So apparently yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day, So I feel the need to blog about stress for a minute. We all have it. You have it, I have it and your neighbor has it…. it is a joy robber and killer. Life happens and we all get caught up dealing with work, friends, family and other various forms of stress so I thought I would give out some tips I found that have helped me reduce that daily living stress. Yesterday, I went and had a lovely full hour massage and after being in a bad mood due to stress all morning my crabbiness lifted and I felt 100 times better….only to wake up this morning happy, relaxed and optimistic!
1. Identify stressors. This is the most important step of all, as identifying the things that stress you out in your life is the first step towards eliminating them. Take 10 minutes to think about what stresses you out during the day. What weekly occurrences stress you out? What people, activities, things cause stress in your life? Make a Top 10 list, and see which of them can be eliminated, and start to weed them out. For those that can’t, find ways to make them less stressful.
2. Eliminate unnecessary commitments. We all have many commitments in our life, starting with work but also including commitments related to kids, our spouses, things to do at home, other family, civic, side work, religious, hobbies, online activities and more. Consider each of them, the amount of stress they provide, and the value you get out of them. Edit brutally, and take steps today to remove the ones that stress you out the most.
3. Procrastination. We all do this, of course. But allowing stuff to pile up will stress us out. Find ways to take care of stuff now (form a Do It Now habit) and keep your inbox and desk clear.
4. Disorganization. We’re all disorganized to some extent. Even if we’ve organized something, and created a great system for keeping it that way, things tend to move towards chaos over time. But disorganization stresses us out, in terms of visual clutter, and in making it difficult to find stuff we need. Take time to get things in your life organized, starting with your work space and home, then move on to other areas.
5. Late. Being late always stresses us out. We have to rush to get ready, rush to get there, and stress out the whole time about looking bad and being late. Learn the habit of being early, and this stress disappears. Make a conscious effort to start getting ready earlier, and to leave earlier. This also makes driving less stressful. Time yourself to see how long it actually takes to get ready, and how long it actually takes to get somewhere. You’ve probably been underestimating these times. Once you know these times, you can plan backwards so that you show up 10 minutes early each time. It’s a good feeling.
6. Controlling. We are not the Master of this Universe. I know we sometimes wish we were, but acting as if we are is a sure way to get stressed out. Trying to control situations and people cannot work, and only serves to increase our anxiety when it doesn’t work. Learn to let go, and accept the way that other people do things, and accept what happens in different situations. The only thing you can control is yourself — work on that before you consider trying to control the world. Also learn to separate yourself from tasks and to delegate them. Learning to let go of our need to control others and the situations around us is a major step towards eliminating stress.
7. Multitasking. Having multiple tasks going on at the same time might seem productive, but in actuality it slows us down from actually focusing on a task and completing it — and it stresses us out in the meantime, learn to single task.
8. Eliminate energy drains. If you’ve analyzed your life and found things that stress you out, you might have also noticed things that drain your energy. Certain things in our life just cause us to be more exhausted than others, with less value. Identify them, and cut them out. You’ll have much more energy and much less stress. Happiness ensues.
9. Avoid difficult people. You know who they are. If you take a minute to think about it, you can identify all the people in your life — bosses, coworkers, customers, friends, family, etc. — who make your life more difficult. Now, you could confront them and do battle with them, but that will most certainly be difficult. Just cut them out of your life.
10. Simplify life. Simplifying, of course, is a major theme of Zen Habits. Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, the mass of stuff going on in your life … and have less stress as a result.
11. Unscheduled. Create more open periods of time in your life. It’s not necessary to schedule every minute of our lives. Learn to avoid meetings keep wide open blocks of time where we either work on our important tasks or batch process the smaller ones. When someone asks to schedule a meeting, first try to get it done through email or phone … if that doesn’t work, avoid having it scheduled. Ask them to call you and see if you’re free at that time. You will love having an open schedule.
12. Slow down. Instead of rushing through life, learn to take things slow. Enjoy your food, enjoy the people around you, enjoy nature. This step alone can save tons of stress.
13. Help others. It may sound contradictory to add more tasks to your life by trying to help other people (you’ve got enough to do), but if you were to add anything to your life, this should be it. Helping others, whether volunteering for a charity organization or just making an effort to be compassionate towards people you meet, not only gives you a very good feeling, it somehow lowers your stress level. Of course, this doesn’t work if you try to control others, or help others in a very rushed and frenetic way — learn to take it easy, enjoy yourself, and let things happen, as you work to make the lives of others better.
