Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Stress 2

Hi guys,

More about how I deal with Holiday stress.

The most important tool for a calm, relaxed Christmas Season is retaining my routine. Each morning I get up at a set time, put on the coffee, turn on my computer and play nature sounds I discovered through Sound Sleeping. I do some easy body stretching, locate where tension might have built up over night, address these areas of tension through a series of contraction / relaxation. To most effectively relax tension in a muscle or muscle group one should breath in slowly while contracting said muscle, hold in contraction for a slow count to ten still inhaling, and then let the muscle suddenly relax with a nice energetic exhalation of breath. I eat breakfast, have a cup of coffee, write about three lighthearted pages in my journal, go for a 20 min. to 1 hr. walk through my local park or river bank trail, put on some relaxing music, shower, “prettify”, and leave for work. By the way, I’m an early riser.

Mornings are of major importance to me. If I can begin my day in a laid back and routine way, I am way more likely to achieve relaxation and calm throughout my day. Stress and tension breed further stress and tension so avoidance is the best remedy. It was a few years ago at around Christmas I started to regiment my mornings. I couldn’t believe how much it benefited my entire day and night. I then began to implement the regiment into my daily routine throughout the year. Last year, when I discovered Sound Sleeping, I found yet another tool to aid in creating a calm and relaxing environment to complement my routine. In the morning I listen to peaceful environmental sounds, and in the evening I play around with the Drum Sleep Aid, I can often loose myself in this “play” for an hour or more. The interesting reality is that it provides enjoyment without heightened stimulation. I find excess stimulation during the evening hours greatly reduces my chances of falling asleep later on. I then choose my mp3 selection for the next morning. I listen to a few each night to make my selection. This procedure again aids in my evening relaxation routine.

I suggested a couple of weeks ago, that you listen through some of the selections and play with the Drum Aid. If you have done so, why not try incorporating them into your daily routine. I would really appreciate some feedback on how these tools work, or have been working for you. Let’s make this a dialogue instead of a blog.

I wish you, if not a stress free week, at least a stress reduced week.

Sleep well
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Stress

Hi Folks,

Hope you’ve had a restful week, ya right! Here comes Xmas.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the Christmas holiday season is the most stressful time of the year. And the season seems to become longer and longer as the years role by. I’m a musician and music enthusiast. Concerts abound, Christmas parties become more and more frequent, and unfortunately, these social commitments come at my busiest time of year professionally. I’m constantly bombarded with choices and decisions, and each seems to come with a sense of guilt because I always feel I’m choosing him over her, these guys over those guys. So for the few weeks I’m going to travel off my former path and discuss how I deal with Holiday Stress.

I haven’t found any profound answers to the “choice” dilemma, that’s just the nature of the season. What I find I do have control over is my response to having to make these choices and the environment in which these choices are made. Personally, I need to stick to my routines even more strictly. Routine provides both my body and my mind with a structure from which to achieve relaxation and calm. If I keep my “cool” at work and due regular check-ins, it is much easier to deal with the choices I must make for my weekends and evenings. I’ve learned to list and prioritize my choices, balancing family, friends, and concerts. One the choice is made I write it in my day timer in ink. This is a visual reminder that once the decision is made, it should not be second-guessed. Key to the success of this strategy is to complete the task in one fell swoop. I choose an early evening, create as relaxed stress free environment as possible, Make my list, “check it twice”, delete the “naughty”, highlight the “nice”, and make my decisions. If new social opportunities come up I check with my day planner. If I’m free, I choose whether I want to attend or take the evening off. If the evening has been previously book I simply say, “I’m sorry, but I already have plans”. I sometimes miss a great event, but I retain my sanity.

I wish you a Merry Christmas Season and will check in again next week

Sound Sleeping,
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