11 Proven Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

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While the holidays can create some of the happiest moments in your life, they can also cause a great deal of stress. On top of your typical schedule of work and managing your home and kids, there is shopping to do, menus to plan, and food to prepare. Moreover, there is the possibility of having to deal with family disagreements, schedule conflicts, and financial issues. While this all may seem overwhelming, there is good news. You can still reduce holiday stress, even with all the extra activities and preparations.

Following are proven strategies to help you decrease stress and tension. Some of these methods may be so effective that you’ll choose to use them all year, and not just during the holidays!

1. Acknowledge That Everything Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect. The holiday commercials and movies on television really do miss the mark when it comes to realistic portrayals of family gatherings.

• Accept that you can enjoy some wonderful holiday get-togethers regardless of whether the kids accidentally spill a bit of the Christmas punch or you’re having trouble locating your festive napkin rings.

• Believe me, most people will hardly notice if the pies baked a little too long or you forgot the cranberry sauce.

2. Purchase Your Gifts Early. When you get holiday shopping out of the way early on, you can prevent added last-minute pressure. You won’t be dealing with other shoppers during peak shopping times, and you won’t have to worry about making split-second decisions on gifts.

• Another way to avoid this stress altogether is to do all of your holiday shopping online so you can beat the crowds!

3. Scale Down Your Holiday Plans. Because adults can sometimes have an overly idealistic view of the holidays that springs from their childhood experiences, this strategy can be a challenge. Scaling down your plans involves being more flexible in your thinking about the holidays.

• Let go of feeling the need to plan and carry out elaborate, lavish celebrations. Maybe you’d rather have smaller, more intimate gatherings with friends spread out over a month or two, rather than a big event that makes it difficult to connect with others.

• Essentially, know that you don’t have to reproduce the special holiday memory you have in your mind to have an amazing time. You also don’t have to find the perfect gift, spend the most money, or have a room piled with presents to show your love to others.

• Try to remember—“It’s the thought that counts.” Most people will never remember the cool gift you got for them that one year. But they will have fond memories of the quality time you spent together as a family.

4. Take Shortcuts to Save Time. Figure out simpler ways to do things that will provide more time for other holiday tasks and activities.

• One good example: Rather than baking pies, order them from a nearby restaurant that’s known for its delicious baked goods.

• When shopping, it’s okay to purchase gift cards as presents. Many people actually prefer to receive a gift card so they can then choose what they want. Gift cards are easy to find at most stores, satisfy nearly everyone, and will cost you less in wrapping paper.

5. Take Some Time to Yourself. While we often take the time to think of others during the holiday season, we can also forget our own needs. Remember to schedule some time for yourself and concentrate on winding down. To care for others, you first have to take care of your own health and well being.

• One way to take some time for yourself for relaxation is by scheduling a massage.

6. Stay Calm. While it may not be an issue for every family, sometimes the togetherness causes conflicts and clashing. Before you join a family event, tell yourself that you’ll take the high road if need be. You don’t want a disagreement or any tension to ruin the opportunity to have fun during the holidays.

• If necessary, take a time out and walk around the block or go to another room to take some deep breaths to center yourself. When you’re ready, you can rejoin the festivities.

8. Watch your Nutrition. It’s not fair to yourself nor even practical to completely avoid indulging around the holidays, but at the same time, you can remain in control. Watch what you’re putting into your body, as large amounts of certain foods can affect how you feel. The two big ones to be mindful of are caffeine and sweets.

9. Buy Yourself a Present. While you’ve been spending money on everyone else, there’s no reason why you can’t buy yourself a little something. This way, you can ensure that you’ll get something you want. • Remember the massage suggestion earlier in this article? Maybe it’s something else you’d prefer. Either way, you deserve it!

10. Get Enough Rest. The holiday season is generally an exciting time. You may lose sleep due to stress or even because of the excitement. Either way, be kind to yourself by getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Getting less than eight hours of sleep per night may set you up for stress without realizing it.

• If you need a reminder, use the settings on your phone to alert you when it’s time to start settling down and getting ready for bed.

11. Learn to Delegate. If you realize that you’re in charge of too many things, don’t pile on the stress—instead, delegate the tasks. Be wise enough to recognize when you need some help and ask for it. You can even involve your children with certain holiday preparations which they may very much enjoy! This year, decide to reduce your holiday stress. By shedding the urge to be perfect, beginning holiday shopping earlier, scaling down expectations, and using shortcuts to save time, you’ll bring your tension level way down.

Think about what you truly want the holidays to mean to you and your family. Then, you can let go of expectations based on the past and enjoy your time together. Ultimately that’s what the holidays are for—creating meaningful moments and connections with those who matter most.

