Relaxation in Review : Allison

Allison Dunsmore is a friend of mine that is always on the go. I mean literally, this girl is either walking,walking & reading, running, or biking to and from her five classes or work or volunteer job reading to kids at the local high school. Allison aspires to be an English teacher and you can catch her at a local coffee shop being very well…teacher-ish – this means she always has papers, books, and a coffee in front of her. Naturally, I was very curious to find out what this girl does to relax. I have to admit, I came into this with preconceived notions. I presumed Allison would tell me “reading” when asked, as that is what she is usually doing.

I was surprised to hear her relaxation insights.

Allison Dunsmore’s relaxation activity? Listening to some soothing music and doing some breathing exercises.

“It all started a couple months ago when my friend introduced me to it (music) on YouTube when she noticed I seemed pretty stressed,” Dunsmore said.

Allison said she thought it was sort of silly at first but was surprised at noticing a significant change in her mood after just listening to the relaxing music. She said doing simple breathing exercises along with it, or if music is not available or convenient to listen to at given times, the breathing exercises alone can be very helpful in destressing. Since being introduced to these two destress methods, she has incorporated them into her daily routine.

Dunsmore said listening to relaxing music and doing simple breathing exercises is key to relaxing when she is feeling overwhelmed or stressed. She said before the breathing exercises, she did not have a technique and stress would build up.

“Before that, I would sometimes stress about being stressed, and it was just a downward spiral from there,” Dunsmore said.

While Dunsmore prefers music along with breathing exercises, she reccomends doing at least the breathing exercises if relaxation music is not readily available.

“It’s something everybody can do, and it won’t attract attention either,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore adds that after feeling more relaxed, she is able to focus more on the task at hand that stressed her out in the first place.

She related how one time she had a huge paper to write. After doing her relaxation techniques, she was able to actually finish the paper ahead of schedule and in turn, celebrated not having to stress. “When I was done, I took a deep breath…and did a jig around my room – it was my ‘accomplishment dance’,” Dusnore said. “It felt good.”

I then went on to the next step of the project and asked Dunsmore to rate her stress level from 1 to 5. She rated it a 2 which is “Pretty chill” and wrote in that she knows she has things to do but feels good about it.

I then asked her to write a poem on the spot as part of the relaxation project in turn for me agreeing to participate in her relaxation activity with her at a later date.

Here is Allison’s poem:

Willingly obscured by the glare is my vision.
A passive voice I use.
Kid is what I do.
Through the curtain I see those that will never be in my future.
I could have been them if my mom was a groupie for another band, but no. It just had to be devastation.

Allison then partook in the next step of the project – to rate her stress level after writing the poem. To my dismay, her level had gone up one, to a “3.”

She explained that for her, poetry is not usually asked for – she feels more at ease just writing it of her own accord. I was able to relate to this and it gave me anew perspective. Although for me, writing poetry is a relaxing activity, I could see how it could create a pressured type of situation if I was asked to do it.

All in all though, Dunsmore seemed content to participate in the project knowing that I would now have to set a day to just sit and listen to relaxing music and just well…breathe.

That’s all for now peeps, and as always, keep on keepin’ calm.

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