Updated: Oct 11, 2022
by Tim Janak Jr
When is the last time you painted a picture, played a musical instrument or just went out side and did unplanned play or activities. Or, when is the last time you were spontaneous? We live in a world of schedules, plans, meetings and processes that can keep us in a state of being always on the go. Making time for free play or creative expression is a way to clear the mind of all the "have to's" so that you can de-stress, clear your mind and free your spirit!
Painting, Drumming, Playing my native flute, going on hikes, coming up with my own workout, playing with my kids are all ways that I express my creativity. There have been many times that I have sat down with a blank piece of paper and then the next thing I know there is a colorful picture that I have created.
Even my therapy sessions I think of as art! I think of my therapy sessions as a sculpting session and my tools for sculpting are the knowledge and experience I have acquired over the last 16 years! I am the artist for the session and get to design the treatment for that hour!
I can remember being on a trip in Sedona and we had collected some smooth, round river rocks that were cool because they had been in the shade. Each one of us in the group collected a rock and then sat down. I had brought a whole collection of paint pens for everyone in the group to use. We sat under a canopy of trees painting our own design on these round and smooth river rocks. One individual expressed how calm and clear their mind was during the activity, another expressed how enjoyable and peaceful it was to paint in the open under the canopy of trees! It was kind of like we were kids back in art class creating whatever we wanted on the river rocks. It was peaceful, and there were no expectations and no guidelines. It was just create what you wanted on that rock!
Using art as a therapeutic tool to de-stress is effective and there are other creativity tools that can be used to destress. You may find that you already do some of them.
Some examples are:
playing a musical instrument
These are just examples of different creative expressions that allow us to give our thinking mind a break. Allowing time in our day to express our creativity helps us de-stress and is a way to turn of the Fight or Flight nervous system that is running all day long after a hard days work.
When doing something creative it doesn't take much time, sometimes just 5-10 minutes. Or other times, it could last a whole day!
What is it that you do for creativity? How do you express your self creatively?
If you don't have a creative hobby then choose something that you love to do and commit to doing it everyday for a certain amount of time each day. Take note of how you feel while doing it! Life isn't all about work! It is about creating the life we want! Because when you love what you do, your work becomes a labor of Love!
Please share and let me know what you love to do in your spare time even if it is just for 5 mins! I would love to hear or see a picture of a thing that brings joy to your life!
Week Six Action Items Create a gifting list and Budget. Begin to Purchase, Wrap, & Label all gifts starting now.
This weeks task is the most daunting in my opinion, setting a budget. How much money are you willing to spend this Season? In this budget you want to remember all the little details too so that you don't over do it and when January rolls around be stuck without two dimes to rub together. Remembering little details like food, presents, travel costs, and the little miscellaneous things that can often add up to quite a hefty sum. A tip for setting the budget is to work out how many more paydays you have until the big day. This will tell you how much money is coming your way and you can then work backwards to set your budget. The other golden rule is to not overstretch yourself!
Hopefully now that you have set a realistic budget for the gifts you will buy you need to work out who you are going to be buying for. Is there a group of friends, family, teachers, coworkers? Set a budget for a category or as individuals.
Next, think of individual gifts for each person. Here is a tip, try going through your memory and working out what you got for them last year or if applicable what you got from them last year... I'm sure there will be a bit of head scratching while you think of that list. Hopefully this puts into perspective that a single memorable gift is way better than a bunch of fluff. This last school year for example I had a giveaway. I could have filled the baskets with candles and lotions, but I decided to go with a movie night themed basket instead. When the teachers saw their gift baskets you should have seen their faces, the thanks I got from them the next Monday was even more satisfying. I'm sure next year even more teachers will participate in my giveaway because they will remember what was given this year.
More and more you are hearing about gifting experiences here is a blog post about 90 ideas for experience gifting that may give you some ideas for gifting this season. Just doing a search for meaningful gifts pulls up so many fabulous ideas. Go nuts getting creative with this portion, but remember to bring it back down to Earth and keep it within the budget. Click here to print a the Holiday Stress-Less budget planner. I duplicated the budget page so that you could print out as many double-sided copies as you need.
Once you have nailed down what you are getting an individual, go ahead and purchase it, wrap it, and label all the presents as you go. If you are purchasing for your own kids you may want to hold off for a little to make sure their indecisive minds don't change too drastically or until after they have sent out their wish list to the big man. But let the kids know that there is an end date to updating that list. Have most gifts purchased and ready to go by November 30th so that you can enjoy the rest of the season with less stress.