3 Nature Therapy Exercises to Help You Live in the Now

“Nature is the best medicine for serenity. Peace. Calmness. Stillness. It’s good for the heart.” ~Karen Madwell

I was looking for a way to stop obsessing over the future. I’d spent my adult life as an underground musician, and it had been wonderful for the large part. The thing is, it wasn’t good for me anymore.

I felt anxious onstage. I felt really uncomfortable with so many people looking at me. I had changed as a person, and yet I continued putting myself through performing even though I hated it.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever continued to do things that you hate because you identify so strongly with what you are doing? If I wasn’t “a musician,” which I had been all of my adult life, then what would I be? It felt as if I would be nothing at all.

Through dabbling with various new musical projects, I became increasingly aware that whatever was going to be creatively fulfilling (if anything), would inevitably lead my mind to obsess over it, sending me into a dreamworld of scenarios where I was the center of everything. Perhaps this is why I continued singing: I wanted to “be something special.”

In my imagination (which was extremely active), singing always seemed so important, and after each gig I would only remember the fun parts (of which there were many too, don’t get me wrong). Then I’d get onstage the next time and think, “What am I doing here?”

The awareness that I was letting dreams and fantasies dictate my life wasn’t profound, it was just a product of getting a little older and thinking, do I really want to live like this for the rest of my life? I looked into ways that I could enjoy the here and now a bit more; ways of appreciating life as it was actually happening, rather than several years later through filtered, distorted, and romanticized memories.

I’d never meditated or done anything that I would have previously disregarded as “hippy rubbish.” I had read something about mindful breathing somewhere.

I didn’t know anything about mindfulness, but I had an impression that it was something that middle-class people did a lot alongside their yoga. I didn’t relate to that image at all. I didn’t realize that it was simply a tool for paying attention to what is happening.

Then one day I focused on my breath while I was on a walk in the local park with my dog, Euro. Suddenly, everything was alive. The world was just beautiful.

At that moment, focusing only on what I could see and sense, my mind went right back to basics, to where I remember it being when I was a very small child. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck (and all over my body) and I couldn’t stop grinning.

Several blackbirds popped their jerky, judgmental eyes out from under some shrubs, bobbing forward for worms and eyeing me up cautiously as I walked past. I didn’t just see a bird and move on. I saw strange, beaked, winged creatures who fly about this land—singing, to boot! (If birds existed only in myth and folklore, they would make elves and unicorns seem positively dull.)

Walking around the park, I was in a calm ecstasy, grinning at everything around me, occasionally wondering if I looked to others like I was on some serious happy pills (but not much caring what other people thought).

I didn’t see trees and move on. I saw wooden beings, some of them hundreds of years older than me, growing out of the ground and displaying leaves and petals reaching up into the sky. Why we were there together, swapping gases, was a beautiful mystery.

A year or so after this experience, and others like it, I realized that what I was practicing that day was “ecotherapy” or “nature therapy,” although I didn’t know about those terms at the time. I’ve since trained to become an ecotherapist to help other people find this amazing connection to nature, and this is honestly something I would never have seen myself doing five years ago.

Somehow, when I became an adult, I had forgotten what nature meant to me as a child. I think most of us are connected to nature deeply as children, and yet we get easily distracted from it as we get older. I don’t think I am unique in that respect at all.

One day, back when I was seven or eight years of age, I was allowed to set my alarm clock for the early morning hours. I went to the local park with a notebook and pen to see what animals I could find.

I saw my first ever hedgehog, and it felt like meeting a visitor from another dimension. I just couldn’t believe that there was this unique spiky creature in front of me, living completely independently, getting on with its weird little life in shrubs and muck. I still get a feeling of awe when I recall that moment, watching it curl up in the early morning dew.

I grew up as a proper city boy in the suburbs of Liverpool, England. Somehow, when I became a teenager, I did what many of us do and I got so caught up with ‘finding out who I was’ that I neglected what was happening on the earth around me for decades! I had fun for the most part, but I spent so much of my life lost in fantasy and living in honor of some so-called ‘identity’ that I forgot how important nature was to me.

Earth is a wonderland. The diversity of life that we encounter each and every day (and often ignore) is mind-boggling. Creatures that crawl, fly, and speak are everywhere. The vivid colors present in giant plants that grow from tiny seeds is just awesome (in the traditional ‘awe-some’ sense of the word)!

It took me years to comfortably move away from a life in music to be doing the things in life that I am doing now. I think changing our callings in life always comes with a sense of grief to some degree; we attach and identify with the things we do quite naturally.

Nature has taught me to enjoy not being the center of attention, to simply enjoy feeling that I’m a part of this beautiful world, and it’s such a relief! We are tiny and yet we are miraculous at the same time. I don’t need to do things that make me anxious if I have the control to stop doing them.

