Archive for Reducing Stress

Pets and the Satisfaction of Enough: A Loving Relationship

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The Love of Pets

At Postconsumers, we have only one goal – and it may not be the goal that you’re expecting us to say. We want you to achieve the satisfaction of enough for today. While we believe that learning to let go of addictive consumerism is an important step on the pathway there, it’s not the only step on the pathway to satisfaction. Occasionally, we like to give suggestions for ways that you can get to that point called the satisfaction of enough. Since we’ve been talking a lot about pets and their eco-friendly value this month, we thought we’d devote an article to how pets can help you achieve the satisfaction of enough.

 

Pets Love You Unconditionally … For Food!

If you’ve never had a pet before, then you may not know how simple love can really be. Pets will love you unconditionally as long as you feed them. Even if you think of yourself as not a particularly loving person, we’re pretty sure that your pet will see through that. Everybody needs love, and a pet can give you that.

 

Create Structure in Your Life

You’d be surprised how many people falter because of a lack of structure in their life. A lack of structure can lead to a lack of feeling as though you understand your place in the world, which can in turn lead to emotional shopping and bad budgeting. Animals give you structure in your life. Outdoor dependent animals like dogs ensure that you’re keeping to a walking schedule, but even less maintenance-deep animals keep you on schedule with feeding and play time. Create structure and you’ll find that the overall path to satisfaction can be easier. Pets can help with feeling that you have enough for today.

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Celebrate the Summer Sensation of … Less!

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Summer Photo by adwriterSummer. It’s a season when tons of us embrace the idea of “less.” Less work, less stress and, for many of us, less clothing. Then, of course, what we at Postconsumers call “Consumer Season” starts. It begins with the “Back-to-School Shopping Rush” and continues on to holiday shopping (which begins in October for many retailers!) through Valentine’s Day. As a side note, as you think about “Consumer Season”, we have great tips on Things to Do Other Than Holiday Shop and Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas. But what we’d like to talk about today is the concept of embracing the “idea of less” that we love in the summer all year long.

Why Is It Easier for Us to Embrace “Less” As a Concept in the Summer?

The first thing that we need to ask ourselves is “why do we frequently behave differently in the summer than we do the rest of the year?” This isn’t just about consumption, it’s also about mindset and stress. Certainly, a part of this is simply driven by the consumer machine. Marketers and advertisers still want to capture your business (and dollars) in the summer, but they know that you’re spending less time watching TV, on the internet and, truthfully, in stores. Their machine is ramped up for maximum efficiency starting in the fall. But we’re not just pawns to the consumer machine, right? Part of the reason that marketers and advertisers are courting you less aggressively in the summer is because, in the summer, you are less aggressive. Why is that?

If you are a student or work in education professionally, the answer is pretty simple. You’re often on vacation. But as much as we would love it if everybody in life were constantly educating themselves, that actually accounts for a fairly low percentage of adult Americans (and elsewhere in the world). So what’s really different in the summer? It’s your mindset.

What Causes Your Summer Mindset Change?

The next question then has to be, if it’s not simply the consumer machine and you’re not actually on vacation all summer, what’s causing your mindset to change? It’s a combination of conditioning and possibly even weather. For those people in a four-season climate (which, with climate change is rapidly becoming a two-season climate), the answer may simply be that the weather is nicer. You’re getting more Vitamin-D every day and you’re spending more time socializing and spending time outdoors. This is actually what the theory of most marketing companies is. They simply assume that, for many, summer means doing things that they can’t do when the weather is harsher, so they’ll spend less time participating in consumerism.

But, over the years, much like we are programmed by “buy, buy, buy,” we are also programmed to change how we think in the summer. We (mostly) all attend thirteen years of school in which summer is “vacation” when you don’t work. We’re conditioned to think of summer activities as leisurely and relaxing, not stressful and goal-driven. That mindset, actually, is entirely healthy if you can extend it through the other nine months of the year!

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Summer Satisfaction Tip: Celebrate International Picnic Day

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Picnic Photo by Paul and ChristaDid you know that June 18th is International Picnic Day? We’ve summed up some eco-friendly picnic tips before, but we thought that we’d take this opportunity to remind you of all of the good, healthy and stress-reducing reasons to take some time to get outside and eat. After all, what’s not to love about a holiday that celebrates doing something instead of buying something?

