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Don’t De-Emphasize De-Stressing!

by Vince Pellegrino
Saturday Mar 23, 2013
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We all need to give ourselves a little "down time" every once in a while living in this mad, mad world. With springtime finally here and the long cold winter slowly fading away, we all need to give ourselves a break in our weekly routine, just like the flowers and groundhogs.

So then, what can you do to "de-stress"? Take naps? Work out at the gym then relax in the steam room? Or enjoy some evenings out with friends at a favorite restaurant then off to the movies? I know for me, it’s a weekend in my Connecticut home to play ball-toss with my dog in the backyard and then watch romantic comedies (how gay!). As with many of my fellow city dwellers, a yoga class can be most helpful and calming and lucky for us that many gyms offer those classes to its members; along with Pilates or Boot Camp if that is more your style.

Whatever you choose, everyone needs to do something relaxing to "recharge his batteries" and prepare himself for eventually going back to work and those daily stresses. More than most people, gay men and lesbians have refined the art of relaxation and allow ourselves that all-important "downtime." We get massages, go on fun-filled vacations, or make appointments for that all-important manicure/pedicure.

Life coach Ellen Goldman, in the article "8 Ways to Put Yourself on Your Priority List," emphasizes the importance of putting ourselves first before everything else. "We all instinctively know that when we take the time to pursue our passions, do the things we enjoy, relax or do nothing at all, we end up happier, healthier, and feeling better."

For everyone who has partaken in New York’s mega dance event the Black Party, I’m sure you did a good deal of "de-stressing" on the dance floors and the more secretive areas of Roseland Ballroom. Whether you choose to to partake in such frolics or prefer more restful pursuits, doctors recommend everyone get eight hours of sleep.

After a good nights sleep, have a nice and hearty breakfast. Nothing beats a good American breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs for decompressing from a stressful week. (Of course for many of us, a breakfast like that would most likely be followed by two to three hours in the gym burning it off.)

Whatever activities you choose to follow, find something to relax the nerves, warm the heart, and soothe the soul. In the words of the humorist, Bauvard, "Just relax, everyone around you is working to hard."

Dr. Vince Pellegrino has PhDs in educational theater and drama therapy from New York University and is a board-certified psychotherapist in New York City and Connecticut. He teaches communications at Hofstra University. He is currently working on a book, "Gay Communication Game," about "Gayspeak"; an interactive TV program featuring real-time therapy sessions in development. Go to Dr. Vince TV for more information.

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