Tag Archives: stress management

Trees wave in the wind

When life is tough we are encouraged to bring a tall tree to mind and note how well it sways and bends in stormy gales.

Nature offers us a metaphor to assist us through our stresses and crises.

I found waves in the timber along the length of this fallen, large tree. A tree’s built-in flexibility on show.

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Stress management tips for Friday

Here are a few tips to reduce stress that I have found in a pile of resources today. They seem worth sharing and even having a laugh over perhaps:

 States of chronic alertness result in the storage of unused adrenalin, sugar, lactate, urine and hormones
 Have a good laugh or cry
 Recall your successes, they can help you through your defeats
 Loosen your jaw, let it sag
 Let your shoulders drop
 Relax your hair and scalp
 Uncurl your fingers and toes
 Let your stomach hang out!
 Slow down your breathing. Fill your stomach with breath as if it was a frog’s.
 Set time aside each day to do something slowly and just for yourself
 Say “No” to a demand on your time.
 Take some time out for you over the coming weekend

Living waters, quilting and ceramics

We have been in the midst of a huge winter storm system since Friday. The wind has shaken the house at times, the thunder has shaken the house at times and the heavy rain and hail have pelted against the windows and roof. There have also been periods of calm and dry within all this extra high energy.

This is all set against the news in the past few days of more earthquakes in Japan, the Pacific, Christchurch and a sizeable tremor located in Taupo but felt here in various degrees of severity. The Kermadec Islands jolt set off Tsunami watches here and with three family members living or working close to the coast my antennae were well up for an hour or two until the “watch” was lifted. A tornado hit an area 35 kms north of where I live and that has put an increased alert in my mind too. There seems much to be aware of right now.

Set against all this weather and the forces of nature it was with delight that I noticed patches of blue sky during the morning and so I set off to watch a DVD being shown outside our main public library.

This DVD featured 2 or 3 episodes in the Living Waters, Tiakina Nga Taonga – Protect the Treasure series. The makers plan to make a new episode each month for a year celebrating the unique ecology, diversity and beauty of the Porirua Harbour and the piece that I see on an almost daily basis, the Pauatahanui Inlet.

I felt transported into a much calmer space as I sat and enjoyed the small creatures, the fish, the birdlife, and the plants that inhabit both the Inlet and its fresh water sources. The humans featured on the episodes ranged in age from young school age children to elderly, all of whom were learning about this wonderful environment and contributing to the maintenance and knowledge of a very unique eco-system.

I see on the website that there are episodes online that I have yet to view so if the forecast “systems” in this storm arrive I can look forward to watching those at home.

I then went to the nearby gallery and enjoyed the exhibition mounted by the Coastal Quilters and artists from the local Gear Homestead group. The range of colour, pattern and individual creations was stunning. It was a visual feast.

Refreshed from this outing I am pleased to report a lull in the weather currently which I am really enjoying.

Saturday Tip: Horses…..or Zebras??

Here is a phrase that I’ve found very useful in times of confusion, worry, and possibility. It is used a lot in the medical profession and it goes something along the lines of: “If you hear the sound of approaching hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras”.

I’m not a medical professional but the phrase serves to remind me to proceed with caution, to consider the simple rather than the complex, to allow time and observation before leaping to dramatic conclusions.

Soothing

I have felt in need of some soothing today after a week so far that has been very challenging on many levels. I turned to my garden and took this photo of our Camellia “Quintessence”. The tag off the plant says “ Miniature single white blooms with white filaments and yellow anthers. Sweet musky fragrance. Early to mid season. Slow spreading bush.”

This is our second “Quintessence”. I checked the meaning of the word quintessence after we first purchased this delicately flowered shrub and knew our choice was an appropriate one.
The dictionary offered me two meanings: “ Fifth substance, apart from four elements, composing the heavenly bodies, entirely and latent in all things.”
“Most essential part of any substance, refined extract; purest and most perfect form, manifestation or embodiment of some quality or class.”

I needed the “fifth substance” after the four elements: water (floods in New South Wales), earth ( yet more earthquakes in Christchurch), air ( troubled by volcanic ash ) and fire ( a spate of arson attacks in the past week or more) have dominated lives. It was helpful to spend time looking at the flowers, enjoying their beauty and noting the new growth that has occurred despite something nibbling on the leaves. I felt more at peace.

The soft stuff

My work as a trainer and facilitator was once described by someone as “the soft stuff” that was “an extra to other skills”. My workshops and courses were in areas of self awareness, self development, communication and facilitation skills, relationships, stress and time management, assertiveness, listening, understanding interpersonal dynamics, team work, effective groups, leadership and parenting skills. Underpinning these was my philosophy that life-long learning is a vital part of being human and enjoying life.

The comment did cause me to reflect on my work but I felt certain it was critical work and not just “the extra” to more important skills. The soft stuff helps to overcome the hard stuff.

So it was extremely reassuring to hear an interview on the radio yesterday where self awareness, self care, empathy, supportive relationships, adaptability and willingness to grow and change were all critical as the babyboomers begin to consider the later years of their lives. The good news is that for many the “later years” could span 30 plus years.

One of the women being interviewed lives in Christchurch and she commented that these same skills are critical as people begin to adjust to their new ways of living in that city.

I am planning to set up another blog exploring self awareness and resilience building. Watch this space, as they say. I hope you might be interested in following that blog too:-)