14. Relax throughout the day. It’s important to take mini-breaks during your work day. Stop what you’re doing, massage your shoulders and neck and head and hands and arms, get up and stretch, walk around, drink some water. Go outside and appreciate the fresh air and the beautiful sky. Talk to someone you like. Life doesn’t have to be all about productivity. You should also avoid using online activity too much as your de-stressing activity — get away from the computer to relax.
15. Quit work. This one’s drastic and probably too drastic for most. But in most likelihood, your work is your absolute biggest stressor. Getting out of your 9-to-5 and finding something you truly love to do that you’re passionate about, will create a positive life and much less stressful one at that. Give it a little thought before dismissing it — there might be possibilities here you haven’t considered.
16. Simplify your to-do list. Attempting to do everything on your long to-do list will definitely stress you out. Learn to simplify your to do list down to bare minimums and prioritized tasks, you will enjoy the process much more.
17. Exercise. This is common advice for stress relief, and that’s because it works … but it’s also a stress prevention method. Exercising helps relieve the stress buildup, it gives you some quiet time to contemplate and relax, and just as importantly, it makes you more fit. A fitter person is better equipped to handle stress. Another important factor: being unhealthy can be a major stressor (especially once you have to go to the hospital), and exercise can help prevent that. (HINT HINT this is why coming to Embody is SO IMPORTANT)
18. Eat healthy. This goes hand-in-hand with exercise as a stress prevention method, of course. Become healthier and a major source of stress will disappear. Also,its been found that greasy food puts people in a worse moods and can contribute to stress levels immediately.
19. Be grateful. This might not be as obvious as some of the others, but developing an attitude of gratitude is a way of thinking positive, eliminating negative thinking from your life, and thereby reducing stress. Learn to be grateful for what you have, for the people in your life and see it as a gift. With this sort of outlook on life stress will go down and happiness will go up. That’s a winning formula.
20. Zen-like environment. Take time to declutter your work space and even once you do that, continually edit your work space and the things in your home, until you’ve created a simple zen like environment. It will be much less stressful to work in an environment like that than a more cluttered and distracting one.
This has been on my mind for some time. There are a lot of negative stereotypes of how a woman should be with her appearance and when it comes to sexuality it gets weirder. Through working at Embody I have been lucky enough to meet women of different ages 20s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and at different stages in thier identity and sexuality. I am learning that every woman has her own insecurities and concerns. Teaching burlesque has been a wonderful experience for me because it has brought me close to women on a personal and emotional level. I overhead Michelle V the other day saying she was trying to find more of the “yin and yang” in herself and it struck a chord within me. I feel that for many women burlesque can be a way to exercise that yin and yang. Society tells us that a sexually aware and assertive woman is negative, god forbid a woman is trampy if she wants to wear a short skirt and high heels, on the other hand god forbid if that woman doesn’t want too…then she is a prude and boring. Meeting all these different women has shed light that there is a yin and yang inside each of us and that finding and defining our own inner balance as a woman, without letting society make us feel guilty or ashamed for our choice to either play the prude or the tramp is the ultimate reward….because truly I believe between both broad ends of that spectrum you find a happy medium and truly balanced woman….and I have seen the proof of that here at Embody.
So class went by super fast today and we had two new faces. We are putting together the group performance for the May Burlesque Show and it is coming together nicely. I stayed after to work with Michelle V and Christy M on their solo acts for the Spring Fling show in April and I am super excited to see the finished product. I love that they have found a new itch to scratch and that they are coming up with all kinds of costuming and music ideas for their dance. Sometimes I underestimate how much of a big deal it is for women to do striptease; because I have always been a bit on the exhibitionist side, but as I have aged through the years and said good bye to my size 4, 18 year old body I have noticed my insecurities have gone up and I do sometimes find it harder to tap into my frisky sex kitten side so hearing stories of insecurity really remind me how delicate and intimate of an issue it is to be doing a public burlesque or cabaret striptease act. None the less these women are remarkably brave, stunning and creative so I know that they will be spectacular whatever route they chose to fully develop.
