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  1. #1
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    Favorite stress reduction methods?

    I am always on the lookout for good stress reduction methods, particularly since my job has been extremely stressful recently, so I thought it might be interesting if people were willing to share some of their favorite methods of reducing stress.

    I’ll start. On the weekends I try to reserve at least one day for either an outdoors adventure (hiking, kayaking, etc) or urban exploration (good food or local events). And I try not to check my phone those days unless absolutely necessary.

    During weekdays I attempt to get outside during lunch for at least a few minutes of fresh air, even if it is raining, so that I have a time out from my computer. Plus, I try to go running a few times a week to counteract too much sitting at a desk.

    From a quieter perspective, I always enjoy a good book, escapism in the TB forums (thanks, folks!), and pet therapy. And for extreme instances, there are always cute animal videos for a boost : one can never go wrong with Animal Planet Too Cute | Animal Planet . I recommend the Oskar video.

    Anyway, I would love to hear other people’s favorite stress reduction techniques, if anyone is interested in sharing.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by NWhikergal; 07-16-2015 at 09:44 PM.
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

  2. #2
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    Your methods sound good to me, especially the idea of disconnecting from devices for at least one day on the weekend.

    Lately I have been trying to remind myself that when I am working on multiple projects and feeling stressed, a good night's sleep is good preparation for the next day. My tendency is to stay up late and then (usually) work less effectively in those late-night hours, but with a good 8-9 hours I can get a lot done the next day.

    The dailybunny website is good for cute pictures. I like PhD Comics online, and I always have a couple of books going, plus extra magazines for a late-night browse.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    Pet therapy is probably #1 for me. One look at my little Gracie and my heart just melts.
    I also really love juicing. I tend to workout quite early in the morning and I love getting all my fruits/veggies prepped for juicing. (Sidebar: I really enjoy cooking, and love cutting up fruits/veggies with a sharp knife.) Starting my day with a great workout and a fresh juice really gives me a more positive outlook on my day, leading to less stress later on.
    My partner works down the hall from me so if I'm particularly stressed at work, a quick pop in to say hello will always ease my stress. Talking with one of sisters is also awesome.
    I also love doing research about shoes. You know, to be informed and all. Since I've been into TB, I don't shop as much.
    My foam roller is my BFF. Kind of a "hurts so good" type of thing. Loosens up my muscles and gives me a massage at the same time.
    Being outdoors when it's not winter is definitely on my list as well. Relaxing on The Terrace (the student union), golfing, staring at bodies of water and walking my dog. TV-wise, I'm am an HGTV addict.


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  4. #4
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
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    I think anything that really focuses my attention (because that takes my mind off whatever is bothering me) and doesn't require too much physical exertion (so that I'm able to return to what I'm doing and not pass out at my desk) is very helpful. For me that has been drawing and walking briskly on the treadmill or doing weights.

    Oh, and I shut off my phone and put it in another room when I sleep.

  5. #5
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    Great topic. My main method is yoga. I took my first yoga class in 2008 purely out of curiosity. It was offered free at the gym I had joined at the time. My husband was on a 15 month deployment and I turned to exercise as a way to deal with the stress. The yoga class literally changed my life. I kept up my practice until 2011-14, when I had my two youngest children and was entrenched in babies/toddlerhood. Now they are older and I am so grateful to pick it back up again. Back bends especially have a calming effect for me. I am currently following Ashtanga yoga. I'm working on moving my main practice in the morning and using 15-30 minutes in the evening for working on specific things like head stands, back bends, arm balances.

    I also like having an easy knitting project going. Definitely take a day off screen time/Internet. I try to only read the news once a week, since it is 99% negative. Spending time outside, espcially hiking, is one of my favorite things as well. Meditation. Just taking 5 minutes to focus on the breath and nothing else is calming. Birdwatching. I love trying to ID the birds here.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    I agree with the yoga being a fantastic mental and physical 'release'.

    I've also recently been using an app called Headspace which has 10 minute mindfulness audio sessions. Great for having a very deep 10 minutes refocus during the day.


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    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  7. #7
    Forum Member PaulT00's Avatar
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    My main stress reduction method at the moment is practicing Bikram yoga. I started yoga back in 2003, initially a combination of Power yoga (Astanga based) and a gentler hatha style, then discovered hot yoga and found that it worked better for me. Although recently I've also tried Fierce Grace style which is a combination of Bikram postures with others from Astanga, Yin and other styles, and I've also done a few Astanga classes. I think it's good to mix things up a bit!

    I also use the Headspace app for meditation, and have a 1 year subscription which unlocks a whole range of different guided meditations.

    I find walking the dogs very relaxing... I think it's important to get out in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with reality a bit, every day if possible. Conversely, I enjoy reading for escapism (recently finished 'The Annihilation Score' by Charles Stross, which is pure escapism according to my viewpoint) and can lose myself for hours in a good book.

