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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

I live in the deep south, so fresh air is relatively simple to find.  A fresh attitude, however, is not so easily obtained.  But I have come to realize that the more I have of the first lends itself toward helping me find the second.

In recent months, I feel like I’ve been getting hit from all sides. My job is up in the air.  My home life is going through its own share of turmoil.  And I’m watching a couple of friends go through major health crises right now. It is easy to wallow in the doldrums these days.  And my attitude has definitely been leaning far to the negative side lately.

Spook

My daughter has been taking horse riding lessons for quite a while.  But recently we switched from group lessons at one barn to private lessons at a different one.  Initially, she was taking evening classes with the new instructor. But now that the days are shorter, we have switched to Saturday morning lessons. Today just may have been one of the most perfect mornings I’ve had in a while. The weather couldn’t  have been nicer, and we had the whole place to ourselves except for the instructor.

While she began her lesson at the front of the pasture, I went to area behind the barn and sat on a swing in the sunshine and watched the other horses as they grazed.  It was so peaceful and refreshing.  I was even inspired to use that time to fit in today’s routine in my C25K program.  There is nothing like jogging in an open field with the smell of hay and cut grass to wake up your senses!

Today’s time spent in the fresh air did my spirit a world of good.  I could have spent that hour with my nose buried in my Nook like I usually do.  But instead I paid attention to the beauty around me, and it motivated me to do something good for myself.  I know there will still be times when I give in to the mully-grubs. But I’m going to try to be more positive.  And at least on Saturdays, I know I can count on Beauty, Nova, Echo, and my other equestrian friends to cheer me on!

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A lot can be said about time.

time...memories

For very young children, it goes by at a snail’s pace – especially when they are looking forward to Christmas or their birthday party.  For those more my age, we never seem to have enough of it.  Our lives are so busy and we’re so focused on moving from one task to the other that we don’t even take the opportunity to appreciate what is going on all around us.  And for the older generation, time moves by at lightning speed, and in the blink of an eye another year has passed.

Today marked the 85th birthday of one of my dear aunts.  I sent her a very early morning email to express my hope that she had a great day, and that I knew my cousins would be surrounding her with love today. I told her she didn’t look a day over 60, but she responded with good humor and informed me that she did indeed feel very much her age today.  🙂  I think we’ll just blame that on the weather (which has been rainy for a couple of days now), because she certainly would fool anyone who looked at her and tried to guess how old she is.

I have also been thinking about my dad, who found out he had cancer on May 1st of last year.  At the time, I was told he had months to live.  Months…what does that mean?  No one could really say.  So I was left to wonder, does that mean three?  Maybe six?  Would he make it to Christmas?   Could I dare hope it meant eighteen or twenty-four?  Could he beat the odds and make it another five years?  That’s only 60 months, not that much when you compare it to a lifetime, really.

I’m no closer to finding out the answer to that riddle, but I don’t really question it any more.  I have been blessed to have him for another year, and he hasn’t given up yet.  Every day has been a gift, and it’s only sweeter because he isn’t in a lot of pain and is still very much himself mentally.  If I ignore the fact that he is much bonier when I hug him, or that his so-beautiful mane of thick silver hair has now noticeably thinned, I can fool myself for a brief while that nothing has changed.

But one thing that has definitely changed is that I realize the value of a day now, more than ever.  And I am trying to not get so bogged down with life’s problems that I fail to enjoy the moments I’m given each day.  Time is the one thing that once spent, you can never get a refund.  So we should all choose wisely how we spend each day.

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The serenity prayer…most of us are familiar with it (even if we can’t quote it verbatum).  I fall into that category myself, so I googled it (sorry Mom – I know you’re disappointed I had to look it up!  🙂 )

serenityThis week, I put that prayer to the test.  Some of you already know that my job is extremely challenging. This week it was worse than ever.  It was month-end, with the new abbreviated closing schedule Corporate has given us.  And after Day 1, my assistant came down with a type of viral stomach flu.  She missed the rest of this week.

When I get frustrated or stressed out, I am a cryer under normal circumstances.  I’m not particularly happy that I react that way, but it’s how I’m wired nonetheless.  So it caught even me by surprise that I didn’t have a meltdown when I received word that my 2nd-in-charge was going to be MIA for a couple of days.  Normally, I would panic as I received the call that my helper wasn’t going to be there to shoulder some of the work.  But somehow I accepted it for what it was – an unwelcome hiccup in the road that I had no control over.  I still had the same deadlines in place, and that was also something I couldn’t change.  If at the time I had realized she would miss four days, I might not have coped as well as I did!  🙂

But at the time, I took a calming breath, said a mental prayer that God would help me get through it somehow, and then began to tackle one task at the time.  On Tuesday, I got up at 3:00 in the morning, hooked up the laptop, and began to work.  I didn’t go to sleep again until 10:30 pm THE NEXT DAY!  Yeah, I was awake for about 44 hours.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it had to be done.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have had our company’s month-end results completed on time so that they could be rolled up with everyone else’s at Corporate.  Corporate didn’t care what I had to do to make my deadline, they only expected me to make it.  No questions asked.

