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Expressing your stress

7 ways to relieve stress (creatively)

Stress is an emotion we all experience when we feel something has become too much for us. It is a mental message from our body telling us that it is time to take a chill pill!  Every so often stress can be detrimental to our health and often causes physical and psychological illnesses, which becomes even more stressful since we are unable to perform. Discovering ways to manage stress can actually just supplement the stress and become equally time consuming.

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With 2016 coming to an end, students are dealing with final exam stress and the working class is dealing with deadlines and a heavy workload before getting your boss to sign off the request for Christmas vacation! Doing two things at once might just help you cross a few extra things off your to-do list, so I have attentively gathered a list of seven ways you can relieve stress (without a stress ball) and express your creative side at the same time.

  1.    Invest in a mini Zen-Garden

As a child, I would watch my sister use her little Zen garden after school and I was quite amused by the fact that someone would actually gift her something that I considered a very peculiar item. So I decided to do some research around this.

The ‘Zen’ tradition is commonly known for expressing mindfulness, peace of mind and letting go of the negatives that surround you. Creating your own mini Zen garden is a useful way to bring about some of these qualities in your life. The expressive part is that you can design the mini garden in your own personal way and add a touch of what you are feeling through the design of your garden. A mini Zen garden generally comes with stone, sand, gravel and a mini rake. Some also come with miniature plants or a miniature Buddha. The size varies but they are never bigger than an A4 page, which makes it easy to keep on your desk or bedside table.  You can purchase one of these for about R130 at bookstores, home stores or online! Ps; if you don’t want to spend any money, you can find a free desktop zen garden or an app for iOS and Android.

2. Writing in a journal

As children, many of us had diaries in which we would write a few daily rants about the girl who was nasty to us at school or our secret crush. This was because writing is an outlet that anyone can use. It is simple and accessible. Journal writing has been used as a form of therapy prescribed by psychologist to those experiencing mental distress, so why not pick up a pen and jot down some feelings? By making yourself aware of what happened in your day or by writing down a few thoughts, you will find that this makes tackling the next day easier. Especially if you aren’t one to share your work stress with a loved one, a journal will be you best friend and you might even get to know yourself a little better.  Admittedly, I find it hard to write down what I feel, because once you put pen to paper, seeing the words on a page make it real. It puts your emotions or distress in the real world, and sometimes this is difficult to deal with. But on the other hand, this is also a better reason to do it because you can then deal with the issue instead of blocking it out.

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3. Dancing

Undeniably, this one might seem a bit weird and maybe even seem daunting. But I don’t mean join a class and become a professional dancer. I simply mean just put some music on after your long day, lock your room door and shake off the stress! Dancing has been known to have the power to take your mind of the ‘now’ and help you enter a new world. Taylor Swift explains how to shake if off pretty well, so if you are stuck for some music options then this might be a great start.

4. Colouring In

 At least one person we all know of is a colourer, this has to be a good sign, right? One of The Expresso’s (my shared blog) first series were about the benefits of adult colouring. Adult colouring is a new craze and it doesn’t go unsupported. Plenty of research and experience has encouraged adults to partake in this activity. Adult colouring creates a peaceful and serene environment and the colourer feels at ease with themselves. It is ideal for stress relief and you can personalise it to suit your mood. Take a look at our series for more scientific facts and testimonials from passionate adult colourers. Colouring books are easy to carry around with you so they’re perfect to take to work and they are well priced. You can pay between R30-R100 for a colouring book from any bookstore.

5. Marbling

Marbling is a simple yet beautiful form of art. It is not the most popular art form but it provides the similar comfort and peace of mind as colouring in does. But if you find colour pencils or crayons a bit too juvenile, this is definitely for you. Marbling is similar to tie-dye, it is the art of printing multi-coloured swirl-like patterns on any piece of material using little tubes filled with paint and inserting tiny droplets of the paint onto an oil or water like base. You can either place a paper on top of this liquid (which now has your pattern) or any form of material. The stress relief comes from the creation of a unique pattern, some find it relaxing to mix and create colours. The best part is that you could print coasters or plates and keep them around the house. They can even be used as gifts, how nifty! When I was in high-school, my mother would watch DIY shows on TV and she used to help my sisters and I make the things she learnt about. One of which was marbling items.  The only downfall is that you have to be at home to do this and it gets a bit addictive. Marbling sets sell for about R125 at any art or stationary store.

