Relaxation wrap-up – relax, recharge, move forward

At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned poetry was my way to relax, and ventured to find other ways people relax. While I have discovered some fun ones, I still much enjoy writing – whether it is in poetic verse or just reflective summarization. I also enjoy the accompaniment of music. Check out some of my blogs I have written as a radio reporter here :

I much enjoyed discovering new ways to relax and finding out from my own friends and from strangers what puts them at ease.

From meeting an artist at SXSW this year, who likes to paint to both relax and express…

…to learning that aside from breathing exercises, my best friend likes to take time out to be a kid again…

…to enjoying a good meal with friends to relax…

…and to sometimes just enjoying the scenery, leaying still and relaxed in the grass…

This blog allowed me the opportunity to find new ways to find balance through relaxation. It allowed for more freedom of expression and the countless meetings of interesting people and new places.

All for now,
and remember, nothing to it but to KEEP ON keepin’ calm.



relaxation in review – 2013

As this year’s blog was all about relaxing, I had to stop to reflect on what I’ve actually done to relax this year. From enjoying the breeze of the day on a hammock, to watching the birds fly over the bay in Louisiana, to taking a break to play on a playground in this year’s hectic SXSW, I’ve found a little time to relax and recharge so far.

30 Poems, 30 Days: NaPoWriMo Has Begun

Remember my idea of relaxation – poetry? Try it out; see if writing poetry relaxes you during this whole month of April, which just so happens to be “NaPoWriMo,” National Poetry Writing Month. I dare you. 🙂

The Blog

Calling all poets! April is National Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo for short. Modeled after National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), NaPoWriMo is an annual project encouraging poets to write one poem each day in April.


We love discovering poetry in the Reader and are proud of the poets who call their online home, like Pushcart-nominated poet Kellie Elmore. If you’re an established or aspiring poet, or want to dabble in free verse, lyric essays, and more experimental prose, we encourage you to participate this month.

A poem a day

First time participating in a post-a-day project like this? We asked poet and publisher Maureen Thorson, the founder of this project, for advice:

Be open to the possibilities. The point isn’t to turn out a fully formed sonnet each day — although if anyone wants to try, I’m not going to discourage them! The point is to just…

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Introducing a Relaxation Application : the “Keep Calm and…” app for your phone!

Introducing “Keep Calm And…” – an app for your mobile device that schedules relaxation into your everyday routine! This app will sync with your calender to find open slots in your day. It will then ask you to schedule time to relax. A second screen in the app will then be displayed which will show a dropdown menu of relaxation activities to choose from as well as a “Random” button that will randomly select from a database of preset relaxation activities. Once you have selected, the app will add it into your schedule by adding it as an event to your calender.


This app aims to solve the problem of too much stress in one week! It is effective in eliminating stress in that it specifically schedules time for the user to engage in relaxing activity. In turn, the user feels more relaxed. Additionally, the app is structured so that the user feels a sense of accomplishment upon relaxing because it is another “to-do” they can check off their list once the now-scheduled relaxation activity has been completed.
Mobile App: "Keep calm and..."

Relaxation in Review : Zak

Zak A. First – go to this link to listen to video game medley covers on piano to reeeelax you. It goes with the content of this post, just trust me.

Got it playing? Ok good now-

Meet Zachary Allison. Zak aspires to work in the field of technology, specifically with the computer – i.t. industry. You can find him juggling five classes up at Texas A&M or sitting behind his desk as an I.T. help person managing requests from customers. I’ve always known Zak to play video games in his free time and have always seen it as one of his favorite past times.

I was not too surprised when he informed me this was his relaxation activity but was curious to find out what about playing video games is so relaxing…here’s what I found.

Zak Allison said he sees playing any video game as relaxing and describes the activity as one that takes immediate effect.

“It’s (relaxing) more while I’m playing because it makes me care less about everything else at that time,” Allison said.

