De-Stress December · Zentangle

De-stress De-cember Day 1

I am doing a Zentangle class at my daughter’s school as part of their ‘de-stress December’ program. Their focus is on students as they are studying for final exams. But, really, who does not need a little less stress in December?

So, for the rest of the month, I’ll be posting some suggestions and activities to help you stress less this month. I will admit that I really do not have time to do this all on my own, and it will be a lot more fun if we all work together. So, are you in?

I promise that I will keep the exercises short and sweet because no one needs to add another thing to their to-do list. I also know that everyone will make time for things they really like to do, so I will do my best to make them not feel like another boring task to check off.

Thanks for joining me.

Introduction – and a quick biology lesson.

Stress is the result of your sympathetic nervous system, an evolutionary marvel that is responsible for the fight-or-flight syndrome. Fortunately, most modern dangers are not ones we that can avoid by fighting or fleeing. Unfortunately, our bodies still react the same way: by raising blood pressure, tightening muscles, and increasing heart rate and breathing. Our body is ready for action. Unnecessarily. Too much of this too often is unhealthy.

The easiest way to combat this is by engaging your parasympathetic nervous system – the rest-and-relax system. As we go through the month, I’ll suggest lots of activities that can help with this, but we will start with the simplest and most natural thing: just breathing.

Daily De-Stress Exercise

Your task for day 1 is to take several “breathing breaks” of 2-3 minutes. Perhaps take a breathing break before you eat, especially if you, like me, are a stress eater.

Set a timer, or download the Chakra Chime app. Its gentle bong is not such a harsh call back to reality as a harsh timer. During your breathing break, simply focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in for a count of 3-5, hold it for a second, then breathe out for a count of 3-5.

Suggestion: Make a sign to remind yourself to breathe and put it on your fridge or desk or anywhere you find yourself stressed.

Tangle du Jour

For those who do Zentangle, breathing is stressed in the process, which is one of the things that makes it relaxing.  A wise fellow CZT (whose name escapes me) told me once that she uses the tangle keeko when wants to focus on her breathing. If you are not familiar with keeko, watch this video.  But, do the lines S-L-O-W-L-Y. Breathe in for the strokes in one direction, hold your breath while you turn your tile, then breathe out for the tangles in the other direction. Repeat as required.

Here is my sign – decorated with keeko.


For More Information

I did another post on the benefits of Breathing in my A-Z of Zentangle series. Take a look if you want to learn more.

Question of the Day

What tangle do you find most relaxing? Please leave me a comment. (If you are on Facebook and want to share your keeko, please do so on my CZT page.)

5 thoughts on “De-stress De-cember Day 1

  1. Cris, my go relaxing tangle would have to be flux and orbs. I think the smooth flow calms me right down to my toes! Love the breathing suggestion and I do tend to forget to focus on that important aspect of life. Thanks Terri CZT16

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me, too. Re:breathing, I am not conscious of it very often either. It’s amazing that something that happens automatically is also under our control. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could also control blood pressure just by wishing it was lower?


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