Jacki’s Journey – The Challenge Begins

By Guest Blogger Jacki Dooley, DPH State Lab

So how many of us thought it was a good idea to start the Stress Less Challenge last week with the Red Sox in the World Series?!  The greatest challenge of all was the stress associated with watching each game, (and all those lost hours of sleep because the games get over late didn’t help).  I found an easy stress less activity that worked while watching the games.  During the commercial breaks, I took a few minutes to practice breathing exercises.  By the time the commercial was over, I felt better, until the end of the next inning when I would need to practice breathing exercises again.  Breathing exercises are so simple to do.  If you do the exercises properly, no one will know you are doing them.  Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose to the count of four.  Breathe out through your nose to the count of four.  Keep repeating breathing in and out until you reach ten. 

I officially started the Stress Less Challenge on October 28th along with 16 co-workers.  One of my goals for the challenge is to keep a positivity calendar.  That means I have to write down one positive aspect of my day.  Not just something positive that has happened to me, but also positive things I have done for others. This week has been good.  I have managed to find at least one positive thing that has happened every single day.   

I have also found that a cup of hot tea with honey and a little bit of milk in it works wonders for relaxation just before bed time.  This helps with my goal of getting 7 hours of sleep each night.  Plus, the bonus hour Saturday night for Daylight Savings Time helped even more!  It is amazing how good you feel the next day if you get a good night’s sleep.  Starting my day on a positive note keeps my level of stress low.  Of course I have not given up or reduced my caffeine intake yet.  It is probably psychological, but I cannot start my day without a cup of coffee.

My goals for week two of the challenge are to branch out and try a few new stress less activities and techniques.  I need to go out of my comfort zone so I can learn to handle stress in other ways, not just with the easiest choices!    I’ve made it through week one feeling less stress in my daily routine already by employing some new techniques.  Hopefully you are all feeling the same way, too!  If you haven’t started the challenge yet, get going!  You will be glad you did.  Here’s to another stress less week for all of us!

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