This Months Product Highlight: Sleep
Yep, that's right getting the right amount of sleep decreases stress in the body and allows the Parasympathetic nervous system to do its job. In preparation for the time change that happens at the beginning of next month, we are going to highlight products that will help you sleep. Use the code PATHS to get 40% off naCHer CBD's products today.
Try this herbal tea: Sleep Support Blend
mildly sedating formula of hops & passion flower^
manage stress & mood that can contribute to restlessness^
help improve circadian rhythm^
*california poppy *chamomile *passion flower *skullcap *lavender *wild lettuce *gotu kola *hops flower
*certified organic botanical
All of the Herbs in this blend are supper stars to help calm the nervous system. Helping you get a good nights sleep.
Unlike other members of the poppy family, California poppy is non-addictive, very safe, and gentle enough for children. California poppy has a "cooling" effect to an otherwise hot and wired nervous system. The cooling effect relaxes heat and can help to counter hyper and often agitated nervous system states. Herbalists have traditionally used California poppy to help calm anxiety and to relieve both mental and physical tension. California poppy functions as a relaxing sedative too, it is conventionally used for insomnia related to nervous system imbalances like repetitive thoughts or a lack of calm helping you lose interest in what you're stressed about.
Chamomile has a calming effect on people, and can be used to help induce sleep, ease frayed nerves, and promote a general sense of calmness and well being. It is great for those with nervousness or anxiety problems. Aside from having mental calming properties, chamomile is also good at relaxing sore muscles and tight joints. It can ease menstrual cramps and back aches, as well as relax the digestive system to ease upset stomach or indigestion issues.
Passion Flower is a gentle anti-anxiety and mildly sedative herb that can even be used to induce a good night's sleep in children. One particular study asked volunteers with trouble sleeping to drink a cup of Passion Flower tea at bedtime for a period of time, all reported significant sleep improvement. The alkaloids "chrysin" and "benzoflavone" present in this herb have been found to increase GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid) in the brain. GABA is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters, used by the brain to prevent over-excitement and attain balance. It also helps to decrease the activity of depression inducing brain cells. The increased GABA in the brain that Passion Flower can induce will also reduce the anxiety so often associated with insomnia. In addition, Passion Flower is known to be a muscle relaxant, easing away tension that can make it more difficult to drift off to sleep.
One of the great benefits of Skullcap is for insomnia and sleep disorders. While many remedies, both traditional and herbal, can lull you to sleep like skullcap, most leave you groggy in the morning. Skullcap promotes sound sleep without the unwanted side effects, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised in the morning. Before the advent of pharmaceutical tranquilisers, Skullcap was the go to herb for the relief of anxiety and nervous tension.
If you suffer from restless nights then Lavender has been proven to increase the time to awaken after first falling asleep. One study showed that Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in all of the group tested, and all of the individuals reported feeling more refreshed and energetic the next morning. In a study published in the journal "Phytomedicine", it was shown that lavender helps with restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
Wild Lettuce directly impacts the central nervous system, blunting its ability to feel pain.The pain relieving qualities of Wild Lettuce aid in relaxing the body. This makes it very useful in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, with it also called a feeble opium because it does not upset the digestive system. However, it is said to produce a euphoric, dreamy effect making it much easier to drop off to sleep. This sedative effect make it especially beneficial to an overactive nervous system and it’s particularly good for hyperactive children.
In Asia Gotu Kola has a long standing reputation as one of the best herbs for the brain. Several studies have shown that Gotu Kola has a complex action on the mind through enhancing neurite-dendrite growth and out branching in key areas of the brain. This action not only makes the mind calmer, sharper and more fluid but also protects brain cells from damaging toxins. Science has now isolated the active compounds responsible for the remarkable antidepressant effects of this herb. Two of these compounds - brahmoside and brahminoside - have sedative effects, whilst research shows that Gotu Kola reduces anxiety by around 50% in human studies. Studies have also shown Gotu Kola to reduce the "startle response" caused by sudden noises, allowing you to stay asleep longer.
Hops have been used to support deep and restful sleep, support a healthy response to stress, and help promote relaxation. Hops also works to enhance GABA levels in the brain. Research also indicates that the sedative effects of hops may come from its ability to lower body temperature. Lowering body temperature helps to bring about drowsiness and is an important part of the body’s sleep process. For menopausal women hops help to naturally regulate hormones, ease hot flashes, and calm nerves. Because of its phytoestrogens hops should not be taken by pregnant women or young children.
Disclaimer: ^These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. Please consult with a medical professional before consuming this product if you have any medical condition.
If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, please consult with your doctor before consuming this product. Very little, if any, research has been conducted on the safety of drinking herbal tea during pregnancy.