Allison describes his gaming technique of relaxation as one that has become instinctive. He says when he has  a major assignment or exam coming up, he immediately focuses his attention on what video game he is going to play before focusing on specifically what he plans to study. Surprisingly, Allison said, this creates an effect adverse to what most would expect. After he has engaged in gaming for awhile, he feels more level-headed and able to focus on studies.

“After we got a SEGA when I was a kid, is when I got into playing video games and realized it was my relaxing activity,” Allison said.

Zak Allison describes his stress level as a “1 and a half”

Here is his poem:

I like Haiku
They are simple poems.

Afterwards, Zak rated his stress level, and it actually went down to a “0.5,” yes that’s right, a half.

His reason : laughing at his own cleverness, “because the poem made me laugh!”

Well, laughing, I hear is relaxation therapy too folks, so laugh on, laugh on, but above all,

keep on keepin’ calm.


Music to relax

Here’s a video I found of a relaxing music piece. This is inspired by Allison’s insight on relaxation.
Refer to my post “Relaxation in Review: Allison” to read more about why this may be useful!

“If you use pepto bismol as gravy…you are too stressed!”

Hey all,
Here’s a short but sweet video I found on a man’s insight in to when you are too busy because of stress, often in the form of work-related stress. He explains how we stress over things that need to get done and how just being stressed can cause stress. He discusses signs of being too stressed and needing to sloooow way down!

The relaxation project – 411

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
William S. Burroughs

The relaxation project : Step by Step

So earlier in this blog I mentioned my intent to find out what people do to relax.

*My main relaxation activity is simply to write. As my career choice is in the field of journalism, which I love, the type of writing that relaxes me is not journalistic writing, but rather, poetry writing – writing with no limitations – this is what relaxes me. Keep this in mind as it ties into the latter parts of the project!*

Given that my audience here will be mostly students, the people I interview or have interviewed already(soon to be posted for public view!) will be mostly students as well. Here’s how I have gone about it, step by step:

1. Choose an interview subject. This can be anyone, preferably a student, but I won’t reject any people interested in sharing their insights! After all, any of us could use a little 411 on destressing!

2. I will ask my subject what he/she does to relax. i.e. “What is an activity that upon completing, you truly feel more relaxed, more at ease?” They will discuss their relaxation technique or activity in full.

3. I will hand them a sheet to fill out. There will be one thing to fill out on this sheet of paper : “How relaxed do you feel? Rate your level of stress on a level of 1 to 5.”

1 = Mellow yellow, no qualms here

2 = Pretty chill

3 = Calm but slightly anxious/thinking about things I have to do/starting to worry

4 = Stressed/anxious/really worried

5 = Extremely stressed/beyond anxious/say the word “mellow” and watch what happens man!

The subject will circle which number most accurately describes his/her level of stress.

4. I will then hand the subject another sheet of paper and ask them to write a poem. I will tell them they  may take as much time as needed and write about absolutely anything.

*In additon to this, I will inform the subject that if he/she does me this favor of writing the poem and filling out evaluation sheet(s), I will go on a destress day with them! This means we will set a date after Spring Break( so anywhere from mid-March to May), where I MUST join them in their relaxation activity. THIS means, ladies and gents, if you choose sky-diving as your true relaxation activity, I am going sky-diving with you! Most people, I presume, will then agree to writing a poem, if not for the sole purpose of seeing me try out something that seems completely ridiculous. I have to stick to my word after all. :]

5. When the subject is done writing their poem, I will hand them a sheet with the same rating numbers as before (1 = mellow yellow, 5 = extremely stressed), and ask them to now circle which number best fits their stress level. I will ask them to explain why their stress level has changed, if it has.

6. I will then, of course, ask if the subject is ok with either having their poem or photo published to this blog, along with their relaxation explanation. We will set a destress date!

7. I will post results for your reading pleasure.

Finally, after March, this blog will take on the form of posts discussing my experiences trying out the relaxation activities I agreed to try out. Wish me luck!

And as always folks, keep on keepin’ calm.