Taking a few minutes to rest can stop a headache before it starts.
  • Refocus. Keep some pictures, quotes or other inspiration material around.  Take a few minutes away from what you’re doing.  Let yourself just “be” for a moment.  Even 5 minutes of refocusing time can make a huge difference.
  • Change perspective. Play some music.  Classics can be soothing and calming, while rock, pop or disco are upbeat and energetic.  Chair dancing to some fun tunes can liven up almost any task.
  • Wake up. Get some air.  It’s surprising what a little fresh air can do for you.  You’ll breathe deeper, blink a little in the bright light, get your blood flowing by walking around and go back to work feel much more refreshed.
  • Fun. Do something fun for a few minutes.  Talk to a coworker, share a joke, read the comics or watch a cartoon on your MP3.  Doing something you enjoy can lighten your mood and when you return your hurdles won’t seem insurmountable anymore.
  • Get some support. Talk to a friend.  Give them a call or send an email.  Hearing a friendly voice or venting a little can take the stress down a level.  Knowing someone cares helps you feel loved and reminds you of your strengths.

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Originally uploaded by *brynne

Technically Teddy Bear Day was yesterday, on the 9th, but since I didn’t think up this poem until today, I’m calling a Do-Over and celebrating now. So here goes:

National Teddy Bear Day
Teddy bears are always nice, and never –ever rude
They spread love and laughter and a happy attitude

Teddy bears are always humble, they never brag and boast
And they’ll never tell a secret, or steal your piece of toast

Teddy bears and warm and snuggly, they’re dear to our heart
They love to meet all our friends, and I’ve yet to hear one fart

Teddy bears come in every shape and size
And each one is perfect in their owner’s eyes

Better than any warrior, Teddy bears are courageous
Their kind-hearted, joyful nature is a bit contagious

Through every storm in life, they’ll help you get through
And all they ask in return, is a little love from you.

Have you hugged your Teddy Bear today?

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Head Over Heels Originally uploaded by Ryan Brenizer

Recently I’ve begun exercising again. I like to exercise because my body feels stronger and more limber after a workout. But like many people, after a long day of work the idea of a workout can be overwhelming.

For me exercise is hard to stick with because if it becomes too boring, repetitive or even just too hard, I tend to skip it. Once you skip one session, then you skip another and another and before you know it a month has gone by and you haven’t done anything.

Luckily, this time I had a real excuse. I got a severe sinus infection that caused me to be sick for several weeks.  The first week was a killer with fever, headache, sneezing, and my lingering symptom – coughing.  Unfortunately my cough lasted for an additional 3 weeks. I couldn’t work out without having a serious coughing fit for almost a month.

Now that I’m feeling better, I’m energized and ready to make my body stronger than ever. Evidence shows that a fit body has a better immune system than a couch potato, so I hope to help fend off any more future infections before they start.

Here are a few tips and ideas I use to stay motivated and interested in my workout.

Don’t pay attention to the scale. This can be a trap. For instance I worked out for a month, and only lost 10 pounds. I felt bad at first like I should have lost more, but then I realized that in the first month it was more important to work out every day and be consistent, that it was to lose weight. And I wasn’t dieting. I was eating the same things as before. Sure I could lose it faster if I dieted, but sticking to a daily workout is my main weakness, not my diet.

Add some variety – watch TV infomercials. One easy way to add new moves to your workout routine is to watch exercise infomercials. You can record them on your DVR and play them at your convenience. Try a few of the moves and see if you like them. You can try 3 or 4 moves from each ½ hour spot and make up an entire 30-minute routine of new moves. For me this also inspired me to buy some new DVDs which gave me some fun new dance workouts that I really enjoy.

Start with 10 minutes. Sometimes I would skip a workout because I felt like I didn’t enough energy or time for a 30 minute workout. Now I tell myself to just do 10 minutes. I figure doing a little is better than doing none. To my surprise, I often start feeling those exercise endorphins and get a rush of energy that lets me keep going for the entire 30 minutes – or even longer!

If you fall, get back up again. I used to think that if I could barely keep up with the workout or if I stumbled through the moves that I should just give up. Surely if I can only do a quarter of a routine, I might as well quit? But I was tired of not fitting into my clothes, and sometimes aches and pains would keep me up at night. Once I stuck with the routine for a solid week, I learned the moves better and didn’t stumble or fall. Even if I still couldn’t complete the routine, I could do more than the first day. Also, watching infomercial workouts gave me the inspiration of knowing there were others who were able to overcome the same obstacles and succeed. It was like a 30 minute pep talk.