The past two days were just awesome. Saturday was a full 3 hours full of chocolate wine, cupcakes, feather boas, nylons, rhinestones and pin up girl poses. I spent 3 amazing hours with Judith, Michelle, Carla and Christy and couldn’t have walked away happier. I hadn’t seen Michelle for awhile as she said work has had her traveling but seeing her again was great, she has just dramatically improved in her flow and dance fluidity; I was also so excited for her when she told me she was a pole level 2 now! Christy has found herself a new itch as she is in pulling ideas to develop for her spring solo routine. She has found aspects of herself through dance and it defiantly shows, always a true reward to watch women in their dance journey. Carla came to the workshop with her perfectly pin up style poise and hair do looking simply divine with her light colored fully fluffy boa. Judith brought in mini cupcakes and had a flawless execution of her stocking removals. So I am looking forward to what kind of solos the ladies bring to the Spring Fling show!
Sunday was a good sized class with three new faces. It was good to see Brenda and Carmen and Taylor again too (Taylor always amazes me, not only is she a great dancer with a great sense of humor and big heart but she just told me she was going Pre Med! Congrats!) I am so grateful and humbled to be able to witness these women’s personal growth through the dance journey, it keeps me in a positive state of mind….thank you!!
I love that my abs are still sore from the last class!! Today we stayed the whole time on chair cabaret in order to get a full routine done, the ladies did amazing and had such awesome energy flow and leg work, they were all in sync and worked up a sweat. It is always so great to see my choreography come to life!
The week night Burly Q classes are poppin here! So much great energy and laughter is keeping the atmosphere here at Embody ALIVE! As the new month rolls in we all have to keep our mind set stuck on staying true to our healthy and fit lifestyles changes. I must admit it has been a GREAT Start of the year here at Embody almost all the classes are full and it is such a great place to be at, I have worked at several studios and I would really only refer to one studio as my home and that studio would be here! Thanks to my wonderful co-workers and to the rockin ladies who come to classes and keep this studio open and thriving!
Sundays are always a much quieter day for classes but today I felt like bumping up the cardio atmosphere and heard several ladies say they were breaking a sweat. I still continue to get compliments from ladies saying “Thank you, your classes help me through the week” Which is so awesome to hear. I sit back watching all the ladies shimmy and shake under the red light and I think to myself, “I love my job!” I am so glad to be part of such a positive place that has such an awesome vibe and mission- to help everybody feel better about themselves!
I love the start of the new year because everybody is trying to get fit and it brings new energy and faces to Embody! Tonight we had 15 ladies in class and it was such a fun upbeat energy! Remember for those that plan to come back and those that want to try the Cabaret Burlesque class…bring a boa, some stretchy nylons and some stretchy gloves!
It is always great having people come up to me after class and tell me “Thank you!” or “I loved your class”. It is also nice to hear they had a great time at my classes and loved the atmosphere after previously trying the same type of dance class at other studios. I have gotten that for the past two weeks! Burlesque was a journey that started for me in 1999 when I first discovered who Cherry Knight and Tempest Storm were one night while watching TV late and it further developed while I was working as a go go dancer in LA a few years later when I saw some fliers for Kitty Diggins performances….I never knew then that those small moments would later affect the lives of so many other women….kind of crazy to think small life moments of your own could seriously impact others…..Have a great weekend you cool cats!
In response to a request to list some music from class…here are some tunes used today and last weekend….
Pink Pussycat- The Del Rays
Madame Coquette- Tape Five and Yuliet Topaz
Love me Dead- Ludo
The Love me or Die- C.W Stoneking
Hang on little Tomato- Pink Martini
More Bumps and Grinds-Sonny Lester Orchestra
Mini the Moocher- DJ Tokeo
Jilted-The Puppini Sisters
Cabin Fever-Clare Fader
Hoochie Coochie Girls-Circus Contraption
Why Don’t you do Right?- Barbara Lusch
Hey Big Spender- Chaka Khan
Red Light- Siouxsie and the Banshees
Bang in Your Face- Greenskeepers
Moonglow-Ronnie Magri & his New Orleans Jazz Band
I didn’t realize a different day would change the whole atmosphere of class…but it has! Class tonight was awesome…lots of new faces with a great new energy and vibe. I hear that Diane has also ordered more of those sturdy metal chairs for chair cabaret, that is exciting because it means no more plastic wobblies!!! Thanks Diane!!