How do you relax? Please share your tips

Japanfan

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Here's also an interesting article I came across today. It's about stress in the workplace but it has implications for our personal lives, too.

Let me short form it. The argument is that you can't eliminate stress in the workplace because stress isn't environmental. It's the manifestation of your own fears. CEOs don't talk about stress and anxiety. They discuss their own fears and how they have to manage them. It's a personal thing, which companies or others can't solve.
That's an interesting but very biased theory. Workplace stress often is environmental. As a previous journalist who worked on deadlines and once did not come up with any story , I can testify to that. The situation in which I didn't come up with a story was a job for a Japanese airline magazine. It was a very short notice assignment that involved me being sent to Korea for a very short time, with no expenses paid other than my airfare. The situation went badly, and I didn't come up with a workable story. My editor ripped a strip off me going down way and a second strip going up the other. I was sat down at his computer at midnight, with a morning deadline.

And, I came up with a story. Not a great one. But newspapers and magazines with empty pages are a rarity.
 
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Cachoo

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Ah...yes! 'Music from the Hearts of Space'...whatever happened to that program? I loved to listen to and veg out to those interesting sounds. :)
I know it still has a website but I've never found it on any programming lately like NPR. I think what amazes me about that music (sounds) is that I could have the worst case of insomnia and within minutes this stuff puts me out. I'm grateful for it.
 

Spareoom

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Recently I discovered that building lego sets is incredibly calming and stress-relieving. I bought a few cute sets at the local night market and I break one out every time I feel like I need a mental break. The order of putting something together and then having a tangible result after not too long is great. I highly recommend it as a hobby.
 

Rock2

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Yoga makes me want to gouge my own eyes out with my fingernails.

Which would be a less annoying process than enduring a yoga class.

Seriously, it is not for everyone and is not the answer to every problem.
I feel the same way. Part of the problem is that if you have an active mind or your stress manifests itself in some very kinetic way, asking a person to hold a pose and breathe for 2 mins at a time over the course of more than an hour is a very tall task. It's like asking a 3 year old to sit still and quiet for even ten mins. Ain't gonna happen.

I'd rather lift weights and move from station to station. I have to MOVE over the course of calming down.

This is why I suggest working on meditation first. It's a tough discipline to make habitual. For people with active minds, training yourself to just stop and take ten deep breaths is a huge milestone. Asking them to do that for 75 mins is unthinkable. You have to work up to that for months and months through meditation (something that's more flexible and you can escape from when it makes you crazy) is how I see it.
 

Rock2

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That's an interesting but very biased theory. Workplace stress often is environmental. As a previous journalist who worked on deadlines and once did not come up with any story , I can testify to that. The situation in which I didn't come up with a story was a job for a Japanese airline magazine. It was a very short notice assignment that involved me being sent to Korea for a very short time, with no expenses paid other than my airfare. The situation went badly, and I didn't come up with a workable story. My editor ripped a strip off me going down way and a second strip going off the other. I was sat down at his computer at midnight, with a morning deadline.

And, I came up with a story. Not a great one. But newspapers and magazines with empty pages are a rarity.
Understood.

The main point of the article is that you cannot completely eliminate workplace stress because a component of 'stress' is how individuals react to environmental factors....and management can't control that. You can't fully cater to every person's fears or insecurities. Yes there are things that can be done but you can only take it so far. The rest is up to the individual.
 

PDilemma

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I feel the same way. Part of the problem is that if you have an active mind or your stress manifests itself in some very kinetic way, asking a person to hold a pose and breathe for 2 mins at a time over the course of more than an hour is a very tall task. It's like asking a 3 year old to sit still and quiet for even ten mins. Ain't gonna happen.

I'd rather lift weights and move from station to station. I have to MOVE over the course of calming down.

This is why I suggest working on meditation first. It's a tough discipline to make habitual. For people with active minds, training yourself to just stop and take ten deep breaths is a huge milestone. Asking them to do that for 75 mins is unthinkable. You have to work up to that for months and months through meditation (something that's more flexible and you can escape from when it makes you crazy) is how I see it.
See...there it is. The "if you don't like yoga, work on this so you can learn to like yoga". Because it is now completely impermissible to not like or do yoga.