Don’t overdo it. Sometimes when you’re out-of-shape you feel the urge to push through the pain and do more. We’ve grown up hearing “no pain – no gain.” And sometimes we foolishly believe it. But when you feel pain, enough to where you want to stop, it’s a signal telling you to quit doing that. Switch areas. If you arms hurt, start doing leg lifts. If your knees ache, try a sit-up or some arm punches. Don’t let pain stop you from working out. Instead stop the pain and try moving something that doesn’t hurt.

Have Fun. This tip is the best advice, but most overlooked. Workouts may never be easy. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyable. Try imagining all your stress leaving through each kick. When you punch, imagine knocking out your troubles and pummeling them into submission. Put on lively music and time your punches to match the beat. Vary your workout routine until find several that you like the best. For instance I don’t like Pilates very much, but I enjoy Yoga and stretching. Also, I alternate dance workouts with weight lifting and cardio routines.

And remember to make good health your number one goal. Weight loss is great, but remembers to look at the overall picture.

Here a few overlooked benefits of exercise:

  • Better sleep.
  • Groceries are easier to carry.
  • Warms you up when you’re cold. Better than a blanket.
  • Improves blood flow. May get rid of cold hands and feet.
  • Increases oxygen. Fuels your brain. (Seriously trying working on something complicated an hour after you workout. You’ll have better concentration.)
  • Gets rid of aches and pains. (Sure you may be sore from time to time, but nagging muscle aches and a sore back often go away after just a week or two of working out.)
  • Releases stress and tension. Exercise endorphins release feel-good chemicals that lift your mood while you develop your body.

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As you may already know, April is National Humor Month. I haven’t been feeling quite so happy myself, so I conducted a little research online.  There are loads of fun, playful, humorous people out there if you know where to look.

One of the first things I found was the National Humor Month web site of Steve Wilson. Steve Wilson is a great inspiration for humor.  He is the found of the World Laugher Tour.  The Laughter Tour’s mission is to bring health, happiness and peace through laughter. His Certified Laughter Leader Training is a program for professionals of all walks of life.  Counselors, therapists, corporation CEO’s, anyone would wants to use the positive benefits of laughter in their life. 

Another great hero of the ha-ha is Dr. Madan Kataria or Dr. K.  He is the founder of the sensational Laughter Yoga. Based in India, this giggling guru teaches us all to let our laughter fly. His laughter clubs have spread throughout the world and have been featured on several TV shows and magazines.  Laughter clubs are free for anyone to join, and if you have a lack of laughter in your life, joining with other funny folks can help you reconnect to the joy and passion of laughing for no reason at all.

Yet another fantastic place is Giggle Poetry.com.  This silly site will have you chuckling in no time. Full of poems from great writers like Bruce Lansky, Kenn Nesbitt, and others, these witty rhyming romps will have you laughing and singing along.  Try the Battle Hymn of the Repulsive by Michael Bowman (sung to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.)  Or try Parent-Teacher Conference by Darren Sardelli.  It will remind you of the ups and downs of school life.  (And maybe make your own job seem just a bit better.)

Check out this article for more ideas to celebrate National Humor Month.  The time is upon you to find your fun.  Get out there and laugh your butt off!

Picture by American Toycoon

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I love the Blues Brothers movie.  It’s a classic that I watch over and over again. The entire movie is so fun and makes you want to get up and dance.  One of my favorite scenes is when they go the music store to buy some instruments and gear.  Ray Charles starts playing the old beat-up piano to show them it still works.

It’s so fun to see all those people of different ages dancing in the street. I love all the cool dance moves like The Bird, The Fly, and The Monkey.  Plus the old standby The Twist.  I love how everyone is letting loose and having fun.  An old man in the back, some more energetic adults in the middle and little kids up front.  It really makes you want to get up and boogie!  I have a Blues Brothers music CD and whenever I hear that song I think of this scene.  It always makes me smile.

The best part is “shaking your tailfeather.”  If you want to have some real fun dancing, just wiggle your butt around like this move suggests, and you can’t help but laugh! If anyone out there knows where you can find an oldie site that shows you all those old dance moves like the Mashed Potato let me know.  I found one entry under Wikipedia for “Shake a Tailfeather,” but I’m sure video of the moves would be better.

If you get the chance you should go shake your tailfeather today.  I’m sure you’ll have fun if you do.

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Cute.Cumber by HaMeD!caL

Today see if you can relax as completely as this sweet little cucumber. Lie back, put up your feet and dream a little dream. If you can relax your body and mind this completely you know it’s been a good day.

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