Oak Communications
January 5, 2010
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The past month I attended several holiday gatherings. Amidst the delicious food, festive music and welcoming hosts, I noticed a high level of stress. Many of us are now at the stage in our lives when we are caring for elderly parents. However, I also see significant stress with friends and clients who have young children.

One young mother said that she and her family had planned many fun activities for the holidays. She looked forward to the week off with great anticipation. She admitted that she had high expectations and somehow the week didn't pan out the way she had hoped. She was exhausted by the time I talked with her.

Another acquaintance told me that she too was exhausted from caring for her elderly mother. I asked what she did for herself during the holidays and she looked at me surprised. She realized that she had neglected herself. She had eaten too much and had not exercised as usual.

The holidays help us to see how we deal with tension and stress. We often spend time with our families, have high expectations, and eat lots of rich foods. We may have over-ambitious to-do lists, may spend more money than our budgets allow, may not take time to be alone, and may not get much exercise. All of these factors increase stress.

If you take a rubber band and play with it, you'll notice when you stretch it hard, it gets thin, tight, and might even break. When you relax the tension, it gets floppy and just sits there. Or, you can find the right balance of stretch so that it makes a pleasing sound when a friend twangs it with his finger.

Just like the rubber band, when we are pulled tight, we may be stretched too far (get sick, feel irritable, experience tension in the body). When there is not enough tension, we may be like a rag doll (apathetic, lazy, and unmotivated). With the right amount of tension, we are capable of "making music."

So how do we deal with the stresses of daily life so that next year during the holidays, we experience greater joy and peace?

One way is to set an intention for practicing stress reduction strategies. If we can learn strategies to deal with everyday stress, then we are more able to handle difficult situations.

Here are some strategies to include in your stress relief toolkit. Why not choose a couple and make an intention to practice them this week. Then let me know how they worked for you.

If you would like a partner to help you develop and follow-through with your stress reduction intentions, please give me a call.

Stress Reduction Strategies
  • Start a mindfulness practice - try sitting still 5 minutes three times/week to get started
  • Stand up and stretch your body twice during the day
  • Take short breaks from work every 90 minutes
  • Take a walk
  • Sing when driving in the car
  • Turn off the talk shows and either listen to calming or lively music or be in silence

  • Observe the transition times in your day - pause and take 5 deep breaths at these times
  • Write or draw in a journal
  • Think from another perspective
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Splash your face with cool water
  • Try beginner's mind. Consider what it would be like if this were the first time you experienced this activity or thought.
  • Turn on music and dance
  • Laugh - watch a funny video on YouTube or keep a book of jokes or cartoons on hand
  • Exercise
  • Be curious
Happy New Year!

Sue Schleifer
Healthy Rituals for the New Year
Marianne Bridgeman

Join Marianne Bridgeman and me for a conversation on Healthy Rituals for the New Year on Thursday, January 14, 2010 from 7 - 8 pm.

Please register for the free Healthy Rituals for the New Year teleclass. Once you have

registered, you will be emailed the call-in number and instructions.

Rituals provide continuity in our lives. When we do something on a regular basis, it becomes a tradition and a part of what makes us alive and vibrant. Marianne and I will share with you ideas and tools to step into the new year with healthy intentions.

Health and Wellness Partners

sea nettles
Are you looking for a chiropractor? Or perhaps a massage therapist?  I heartily recommend each of these experienced health and wellness practitioners. Click here for special offer coupons.

Marianne Bridgeman  Healthy Inner Beauty
Matt Green  Ashby Chiropractic & Health Center
Pat LaDouceur  Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor
Geraldine Shute  Deep Healing Acupuncture
Susan Solari  Center for Integrative Therapy & Structural Integration
Angelina Spector  Mindbody Connection
Writing Down Dementia Workshop Survey

Kim Fowler and I will be offering a new Writing Down Dementia Workshop soon. This workshop is for people who would like to write about, in a supportive atmosphere, their experiences with a loved one with dementia.

If you are interested in this workshop, we invite you to complete a short survey so that we can find the day/time and frequency for the workshop that works best for the most people. Please email or call me so that I may email you the survey: Sue@Oak-Communications.com or 510.269.4434.
A New Year's Gift

Headshot Sue
Have you been thinking about working with a coach?

Perhaps you are tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed and want to feel a sense of clarity and energy.

Do you yearn to bring your creative side back into your life and not sure how to proceed?

Maybe you would like support in making a change or moving forward in your life to feel happier and more at peace.

I would love to talk with you about how I can be your partner in moving forward with your life. Call me for a complimentary half hour telephone coaching consultation.

Then, sign up for Coaching by January 15, 2010 and receive 20% off your first month of coaching.

Sue Schleifer
Oak Communications

Oakland, CA

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