I don't like the "woo". I have a spiritual practice in my life and don't need yoga to fulfill that. I don't like the instructors yammering on in that silly voice that they must practice into a recorder to master. I find it dangerous that I know for a fact that the YA training is an absolute joke (know a registered teacher who gave the trainer free product from her business in trade for the trainer certifying her in spite of her not completing the requirements). I do not like the music. I do not like that I have been told multiple times by multiple people that my dad would not have died of cancer if he had done yoga. I do not like that a physical therapist I know says that his practice has gained countless new patients coming in with yoga injuries and regularly has problems with patients with non-yoga injuries making their injuries worse because they prefer to listen to uneducated yoga teachers instead of their therapists.

I also enjoy interacting with people at a group class. My situation in life allows for very little social interaction. The enforced silence of yoga makes that impossible. I want any workout I do to be fun. Fun is not an enemy and actually is a stress reliever.

For the record, I very much enjoy pilates but affordable group classes in my area are hard to find because we must all do yoga.
 

Kasey

Fan of many, uber of none
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If it happens at work (haven't had a panic attack at work in years, thank goodness), I take myself into the bathroom (because no matter what, THAT'S allowed!) and tell myself repeatedly that "all shift end"! It's only a few hours (or 9 or 10, but whatever), I can survive anything for a few hours, etc etc. By breaking it down into a shorter time frame, recognizing that even an entire crappy shift at work is only 12 hours out of my entire life, that "logic" focus helps me most of the time.
 

tamms

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I go to the gym, hop onto the treadmill, put some music on or watch figure skating programs and just walk. Sweating calms me down and it's healthy. I always pick a machine that's facing a wall or in a corner so I don't have to get distracted by people and I can just tune them out. Feels great. (This is why I can't have a gym buddy. I'd be too inclined to strike up small talk and whatnot.) I know this makes me look like a loner but frankly, being able to focus on myself and not worry about anyone else helps lower stress.

Other days I just make myself some tea and get some crafting/journalling done. Again, put on some music and then tune everything/everyone out.
 

Lilia A

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Yes, exercising certainly helps. It has helped me a lot in the past. I'm currently dealing with some injuries though (my knees are chronically injured, and recently I've been having back issues), so it's hard to get a vigorous exercise lately. I do it whenever I can.

BTW, @Rock2 I tried the inderal last night (I see that it was only prescribed two years ago so it's probably not "expired") and I must say it really helped. Within an hour my heart rate went from 115 to 80, which then helped me fall asleep at a decent hour. Man I should've listened to the doctor when he said I should take it. I recall that he did mention that 10mg is a baby dose, but I'm not very big so I guess it's good enough for me.
I guess I'll have to mention that I finally took it on my next appointment lol, took me long enough.
 

rosewood

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In Japan coloring books for adults are sorta in fashion. I think it's a kinda tool for meditation. It's for making your mind empty by continuing simple works. Kinda zen. It's one of Mao's hobbies these days. Hospitalized people like this hobby too since it's possible for them to do this in bed.
Flower mandalas
Coloring books for adults
 
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Desperado

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I've been beginning meditation and/or yoga for 20 years. I start, I stop, I start again... Over and over.

What has really worked most of my life is dancing in my living room, taking bubble baths with candles, and listening to music, any rhythm that suits my mood. Although I love my wine, I find if my stress/anxiety comes from being angry at someone (more often that not a co-worker) it just doesn't work, I need to physically move to get over it.

ETA: The most important - book reading. Always something that inspires me like biographies or that take me far away from reality like urban fantasy and mysteries.
 
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Rock2

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BTW, @Rock2 I tried the inderal last night (I see that it was only prescribed two years ago so it's probably not "expired") and I must say it really helped. Within an hour my heart rate went from 115 to 80, which then helped me fall asleep at a decent hour. Man I should've listened to the doctor when he said I should take it. I recall that he did mention that 10mg is a baby dose, but I'm not very big so I guess it's good enough for me.
Yay!!! If 10mg did it for you that's fantastic! It really is a baby dose but always best to start at the lowest and updose to what works.

The way this med relaxes your symptoms with no side effects and without being habit forming is nothing short of miraculous in the medical world I think. And, it's cheap. Go figure.
Thanks for letting me know and good luck!
 

