Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Comfort Zone Challenges

We all have our own comfort zones, which vary throughout our lives, and even by how we are feeling on a particular day. I know that my comfort zone is much smaller when I don't feel well. It is enough challenge to just get myself through the day when I am hurting bad,or very fatiguey, without challenging myself in other ways. Lately, I have been doing relatively well, and have finally gotten a long-awaited reprieve from work. (I work PRN, which means as needed as an Occupational Therapist in the psych units at a hospital- for almost two years they have been understaffed most of the time. I have been working three days a week for what seems like forever.)
I am ready for a new challenge, so I have recently gotten involved in our temple, in an area new to me, and I am loving it.. I have written here before about how music and singing helps me feel better. I sing for myself, I don't have a great singing voice. Our temple is doing a 'Gospel Shabbat' (Sabbath) service, with the choirs from another Jewish congregation, and from one of the churches, known for its choir. They were looking for more people, and I signed on. The rehearsals are alot of fun, and I am not the only one with no choir experience. I have not been in a performing singing group since elementary school (does that even count?) I am enjoying it so much, I am considering joining the regular temple choir, which performs once a month.
Sometimes going outside of your comfort zone can be scary and uncomfortable. Some people need to do it slowly, like getting your feet wet, then wading in up to your knees, and little by little getting deeper, always able to back out if need be. Others prefer to jump in all at once, then see if they sink or swim. I prefer the little by little method generally. I already know many of the others in the choir, I already sing regularly as part of the congregation at the temple, and I am not the only newbie there, so I don't feel too far away from my comfort zone.
Stepping out of your comfort zone has many health benefits. Recent research has shown that exercising your brain can help to protect it from dementia. One of the suggestions for exercising your brain is to learn and to try new things. Trying new things can add spice to your life, and cure boredom. It expands your horizons, provides you with new opportunities. Many activities involve other people, so it is a good way to meet new people and maybe make some new friends.
The options are endless, limited only by your imagination (and perhaps your energy level). Like to sing? Join a choir. Like to read? Read to others at a school or nursing home. Like to see plays? Volunteer to usher at a theater. Keep your eyes and ears open, and when something catches your interest, go for it. You (probably) won't regret it, and if you do, you still learned something, right?      

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