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6. Yoga

Yoga is one of the most common forms of stress-relief for the working class women. Some take a class at the gym or they try it at home. It is also very useful for men but a but mostly favoured by women. Yoga helps one find inner peace and assists you in separating yourself from reality. It is also beneficial for physical health and even weight loss. If you don’t have a gym subscription, you can use your smartphone to download a free app which will guide you through a step by step yoga session. You can practice this in your office (with the door closed) or in your bedroom, it might even be a good idea to try your garden or balcony. If you do not have a smartphone, you can google a workout session step by step diagram and stick it up onto your wall.

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7. Gardening

Gardening is a hobby and a pastime that creates mindfulness. It helps you become aware of your surroundings and the combination of fresh air and sunlight releases toxins in your brain that assist with relaxation. The mental focus one invests when taking care of a few plants is enough to set the cause of your stress aside for a few minutes. Gardening doesn’t have to be growing tomatoes or pumpkins! It can simply be having a few small plants in your garden or balcony and taking care of them. You could also invest in a bonsai or an orchid and dedicate some of your time to growing it beautifully.

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Let Me Roll It

It has been a long time since the last part of this series so I apologise, it has been a busy term back at campus which is why I have neglected the series a little.

Last but not least, I would like to end with some pictures of the concert. The entire reason my father and I traveled across the world (literally) just to see Paul McCartney!

 

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My dad insisted we leave for the concert about two hours before it actually began. We stood in a line filled with beaming Beatles fans, all so eager to push their way through. Luckily we had reserved seats so we were not part of the rush!
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The concert started with A Hard Days Night and the atmosphere from the very beginning was unbelievable and out of this world. 
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Paul was so energetic for a man his age. He performed for about three hours straight and did not even have a drink of water. 
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Performing a song especially for George Harrison. 
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This picture speaks for itself. One of the most unforgettable nights of my life!

Paul who?

SWOT week crept upon us and all our stress-levels increased. It was that time of year again, mid-term examinations. The time of year where most of us spend three weeks studying two terms worth of work. There’s tears, over-eating, trips to the local convenient store in the early hours of the morning; it is no doubt one of the most stressful times for a student at Rhodes University.

But my third year experiencing this didn’t happen the conventional way. I had the pleasure of spending the days building up to exams in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with my favourite man in the world. If you follow me on any social networks or keep up with The Vision of Iris, you will soon learn that I am a massive fan of The Beatles. I have a Beatles related tattoo, my headboard sits below two canvas’s of the Beatles, my favourite mug features The Beatles; and the list goes on. So you can say I am Beatles crazy.

My family is a musical family. My grandfathers business was a Jukebox manufacturing business, and he left this trade to my four uncles and father. From a young age, the children of the family grew up being exposed to old school Rock n’ Roll, and we all held this exposure close to our hearts. From a young age, I spent a lot of time in my dads workshop, while he worked on this magnificent machines, he would play his favourite music and I slowly grew an attachment to The Beatles.

During my younger years when all the girls at school were swooning over One Direction, often referring to them as their ‘five boyfriends’, I was hung up on my four boyfriends, Paul, John, Ringo and George.

So it was brought to my dads attention a few months ago that one of the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney was starting his tour around the world. As the tour started my dad would spend hours on YouTube watching the videos that fans had uploaded and he would call my sisters and I up to share his excitement on what he just saw. From this, my eldest sister sparked the idea to send my dad for one of the concerts which were everywhere, but South Africa…

Within two weeks, my sisters teamed up and together with my mom, they spent the little time they had to plan an entire trip. I was lucky enough to have been the one to accompany my dad. After about six phone calls a day, an email thread of about 200 messages, trips to Home Affairs (again and again and again), from Grahamstown to Pretoria to Durban in a matter of 16 days- we were finally all set and ready to go to see Paul McCarney LIVE in Prague.

The reality of where we were going and why didn’t hit us. It was unreal.  So this was it, dad and I, travelling across the world just to see Paul.

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Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

 

This Way to ‘I do’- Sangeet Sensations

Across the Universe- Touring as a Beatles fan

I have been spending a great amount of time on Google searching for ‘unusual’ tourist attractions. It’s random I know but often when travelling overseas, tourists give themselves two options. One;  experience the city like a local. Or two; view the common tourist attractions. So I wanted to find a third option, one more specific. What if I don’t just want to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Or the Prague Astronomical Clock?

Being a major fan of The Beatles , I’ve decided to search for some really cool places every Beatles fan should visit.

1- Liverpool: I hope one day I end up in Liverpool, the home of the boys! Liverpool is full of Beatles tributes and historical tours. But the one that caught my attention is the Magical Mystery Tour. According to the many fans feedback online, you step onto a colorful bus and embark on a two hour trip through the Beatles childhood homes and places that inspired plenty of their songs. This sounds like a magical bus indeed! The video below is a mini version posted by someone in the bus during a tour. If you don’t want to spoil the excitement for yourself, keep scrolling; or press play to get a little sneak peak!