Japanfan

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21,442
I feel the same way. Part of the problem is that if you have an active mind or your stress manifests itself in some very kinetic way, asking a person to hold a pose and breathe for 2 mins at a time over the course of more than an hour is a very tall task. It's like asking a 3 year old to sit still and quiet for even ten mins. Ain't gonna happen.

I'd rather lift weights and move from station to station. I have to MOVE over the course of calming down.
I prefer exercise - weight training or a walk - to meditation and yoga as a means of stress reduction. I find that a two hour walk/hike in nature really calms me down. There are a lot of park, forest and ocean side hikes in my city just as a short drive away, and having a young dog to exercise is another good reason to head out.
 
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Rock2

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I prefer exercise - weight training or a walk - to meditation and yoga as a means of stress reduction. I find that a two hour walk/hike in nature really calms me down. There are a lot of forest and ocean side hikes in my city just as a short drive away, and having a young dog to exercise is another good reason to head out.
Oh yeah, forgot that one. Walking in nature has apparent proven benefits of reducing stress and anxiety. Good habit to get in to.
 

altai_rose

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3,193
C. Fix symptoms - quick fix

Beta Blockers: Propranolol (also known as Inderal)

It's a miracle drug. Cheap. No side effects, safe to use longer term. Available on the internet with zero hassle or through your doctor. Not a heavily controlled or monitored drug due to its safety.
Not indicated for people with low blood pressure or asthma. Other minor things are an issue, too. Research it.
Beta blockers are used to treat high blood pressure, tachycardia, racing heart, tremors. Also it's the drug of choice by people trying to manage performance anxiety (not sexual!). Orchestra musicians, public speakers etc rely on it. Best for situations that are closer to panic attacks than general anxiety. Slows your heart rate, stops tremors, your body totally chills out but not in a spacey way. You're completely lucid.

If you have anxious thoughts those don't disappear...just the physical manifestations of the thoughts are brought under control.

10mg you may not even feel. So you can updose to find the right level. Most people try 20-40mg 2X a day. Onset takes about 30 mins. Lasts 4-6 hours.
Keep in mind that people with legit heart rate issues take 160mg+ at a time so you're well within a safety zone.
You can exercise on it but just understand your heart rate won't speed up easily so you won't be as energetic in the gym.
Lilia A, please do NOT self-prescribe a prescription drug such as propanolol. Rock2, you're right it's a commonly used and safe drug, but I'd feel more comfortable, Lilia A, if you took it in the care of a doctor. For example, one side effect of propanolol is that if you stop taking it abruptly, you can get withdrawal effects, meaning that you get more severe symptoms of heart racing, sweating, and anxiety. In any case, it's only recommended for performance-related anxiety (for example, if you get extremely anxious any time you do a presentation at work, but dont feel anxious otherwise).

My recommendation would be to see a psychiatrist. Long-term benzos are not uncommon; however, except in specific circumstances, it is very discouraged. Have you tried SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, etc.) or SNRIs (Effexor, Cymbalta)? In combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy, that is generally the most effective treatment for most patients. However, a psychiatrist will be able to assess you individually.

Also, if someone had a "secret remedy" that worked for everyone, it would be a secret anymore. :)
 
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Rock2

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Lilia A, please do NOT self-prescribe a prescription drug such as propanolol. Rock2, you're right it's a commonly used and safe drug, but I'd feel more comfortable, Lilia A, if you took it in the care of a doctor. For example, one side effect of propanolol is that if you stop taking it abruptly, you can get withdrawal effects, meaning that you get more severe symptoms of heart racing, sweating, and anxiety. In any case, it's only recommended for performance-related anxiety (for example, if you get extremely anxious any time you do a presentation at work, but dont feel anxious otherwise).

My recommendation would be to see a psychiatrist. Long-term benzos are not uncommon; however, except in specific circumstances, it is very discouraged. Have you tried SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, etc.) or SNRIs (Effexor, Cymbalta)? In combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy, that is generally the most effective treatment for most patients. However, a psychiatrist will be able to assess you individually.

Also, if someone had a "secret remedy" that worked for everyone, it would be a secret anymore. :)
Absolutely. Self-prescribing is never really recommended. I'd always work through your doctor, especially if you are not otherwise a 100% healthy person.

With many meds it's not recommended that you stop immediately and instead should ratchet yourself down.
To the extent you have other medical issues you should be conscious of interactions or any side effects.