The Benefits of a Picnic

Do we really need to tell you that almost all Americans spend too much time indoors? We probably don’t. But more importantly, it’s a trend that is increasing instead of decreasing. According to one study, young people now spend an average of seven hours and thirty-eight minutes daily for indoor media use (video games, TV, computers). That’s almost fifty-three hours weekly – or over two full days of the week!

The downside of that is fairly epic if you add it all up. Not only does it mean that it’s likely people are getting less and less essential Vitamin-D, it also means less exercise and less healthy individuals. Those are the obvious drawbacks. Increased energy use to run all of those media items that you or others are using indoors is another. But a final, and potentially most important one, is an increasing lack of connection to nature or the planet. We can’t expect people to want to save the planet if they don’t feel a deep relationship to it.

Whether you’re concerned about too much time indoors yourself or whether you’re a parent trying to break a bad indoor habit with a child, incorporating picnics into your life is a great way to reduce indoor time and connect with nature. We all have to eat – so let’s get outside and do it.

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Satisfaction Tip: Turn Off Your IM Client

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Reduce Stress by Turning Off IMPart of finding the satisfaction of enough for today is learning to let go of the daily information overload. Some of the ways to do that are pretty obvious: spend less time on social media, reduce the time you spend on your cell phone, turn off the television once in a while! However, one avenue that we often overlook is to turn off the IM client on our computers. While IMing can be a great way to stay in touch with people and have conversations both personal and professional during the day, it can also lead to distractions, inefficient time use and an overly-busy brain that can’t relax.

The Benefits of IM

Of course, like most technological advances, IM has some benefits when used in moderation. In addition to making communication easy and instant no matter where two people are located, it also can reduce costs. Many IM clients also offer video voice chat that can be much more affordable than a phone bill. And if you’re a person who’s worried about the impact of radiation from holding a cell phone to your ear all day, then IM can give you a safe distance from your mobile device!

The Draw Backs of IM: Why It’s Good to Exit the Program Sometimes

However, like anything else in life, too much is not a good thing when it comes to IM. Here’s why.

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Reduce Stress: Take Care of a Plant

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When we’ve talked about greening up your house, we’ve mentioned cleaning, refurbishing, recycling, upcycling, starting a compost, and more, but we haven’t touched on a long-term way to go green while also reducing stress – taking care of a house plant! It looks great in your home, creates a freshness to any room, and is really good at giving you focus while also being low-maintenance. Even having a small house plant in your office can also help you reduce stress while you’re at work.

 

Studies have shown that having a house plant not only helps to fight off toxins in the air, it also helps reduce blood pressure, fight fatigue, decrease coughing, and offers many other health benefits. They also bring a little pop of color to any room or office while bringing a sense of life (meaning you can boost your creativity anywhere you live and work!)

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Ways to Get the Satisfaction of a Massage While on a Budget

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Budget Massage TipsSure, part of finding the satisfaction of enough is learning to let go of consumerism and reduce stress by not being tied to unattainable standards of “more, more, more.” But another part of finding the satisfaction of enough is just about finding ways to reduce stress while not spending money. For many, a massage is a great way to relieve stress but the cost of a professional masseuse or spa visit just isn’t in the cards. Not to worry! Postconsumers has come up with five great ways that you can enjoy a de-stressing massage without spending much if any money or, for the most part, leaving a big carbon footprint.

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit – then Barter!

Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Husband? Wife? Partner? How about just a friend who wants to learn to give better massages so that he or she can woo desirable partners better? Chances are, if you look hard enough, there are plenty of people whom you can barter with to get a massage. What can you trade? Food, skills, household chores, a nice drink, professional advice. The matchup between people who would have a reason to want to trade a massage with the things that you can trade for that massage are probably much longer than you anticipate. Take some time to brainstorm it, then get your barter on!

