Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Staying Sane February

Most of us encounter more than our desired share of stress in any given day/week/month. It's important to find ways to unwind in order to maintain a healthy and balanced life. The Minimalist team has decided to share one thing we are each doing every month to recenter. Maybe this is something we do routinely, or perhaps it's a positive change we are just now making. Feel free to share your tips for "staying sane" with us!

KZ - Lately I've been feeling so excited about so many things that I find it hard to stay focused and be productive. (This is an issue I can't complain too much about). In order to work off some of the extra energy, I will blast my favorite music and have my own little private dance party. Sometimes these rockstar sessions last for up to 20 minutes - a free workout! I also use this time to imagine the things I want to happen becoming a reality.

ES - Being in graduate school means my days are pretty heavily scheduled. Breaks between classes are filled with homework, meetings, errands, appointments, library searches, JRGBC work, studio time and the like. A few weeks ago I started walking (again) to and from campus which is around 1.5 miles from my apartment. Living in Seattle for many years without a car, it's familiar to have my iPod bumpin' and my feet on the sidewalks and lately I find it a great way to have some time to myself and get some fresh air! Plus, it's free and on the days when I'm too busy and a little stressed about not having time to work out - I've gotten a good three mile walk in.

AMV - Much of the time, my insanity comes from living in the past or future and not paying attention to whatever it is I'm doing currently. I'm thinking about the work meeting yesterday, and what I need at Kroger tomorrow, and who I'm meeting up with on Saturday. My mind is racing and I start to feel overwhelmed. At this point, I can sometimes manage to "catch" myself doing the past/future worry cycle. The simple act of catching myself, of saying, "Oh, look, you're doing that thing again," usually improves my mood and stops the insanity. Next thing I know, I can "catch" myself being present, concentrating on my current activity. For further reading, get your hands on any Jon Kabat-Zinn book and add it to your permanent collection to refer to whenever you feel some insanity bubbling up. As my good friend once told me after I recommended one of Zinn's books to her, "This (book) is a game-changer".

EJ - This past fall and winter were completely chaotic, and left me searching for a way to unwind. My solution? I started doing yoga for the first time in my life. When I have an especially stressful day at work, I'll clear my plans before eating dinner, play some tunes, and have an hour long yoga session in my living room. The stretching definitely isn't for sissies, but nothing beats letting go of your stress while taking deep breaths. It's the epitome of re-centering yourself.

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