More About Ecotherapy/Nature Therapy

The term “nature therapy” is used interchangeably with the term “ecotherapy,” but they are referring to the same thing. In a nutshell, ecotherapy refers to therapies and activities that deliberately aim to improve our mental health and well-being through connecting with nature. It is a broad, umbrella term.

Some ecotherapists may be qualified psychotherapists who offer “walk and talk” outdoor counseling sessions, whereas others may focus on helping people to create art or poetry inspired by nature. Some ecotherapists run gardening groups, and there are many more approaches still! Ecotherapy is totally, 100 percent something that you can do for yourself; it’s actually very simple!

For me personally, the most powerful ecotherapy exercises are based on mindfulness (it was this kind of work that changed my life, and so I’m bound to feel like that)! Here are three simple exercises to try that have been amazing for me personally, and I hope that they help you to find a deeper connection to nature.

1. Look toward the new.

Take a walk somewhere you go often and give attention to your regular habits. Notice your walking habits closely: how you often pay attention to the same things in your environment without conscious awareness. Deliberately shift your attention elsewhere every time you notice you notice your attention going to a habitual place. What new things do you notice around you?

2. Use your senses.

Find an outdoor space where you feel comfortable and safe. With your eyes closed, focus on your senses, especially tuning into sounds, smells, and the feeling of the air against your skin. Open your eyes after a few minutes and take in the color and sights all around you. How does it feel? (Please note, if you have any sensory impairments, simply adjust the task to work in the best way for you; this exercise can be effective with whatever senses you use.)

3. Notice nature reclaiming space.

Take a city/town walk where there is lots of concrete and look for the weeds and wildflowers popping up through the pavement and walls. How often can you spot nature appearing through the cracks? How does it feel to notice it?

Nature is not separate from us. We are a part of nature too, and I hope that these simple exercises help you to feel that connection. If all else fails, simply spend a little time outdoors, or even open a window if there are restrictions on you going outside. Just remember to pay attention to what’s going on out there!

MY ALL – Mariah Carey

Honestly one of the most brilliant and expressive songs I’ve ever heard. Her voice is absolutely mesmerizing, sultry, husky, sensual but also powerful, you can feel that she’s truly yearning for her lost love.

You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, ‘I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

 

LYRICS: Mariah Carey MY ALL

I am thinking of you
In my sleepless solitude tonight
If it’s wrong to love you
Then my heart just won’t let me be right
‘Cause I’ve drowned in you
And I won’t pull through
Without you by my side

I’d give my all to have
Just one more night with you
I’d risk my life to feel
Your body next to mine
‘Cause I can’t go on
Living in the memory of our song
I’d give my all for your love tonight

Baby can you feel me
Imagining I’m looking in your eyes
I can see you clearly
Vividly emblazoned in my mind
And yet you’re so far
Like a distant star
I’m wishing on tonight
I’d give my all to have
Just one more night with you
I’d risk my life to feel
Your body next to mine
‘Cause I can’t go on

Living in the memory of our song
I’d give my all for your love tonight
I’d give my all to have
Just one more night with you
I’d risk my life to feel
Your body next to mine
‘Cause I can’t go on
Living in the memory of our song
I’d give my all for your love tonight
(I’d) give my all for your love
Tonight

 

You Are The Reason – Calum Scott & Leona Lewis

This is so special song with lyrics – You Are The Reason –  “You belong so deep within my heart. Your laughter brightens up my days. You are the purpose of my life and the reason why I live.”

 

Lyrics:

There goes my heart beating

Cause you are the reason

I’m losing my sleep

Please come back now

 

There goes my mind racing

And you are the reason

That I’m still breathing

I’m hopeless now

 

I’d climb every mountain

And swim every ocean

Just to be with you

And fix what I’ve broken

Oh, ‘cause I need you to see

That you are the reason

 

There goes my hands shaking

Cause you are the reason

My heart keeps bleeding

And I need you now

 

If I could turn back the clock

I’d make sure the light defeated the dark

I’d spend every hour, of every day

Keeping you safe

 

I’d climb every mountain

And swim every ocean

Just to be with you

And fix what I’ve broken

Oh, ‘cause I need you to see

That you are the reason

You are the reason

Yeah, yeah…

 

I’d climb every mountain

And swim every ocean

Just to be with you

And fix what I’ve broken

Oh, ‘cause I need you to see

That you are the reason

The Music Played – Piano & Guitar

Mihran Kalaydjian on Piano – The Music Played – Piano & Guitar 

“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.”