2- Prague: The Lennon Wall. After John Lennon was murdered in 1980, Lennon became a hero to the youth in the Czech Republic. Since his death, the wall has been filled with graffiti relating to Lennon and lyrics of his music. Fans are also allowed to contribute to the wall! So don’t forget to carry a little something so you can leave your mark, if I ever visit Prague, this might be my first stop!

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The Lennon Wall in Prague. Image Source: http://photo.net

3- India: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. The Beatles visited this ashram (temple) in India where they learned transcendental meditation. The ashram closed down and became a forgotten ruin in India. But recently, it has grown into a tourist attraction where fans can view the art work, part take in nature walks and bird watching. It was also at this ashram where the Beatles learned mantras that they incorporated in their music.

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The ruins and art in the ashram. Image Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.in
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The Beatles at the Maharishi Ashram. Image Source: http://www.blouinartinfo.com

4- Germany: The Beatles left England to search for success in Germany. The first clubs they played at still stand today and you can also find statues of them which look a bit like cookie cutters to me. But still pretty cool!

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The Beatles in Germany. Image Source: http://www.thetravelpop.com

5- Cuba: The Beatles Bar Restaurant. There is nothing historically related to this place but if you are travelling to Cuba and get a bit bored of the usual touring, fans say this is a great restaurant with good food and great music! 

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The Beatles Bar Restaurant, Cuba. Image Source: http://www.tripadvisor.cl

6- London: Abbey Road. DUH. This is an obvious place to visit for any fan travelling to London. Abbey Road is an iconic Beatles site and happens to be the most famous road crossing in the world. There are numerous tours in London that can take you to Abbey Road or you can take yourself there using public transport.

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The iconic Abbey Road. Image Source: http://www.gonegirlsguide.com

Most of the places I have listed have more than one Beatles attraction. London and Liverpool especially. Being the home of The Beatles, it is booming with tours, museums and bars that have been designed especially for fans. But anywhere you decide to travel to, research and you will always find a home away from home for a Beatles fan.

Paul McCartney plays on stage with a young fan

The legend Paul McCartney is currently performing around Europe and the USA as part of his ‘One on One’ tour.  Watch this video of a show in Argentina, where a young fan comes on stage and surprises the crowd!

 

Bollywood Baby

Will the real SRK please stand up??

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Yes, huge Bollywood baby right here. And for those of you who aren’t conversant with the term Bollywood, it is the Indian version of Hollywood and you might be familiar with names like Aishwariya Rai or Sharuk Khan, and now with changing times (the purpose of this post) Priyanka Chopra.

Now, the essence of Bollywood brings love in every single form to your screen. Many people would condescendingly describe a Bollywood movie as a love story where couples dance around trees and break out into song. WHO LIED TO YOU? I absolutely loathe that description. Being someone who has grown up with a sister who has been bolly-cray, I can safely say I have watched 100’s of Bolly movies, some of which are WAY before my time, so trust me when I say, it is not merely that airheaded description.

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Bollywood is full of beauty, passion, love, sadness, transformation, colour, dance, life and everything else that could make you fall in-love with this world of film. After Hollywood, Bollywood is the next largest film industry, yet it has received limited amount of attention from international audiences with little or no Indian background.

When I was younger, I always looked to Bollywood movies as a way to make me feel good. If ever I was upset or having a bad day, I knew any Bollywood movie from my families collection would bring a combination of tears and laughs to my day. I could watch the same movie one hundred times and not be bored of it. The songs would never die out, and every movie had a minimum of 5 songs which were are magnificently composed and created a hurricane of emotions running through your body.

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Being brought up in a family of dancers, the dancing in these movies played a major role in my life. I loved watching the characters express their emotions in an over-choreographed and unrealistic dance sequence that made you want to get up from your seat and join in (But I never did)

 

Unlike Hollywood, there happens to be a small base of actors with diverse skills who manage to capture your heart again and again.

Bollywood has changed. Bollywood doesn’t make me happy anymore. Bollywood is trying to be Hollywood. Bollywood is NOT Bollywood.

Do you know that feeling when you think you know someone really well, and you have your entire friendship mapped out, because YOU know everything about this person, and then suddenly they change. You’re confused. Were you just blind? You’re questioning everything. Did I do something wrong?

Well, being one to sit around continuing with my antisocial behavior, this is how I felt when Bollywood changed. I was experiencing the ‘I thought I knew you’.

There have been attempts to bring back old Bolly, but directors such as Sanjay Leela-Bansali and Rohit Shetty just proved to me that such as Shakespeare, Bollywood is dead.

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And I am not happy.

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