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Simple Ways to Reduce Daily Stress Levels in 2024

Updated: Jan 31




With the pressures of work, family life, maintaining a social schedule, weekly grocery shopping, and all the other necessities of the week, stress can easily build up and sometimes feels too overwhelming on top of practicing the piano. I'm personally trying to improve my daily stress levels and have made a list of things that have helped me on my journey to calmness. #reducestress #lessstress #effectivepractice

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  • Planning ahead

Google Calendar has been so helpful is managing my daily schedule and activities. The visual of seeing it all laid out week by week has helped with managing overwhelm. Designating colors to social events, work hours, and working out helps keep track without making mental notes every time.



  • Meal planning

Meal prep helps to avoid constant decision making on what to eat at every meal each day, and it saves time in putting a meal together. The weekends are a great time to dedicated to meal prep such as cutting vegetables, preparing proteins, or creating full meals in individual tupperware for the week. I specifically cut up vegetables/tofu in separate tupperware for my lunches which allows for a quick meal during my workday.



  • Reducing caffeine

I used to be obsessed with cold brew in the afternoons (in addition to my morning cup of coffee), but realized that the extra caffeine jolt made me feel super anxious and gave me a crash later in the day. I've now swapped out the large cold brew for iced green tea and my energy level is much more steady. There is the convenience of green tea powder packets or powder bags in a tin can. I like to use Mighty Leaf organic matcha singles when I'm on the go or Rishi Tea Everyday Matcha when at home. Other options if you don't like green tea include low acid organic decaf coffee, dandelion coffee, or relaxing Kava tea.



  • Go for a walk

A great way to break up the work day is to take a walk around the neighborhood. I listen to my favorite podcasts while walking after eating lunch. This gives me better energy for the rest of the day and also helps clear my mind from the build up of to-dos in the beginning hours of the day. Piano teacher related podcasts I've enjoyed recently include The Piano Sensei Way, Piano Teacher Primer, The Piano Pantry Podcast, and The Prosperous Piano Teacher. Also, non-music related podcasts include The School of Greatness, The Genius Life, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and On Purpose with Jay Shetty.



  • Yoga

Yoga once a week is still my goal for the upcoming New Year! When I have done a yoga session at home, I feel so relaxed after. I'm also a shallow breather and yoga has helped me on my breathwork. I personally enjoy yoga sessions in my privacy of my home through Youtube. One channel I highly recommend is Yoga with Adriene. Her voice is so soothing and the progression of yoga moves is simple to follow.



  • Red light Therapy

If you can afford a red light therapy panel, I highly recommend using one! I've been using mine before bed and it truly helps me fall asleep faster. Red light therapy has many benefits which include reducing inflammation, promoting skin rejuvenation, minimizing wrinkles, and easing muscle pain. I own a Mito Light which I place next to my bed and either sit up on the floor or lie down with a pillow next to the panel for 10 minutes each session.



  • Before Bed Routine

In addition to incorporating red light therapy, I've found listening to meditation apps and Youtube binaural beats videos has helped me wind down at night. Apps include "Waking Up" by Sam Harris (paid monthly subscription) and Healthy Minds (free). I learned about binaural beats through my parents about 4 years ago. Frequencies such as 528Hz and 432Hz are powerful in promoting physical and emotional healing. 528Hz can help with mental clarity, DNA repair, and balancing the heart chakra. 432Hz reduces stress and anxiety as well as help with deeper sleep at night. These frequencies are part of up to nine "solfeggio frequencies" that are used for healing and meditation. To read more about these frequencies, you can check out this website. Give it a try! You have nothing to lose and you might feel better after a listen.



  • Reading before bed

An hour or two before bed, I try to limit screen time by reading a book. My go-to genres are light-hearted fiction or self-help. Books I've enjoyed recently have been The Rosie Project, Atomic Habits, The Four Tendencies, and am currently reading The Creative Act. I've learned that I personally enjoy reading physical copies of books instead of ebooks or kindle books. A great place to buy used books is ThriftBooks where I've also found deals on piano sheet music in the past.


  • Acupuncture/massage


Acupuncture has helped me with chronic pack/neck pain and maintaining general health. I always feel relaxed and at peace after every session. Depending on what pains or concerns you have, your acupuncturist will focus on particular areas of the body with small needles. Sometimes these points are slightly sore when punctured while other times hardly painful. I view acupuncture as a reset for the body, helping energy flow through the body's meridians (passageways connected to organs).

Your health insurance might allow you to only pay a small copay for each session or you can find a clinic that offers a sliding scale payment.


I also seek out a deep tissue massage every 3-4 months since it tends to be a bit pricey. Shout out to Maria at Boulder Therapeutics! I choose what kind of music to listen to during the massage as well as certain areas of the body to focus on. The time goes by so fast every time, and I feel so rejuvenated afterwards!


For both acupuncture and massage, make sure to hydrate well afterwards to allow for better elimination of toxins.



FINAL THOUGHTS:


Starting a new year, I've reflected on how I want to go about daily routines in my life. Managing stress is something that's been constantly on my mind these days, and I know it helps me have more clarity in my practice sessions and feeling less overwhelmed with the process. Great practice sessions require a lot of mental energy and having lower stress levels throughout the day can lead to more effective practice.


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More content available at my Youtube channel and Instagram @ haparopiano











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