Artist: Matt Monro
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Location: Coronado Island

 

 

 

Lyrics:

An angry silence stayed where love had been
And in your eyes a look I’ve never seen
If I had found the words you might have stayed
But as I turned to speak the music played

As lovers danced their way around the floor
I suddenly watched you walk towards the door
I heard a friend of yours suggest you stay
And as you took his hand the music played

Across the darkened room the fatal signs I saw
We’d been something more than friends before
Well, I was hurting you by clinging to my pride
He had been waiting and I drove him to your side

I couldn’t say the things I should have said
Refused to let my heart control my head
But I was made to see the price I paid
And as he held you close the music played
And as I lost your love the music played
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

© 2017 Paramount Studios& Element Band All Rights Reserved

To the Children

 

To you, the children…may you grow wise and strong–strong of heart.

With clarity and purpose may you learn well to care for her on whose back you walk…Mother Earth.

Even now, it is we who learn from you, as we watch you grow.
You forgive so quickly, and you love so unconditionally.

The light of spirit shines so brightly within you.

May you cultivate these things as you grow to become the leaders of tomorrow.

May you learn to live in harmony with one another, that your world may be a world of peace.

World Class Versatile Blogger Award

Once again I’m humbled to have been honored with a nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award by not just one, but two awesome blogs!  The Versatile Blogger Award was created to feature recognize blogs that have unique content , Piano Melody and Art of Piano. I was amazed to receive a nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award from one of m favorite and most talented bloggers Arkiti  – Huge Thanks to the awesome Princess Arkiti –

versatile-blogger

A fellow blogger on WordPress whose blog is entitled – ‘The Human Lens’ has nominated me for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’. I am extremely grateful for receiving this award. It’s been a while i accepted an award here since i always have felt the need to promote lesser known but riveting blogs of new writers. But this time i graciously agreed to receive it since the blogger who has nominated me is a very talented, bright and intellectual individual. I keep her in my highest regard and have utmost respect for her not just as a blogger but as a human being. Before i share with you the rules for the award, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely lady who has nominated me .

She’s a Pakistani woman, who stands out of the crowd. The woman is a human rights journalist/activist and trainer. She’s also a feminist and advocates equality.Her affiliations include the South Asian Feminist Network, Pakistan Women Media Network, Dignity International, Islamic Relief, Search for Common Ground etc. She lives it real and is a very aware and pragmatic woman. I insist all of you reading this should definitely visit her blog. Here’s the linkhttps://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/

 

To Arkiti – I am deeply grateful and humbled by this honor.

Thank you

 

https://akritimattu.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/versatile-blogger-award/

 

Respectfully;

Mino

” Fast Fingers”

 

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again – Winning Award Song

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again 

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Never Alone Again

Written by Armen Tasmanian & Akriti Mattu
Lyrics “Never Alone Again”
Genre: Rabiz
Year: 2014
Producer: Edward Khoury & Sami Abdo
Recording & arrangement: Paramount Studios

 

Never Alone Again
To you I give the whole me
For I believe that you’re my destiny
To you I offer every best of my heart
For I believe that you will value it

I want to share my whole life with you
For me to show that my love is true
I want to hold you in my arms
And sing you songs and lullabies

Loving you is what I want to do
Although I know that it can make me blue
Cause tears in my eyes has nothing to do
If I’m with a man that is you
© 2014 Paramount Studios& Akriti Mattu All Rights Reserved

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing Forever Without You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZp3Wk2PPG0

Mihran Kalaydjian Singing
“Forever Without You”

ritten by Joseph Nalbandian
Lyrics “Forever Without You
Genre: Melody
Year: 2014
Producer: Samer Gubran Khoury & Sami Abdo
Recording & arrangement: Paramount Studios

So I will not hurt
My heart was filled with bitterness
Here I leave you.
And I do not know, where are you going?
I doubt shivering
May God protected you.

I doubt shivering
May God protected you.

Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration

Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration

And Theory hour
‘Do not forget to pray
Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration

Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration

Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration Ah, sad life without you
Day of the year will be
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration
But wherever you are, my soul again
Look around to vibration

Mihran Kalaydjian Forever Without You
© 2014 Paramount Studios All Rights Reserved

 

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO LYRICS

 

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it takes two to tango

you tell me that he really hurt you
hurt you, oh, so bad
you wonder how he could desert you
god, he made you mad
were you nothing but a victim
did you never have a choice
it takes two to tango
didn’t you wear familiar clothes
the ones you wear so well
didn’t you blush just like a rose
on your way to hell
were you nothing but a victim
did you never have a choice
it takes two to tango
were you nothing but a victim
did you never have a choice
it takes two to tango
weren’t you once head over heels
weren’t you, oh, so sure
if she’s to blame for how you feel
who will be the cure
were you nothing but a victim
did you never have a choice
oh, it takes two to tango
hey, now, even if your arm was twisted
what happened to your voice
oh, it takes two to tango