SSRI's and beta blockers (propranolol) would have different objectives.

SSRI's need to be taken regularly to be effective and work by impacting chemicals in your brain. More ideal for candidates who are depressed or have darker thoughts that need to be controlled among other things.

If tense or nervous feelings are more the core of the problem, propranolol can be taken daily OR is best used situationally. It doesn't work on the brain but rather impacts nerve receptors. Completely different mechanism of action.

SSRI's have a longer list of side effects than beta blockers, as well with more incidence, but again it depends on your overall medical condition.

A doctor can best advise you on all this but the above is what I understand.
Also a good idea to research on more reliable sites such as drugs.com, webmd, mayoclinic, etc. At least these days we can arm ourselves with more info.
 

Lilia A

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Lilia A, please do NOT self-prescribe a prescription drug such as propanolol. Rock2, you're right it's a commonly used and safe drug, but I'd feel more comfortable, Lilia A, if you took it in the care of a doctor. For example, one side effect of propanolol is that if you stop taking it abruptly, you can get withdrawal effects, meaning that you get more severe symptoms of heart racing, sweating, and anxiety. In any case, it's only recommended for performance-related anxiety (for example, if you get extremely anxious any time you do a presentation at work, but dont feel anxious otherwise).

My recommendation would be to see a psychiatrist. Long-term benzos are not uncommon; however, except in specific circumstances, it is very discouraged. Have you tried SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, etc.) or SNRIs (Effexor, Cymbalta)? In combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy, that is generally the most effective treatment for most patients. However, a psychiatrist will be able to assess you individually.

Also, if someone had a "secret remedy" that worked for everyone, it would be a secret anymore. :)
Propranolol was prescribed to me a while ago because I have struggled on and off with tachycardia. After many exams including two 48-hour holters (torture and hell. Seriously I can't believe I let them repeat the test) it was recommended that I take it because they showed peak rates of 140-160 while not doing any physical activity (or experiencing anxiety, etc) and I didn't even notice. No reason was given for those peak levels, but the doctor mentioned it may be triggered by postural changes (??? I have no idea). Anyway, I never took it and never asked for a re-fill (oh I'm such a great patient, I know, lol).

Fast forward to this morning, I felt good anxiety wise but as I started doing physical work (I gotta do something productive on Saturdays) I just felt physically exhausted and out of breath. I guess I'm not used to <80 bpm. I'll put the Inderal on hold until I can get a new appointment.

Regarding SSRI's and SNRI's, I did not do well with them. Effexor affected my vision so I only took it for about a week. Then, Celexa made me gain a lot of weight (like 50 pounds), essentially doing more harm than good because then I went on a death diet, so I was taken off of it after a year or so. In the end I was given Wellbutrin to treat my depression and klono for the anxiety. The combination worked well and eventually my depression went on remission. As I said before, I was able to stop taking klonopin a year and a half ago but now I'm back on it.

Thanks for the advice :) you're right, there's no such thing as a secret remedy. But of course, there's always something that works for people which I may not even know about. For instance, I'd give the magnesium a try if my Mg levels hadn't been a little high on my latest lab work.
 

altai_rose

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SSRI's need to be taken regularly to be effective and work by impacting chemicals in your brain. More ideal for candidates who are depressed or have darker thoughts that need to be controlled among other things.
Rock2, overall, I like your post! But I want to comment on this part -- although SSRIs are most often used for depression, they can be used for generalized anxiety disorder, even in patients who do not have depression. Lots of neuropsych drugs are used for varied purposes. For example, SSRIs are routinely given after stroke (in both patients w/ and w/out depression) because they can improve functional outcomes. Another example -- Anti-psychotic drugs were developed for schizophrenia, but they're also used for reducing tics in Tourette's.

Also, it's not true that propanolol only affects the periphery and "doesn't work on the brain." Sure, the primary effect of propanolol is on the peripheral nerves, but propanolol can cross the blood-brain barrier. So there are central effects as well, which may be both positive and negative (i.e., side effects). Here's the CNS list of adverse reactions of propanolol (from uptodate): "Central nervous system: Sleep disorder (infants: 16% to 18%), agitation (infants: 5% to 9%), fatigue (5% to 7%), dizziness (4% to 7%), nightmares (infants: 2% to 6%), irritability (infants: 1% to 6%), drowsiness (infants: 1% to 5%), amnesia, carpal tunnel syndrome (rare), catatonia, cognitive dysfunction, confusion, hypersomnia, lethargy, paresthesia, psychosis, vertigo" and in < 1%, depression and hallucinations.