    In the past, I've also used swimming as a meditative/exercise approach to reducing stress (if one swims say 80 lengths of the pool, mechanically, the mind stills almost automatically) which also helped keep my chronic back issues under control by keeping things loose in a non weight-bearing environment; I used to practice Tai Chi (Yang Short Form) for several years before I discovered Yoga, which was a marvellous way of improving focus. I've also studied Alexander Technique, which is a useful skill from both a physical and mental perspective, as it deals with redirecting ingrained patterns of movement and thought and can be applied as an approach in many situations and other physical activities - for example, applying Alexander Technique principles to yoga practice can be a very interesting experiment.
    A45CC K CQPC 3DCCGES25 SK SCBQKTTMCBLSB TT TSS4 PCSBSCBTT CQPC PQBPQK LT SETT 3DCCQKS19 TT P3DCCTS PP BBLCBCP TTRi QK NFTD A30DLBC

  8. #8
    Forum Member Aeon's Avatar
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    Focusing on my general outlook and what I can specifically control works SO MUCH BETTER than doing "things" to relieve my stress. If I'm stressed and I realize the situation is of my own doing, I remind myself that I can change it and try to start on the steps to do so. If I'm unwilling to make the changes, then I find that my reaction to whatever the situation is often quite a bit less stressful after that because I've accepted that 'it is what it is'. If the stress is caused by someone else, I try to control my response to it. If I find myself really harping on a situation, I ask myself "Is this person/situation worth me feeling this way?" Most of the time it's a resounding NO! That is all much easier said than done, but it helps my outlook greatly.

    I still do things that are general stress relievers: running, cooking and baking, watching sports, reading a really good book, and trying something new no matter how simple/hard/grand/small every month. Oh, and tracking my progress when I'm feeling like a failure for not achieving X,Y, and Z goal yet. A lot of times I can look back and assure myself that I have come THIS far so far and that I'm indeed moving toward my goals as planned.

    Long live Burnt Orange! Zest! 152!

  9. #9
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    Daily exercise works for me: pilates and gentle yoga 2 evenings a week each, dragon boating 1 evening a week + Saturday morning, errands/ chores on Sat afternoon, some kind of adventure on Sunday, daily early morning walks. Yes, completing errands/ chores is relaxing and therapeutic for me. Of late, I have been learning the art of doing nothing during lag times instead of looking at my mobile phone.

    I do not answer my phone when I am driving. I find this relaxing.

    Of course, this forum is also relaxing. Thanks, ya'll!

  10. #10
    Forum Member brendabethman's Avatar
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    Favorite stress reduction methods?

    I use many of the methods already mentioned -- yoga, working out, outside time (especially during the work day. We have a lovely green area on campus that I like to escape to), reading. As many of you know, I've also recently taken up knitting and find it very relaxing -- and I just bought some colored pencils and adult coloring books, so we shall see if that is as calming as they claim.

    The other thing I do, along the lines of @Aeon's suggestion, is to remind myself that no one is going to die if I don't finish something. I find that really helps me put things in perspective. Obviously this doesn't work if you're a brain surgeon :-)

    ETA: I forgot kitty snuggles. #1 method of stress reduction!

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    Last edited by brendabethman; 07-18-2015 at 03:46 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walker View Post
    I do not answer my phone when I am driving. I find this relaxing.
    Ditto--I also do not buy wifi on planes! Having a few protected, quiet hours is key to preparing for the meetings that I plan and travel to for work. I dread the day free wifi on planes becomes widespread.

    I really need to get back to exercising, because it was great for my stress levels and general outlook. I did Pilates once a week with a one-on-one instructor, and also ran with my dog. Sadly, I lost both trainer and dog in my last move (not as careless as it sounds: I am in a new city and my brother got the dog). Since then, I have not felt up to running at all, and the local yoga and Pilates places that I have found don't have a great vibe.

    But reading is my ultimate stress reducer. When it gets really bad, I will re-read stuff I practically know by heart to put myself in what is almost a meditative trance. That sounds weird, but I don't know how else to describe it.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  12. #12
    Forum Member SIM's Avatar
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    I ride my bicycle to work 4 days a week. Gets me energized in the morning and something to look forward to during the day.

    PS.....the SA makes a fantabulous commuting backpack.

  13. #13
    TB Ravelry Moderator dorayme's Avatar
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    I go outside and watch my flock, Chicken therapy is amazing! Each one has some personality quirk, and watching them all together is sure to alleviate stress.
    I doodle, I wouldn't exactly call it drawing, it's closer to Zentangle than anything, but not that good either.
    I listen to praise music, and sing along.
    I knit, or crochet, or spin, or weave, i.e. I play with fiber.
    I indulge my OCD, arrange something in "order" by color, size, name, etc.
    I really, really like TB Bags!

  14. #14
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Martial arts!! Nothing like throwing and being thrown around to take one's mind off one's daily stresses. Also, it focuses one's mind wonderfully when another person is coming at you with a wooden sword. It's like a mini-vacation in the middle of my day! Smilie

    ...and if I can't get to the dojo, I pick up my knitting. I guess I like meditation with sticks (bokken or needles, either way). Smilie

    Bonus: I use my LSB for my workout gear, and a knitting tool pouch for my fiber tools. TB: the containers of our lives! (with apologies to the Cotton Board)
    Last edited by haraya; 07-17-2015 at 06:20 PM.

  15. #15
    Forum Member bermudajes's Avatar
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    In the midst of my workday, I try to find a way to get out from behind my desk and move. I prefer to get outside and, if I have a few extra minutes, walk by the river running through a nearby park. That's my ideal, but it's certainly not the norm.

    I use the Calm app from time to time to do a very short meditation. I'll sometimes use it at home to do longer guided meditations, as well.

    Cooking - a task I used to loathe - is becoming something I really enjoy doing at the end of the day to unwind. I also like that the results (usually) nourish my body Smilie

    Also, as @kathryn mentioned, I never purchase wifi on a plane! I find the whole experience of air travel to be relaxing because I'm detached from the outside world. It's my time to spend as I please, whether that's reading, watching TV, sleeping, or any other activity... not working or responding to instant and constant incoming information (whether that be texts, email, social media, or news).
    kindness is contagious.

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