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Tuning Out the Information Overload

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Tune Out Information OverloadWhen you’re searching for the satisfaction of enough, consumerism isn’t the only thing that you’ll need to learn to manage and control. Increasingly, consumption of information is just as overwhelming as the consumption of goods.  Recently, we saw an article that had a graphic that claimed that all of the information created in the past two years equals the amount of recorded information for all of human history. That may or may not be true, but the one thing we know for sure is that there’s astronomically more information out there, bombarding us from more directions than ever before. To make matters worse, humans have yet to turn into high level data-processing cyborgs (at least to date), so the mass avalanche of information in the world can only leave us two options: ignore it or be overwhelmed by it.

Information Channels: All Around Us. All of the Time.

A long, long time ago, people only received information through interpersonal communications. Then the printing press was invented and, we can all agree, the world changed. Then, of course, came radio and television followed by the internet. Today, people not only balance all of these information channels, but they balance them in extreme quantities. Television isn’t five channels, it’s five hundred. The internet isn’t just a place that you get information when you’re at your desk, it’s with you wherever you go via your phone or mobile device. Bars and restaurants have, often, dozens of televisions on at any one time while people simultaneously absorb information through their wireless devices. To support all of these channels, content generation is rapid (and often low in quality). That, of course, doesn’t mean that we don’t pay attention to it.

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Stress Relief Tips for Teens: Stress Isn’t Just an Adult Problem

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Stress Relief for TeensOften times, we think of stress as an “adult” situation. That’s mostly because, as adults, it’s harder for us to imagine that there could be real stress associated with what many of us remember as our carefree and youthful days. But if you stop to think back, the teen years can be incredibly stressful. Educational requirements, learning to navigate social and emotional complexity and the uncertainty of the future can all make a teenager enormously stressed. If you have a teenager in your life, take a moment to remember that they experience stress, too. Then prioritize some time to share these stress relief tips specifically for teens with them!

Sleep is Important

Not getting enough sleep and problems with insomnia are a national problem.  This can be even more true for a stressed out teen.  Late nights full of homework, televisions and computers in teen bedrooms that keep them awake and the speedy teenage brain cell all mean that teenagers don’t get enough sleep. One of the most important things that a young adult or teenager can do to help reduce his or her stress level is make sure that he or she is getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep per night. How can a teenager (or any person) do that? We love these seven tips for sleeping better from the Mayo Clinic and think this list is a great place to start.

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Bring on Football Season! Bring on Stress?

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Stress Relief for Football SeasonFall is in the air and that can mean a few things.  The air becomes crisp and fresh, the kids are back to school and football season begins.  Everywhere from the grocery store to the gas stations, armchair quarterbacks are donning their football jerseys in support of their favorite teams.

Yes, for diehard fans, football begins in the spring with training camp, but officially kicks off (get it?) in the fall.  I love football; more importantly, I love Steelers’ football.  Football season can bring with it time with friends, great food and a feeling of camaraderie.  There’s nothing better than a group of people all cheering for the same team, sharing the joy of a win and dealing with the inevitable defeats.  After all, fan is short for fanatic!

However, football season can also add some stress to your life and the lives of those around you.  Let’s take a look at the stress football season can cause and how to avoid it.

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De-Stressing Tip: Start a Sunset Project

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With the summer starting to wind down, it’s a perfect time to enjoy the nice weather and spend a little more time outdoors. You can start watching the leaves change, feel the air cool down, and enjoy the change of seasons into autumn. For someone like me who lives in the desert southwest, we witness some fantastic sunsets all year round, and being in sunny climes means that we have an unobstructed view of fantastic sunsets at the end of the day. Watching a beautiful sunset, with all its colors and cloud formations can melt away our culture’s hyperconsumer pressures. A good way to de-stress is to take some time and start a photo project of the sunsets you see every day for a month.

 

A Way to Wind Down

Before the time changes, taking a daily sunset picture is a great way to wind down from your day. We’ve always talked about taking some “you” time during the day so you can re-focus and clean out the clutter from your mind. Having a glass of wine or listening to some music as you’re taking photos to set a mood can help you relax. Watching the sunset is also a good time to practice some mindful meditation and think about your goals, or do some free writing or journaling. If you’re a painter, it’s also a good time to work on your art!

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