Lilia A, I'm glad to hear that you've been able to set up a new appointment. SSRIs are odd -- even if you had side effects on 1 of them, it doesn't mean that you'll have side effects with another one. In any case, I really hope you can be able to combine a medication with therapy as well.
 
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sk8girl

Active Member
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476
See...there it is. The "if you don't like yoga, work on this so you can learn to like yoga". Because it is now completely impermissible to not like or do yoga.
YES, this has been my experience too, as someone who does not like yoga at all but has had people try to force it on me (to the point of stressing me out even more than I already was, which sort of completely defeats the purpose!!) Not referring to any people or comments in this thread at all - a lot of people love yoga and find it very helpful, so it is a very valid suggestion to make.

It's just important to realize that it's not for everyone, and it is also okay to NOT like or do yoga :) When I tell people I've tried it but hated it, that should be acceptable, but instead I always get "Oh, you must have tried the wrong type! Or maybe you had a bad instructor! You HAVE to try THIS class/studio/video!" Ummm, no thanks, I'm good.
 

Simone411

Well bleffing Covfefe! Clippy's flipping over P/C!
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In Japan coloring books for adults are sorta in fashion. I think it's a kinda tool for meditation. It's for making your mind empty by continuing simple works. Kinda zen. It's one of Mao's hobbies these days. Hospitalized people like this hobby too since it's possible for them to do this in bed.
Flower mandalas
Coloring books for adults
I used to color a long time ago. I got back into it around November of last year. I just took time out from making videos to finish coloring another page. I added it to my color art folder on Photobucket. Here's a slideshow of what I've done so far:
Color Art

Making the skating videos also relaxes me because I can watch at the same time I'm recording/downloading the videos to my laptop.

Thanks for sharing those pages! :)
 

sk8girl

Active Member
Messages
476
I've thought about trying adult colouring books, but couldn't decide if that would be relaxing or if it would actually be kind of stressful, if I fussed too much about choosing just the right colours and getting everything perfect :lol:

Do people use markers or pencil crayons? I feel like I'd rather use markers, but wouldn't they run out really quickly?
 

Allskate

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I've thought about trying adult colouring books, but couldn't decide if that would be relaxing or if it would actually be kind of stressful, if I fussed too much about choosing just the right colours and getting everything perfect :lol:

Do people use markers or pencil crayons? I feel like I'd rather use markers, but wouldn't they run out really quickly?
I have no drawing talent and can't do the coloring nearly as well as my friend does, but I still enjoy it sometimes. I am something of a demanding perfectionist with a lot of things but, because I know I suck in this area, I am okay with not doing a great job. One thing I do get frustrated with is the books that have such detail that it takes forever to finish just one page. But, there's a wide variety of books. Some have bigger or more detailed pictures than others. Lots of choices. Just do a search on Amazon for adult coloring books and you'll see.

Yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about what colors to use, but that's part of what keeps my mind from wandering to other things. If you don't want to have to think about what colors to use, there are a few coloring books that have one uncolored page opposite a page that is already colored, so you can just use the same colors as the colored page. I saw a couple of these books in Barnes and Noble yesterday.

Some people use colored pencils and some use very fine-tipped markers. It's really a matter of preference. The markers are more vibrant, but you can have more subtlety with the pencils and it is more affordable and easier to get the pencils in a broader range of colors. The problem with the markers is not that they run out. It's that they bleed through the page. You have to get a book that has the pictures on just one side of the page -- there are lots of them -- and then put a blank paper behind the coloring page so that the marker does not bleed through to the next picture.

I don't do the coloring books that much. It just isn't that interesting to me. But, a friend of mine really likes it. And I think it does help her because she's dealing with a lot of stress right now.

I agreed to watch my 5 year-old niece over her school break. That could be stressful. :lol: She loves to draw with crayons so I'm going to bring along my own coloring books and hope that we can have a relatively calm time drinking tea (me), hot chocolate (her) and coloring (both of us). I'm also hoping to get her hooked on skating.
 

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