Last night I went to bed at 11:00 pm and slept until 7:00 this morning.  I rarely get 8 hours of sleep in one night, but let me tell you, it was some mighty good rest!!!  I feel like I can actually get some housework done today, which will make my husband happy too.  🙂

We’ve all found ourselves at some point in our lives, where our backs were against the wall.  Fight or flight isn’t even a question…we don’t have the option to flee.  We have to dig our heels in deep and fight to meet the challenge head-on.

Thankfully, most of us don’t face unusual challenges every day.  But the next time life throws a curveball at you, stop and catch your breath.  Don’t worry about the things you can’t control, but rather put your efforts into what is in your control.  Focus on one task at a time rather than the big picture.  It might not be a particularly pleasant trip, but you will eventually come to the end of that journey and you will have come through a SURVIVOR!

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I’ve written about this before, but bear with me.  Today’s post is yet another blog about being trapped in an unfulfilling job.

The presidential debates are in full swing, but I’m not watching.  I can’t sit through the stress.  I deal with enough of that during the day at work.  At night, I am always in search of warm, fuzzy feelings.

I don’t need to listen to the debates to know that unemployment is high.  I’ve lost several co-workers over the last two years.  I have seen it first hand.  I don’t need to listen to the verbal sparring to know the economy is still bad.  I regularly see the paperwork come across my desk for employees who are having to dip into their 401K savings just to make ends meet.  Or worse, I have to set up the wage attachment when an employee files bankruptcy or has a garnishment order.  I know it’s still bad.

Lately, there has been an interesting phenomenon at work.  People are beginning to sound like Eeyore as I listen to conversations around the office.  Take Monday mornings for instance.  Greet almost anyone as they come in the building, and you’ll hear, in that sad, mopey voice, “Don’t know what’s good about it.  Just back for more of the same drudgery.”  Or ask how their weekend was, and you’re likely to hear a deep sigh, followed by something like, “It was good until yesterday when I had to start thinking about coming back to this place.”   Even Friday afternoons aren’t immume to the droning sound of someone saying, “Better enjoy the weekend.  We’ll just do it all over again come Monday morning.”

I’ve started imagining in my head that they are all speaking like Eeyore.  It isn’t meant to make fun of anyone, but merely to bring a little personal comic relief my way.  Besides, I always loved Eeyore.

Fortunately, I have my writing as an escape.  I’m far too busy during the day, but at night, my time is my own (after feeding the family, cleaning the kitchen, reviewing homework, and putting the youngest one to bed!).  And I escape into the fantasy filled world of romance that I love to create.

In fact, I get so refreshed when writing that I can go to work each morning and try to channel – not Eeyore – but Winnie the Pooh instead.  I try to be a friend to everyone, and a sympathetic ear when they need to talk.  I try to be optimistic (at least on the outside, even if on the inside I’m worried too) – just like Pooh, who always felt like he could get that honey out of the tree, despite the threat of sting from those bees.  I try to encourage others that we can stick together and get through whatever may come our way.   I’m inquisitive, or at least I don’t mind questioning decisions that are made that don’t necessarily make sense.  And I try to be a friend that everyone else will feel they can turn to.  Who among us can resist the soft spoken charm of sweet Pooh Bear?

Okay, well, soft spoken is probably not a descriptor used very often for me.  But you get the idea, right?  So when faced with a challenging situation, I choose to, as Pooh would say, “Think, Think, Think” and try to work it out.  And when I’m stumped, instead of getting mad, I’ll just say, ‘”Oh Bother!” and move past it.

And in the meantime, each night I’ll keep escaping to my fictional world, where everything is perfect.  And for every working woman, there is a gorgeous, intelligent millionaire ready to take her away from the daily grind!  🙂

Oh, that life could imitate art!

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Here’s an odd tidbit…today is Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk day.  I’m not lying.  Apparently, there are seventeen national food holidays.  I’m game for National Watermelon Day or maybe even Something on A Stick Day, but count me out for Turkey Neck Soup Day.  Seriously…google it and see the whole list of 17.  It’s some crazy stuff.

But, today it’s all about spilt milk (or spilled, if you prefer, but seriously, isn’t “spilt” a much quirkier and fun way to say it???).

What does that mean exactly?  Well, the generally accepted translation is that you shouldn’t waste time fretting over something that either can’t be changed or is too insignificant to matter anyway.

Unlike most foods, where the 3 second rule applies and as long as you pick it up off the floor within 3 seconds of dropping it, it’s still considered edible, it’s impossible to collect spilt milk and put it back in the glass.  Just clean it up, pour another glass, and move on.  No harm, no foul.  In the time of my parents’ childhood, or “the dark ages”, as we tease my 80-year-old dad, many families had dairy cows and literally had to milk them in order to have something to drink.  If the bucket got tipped over, the liquid would quickly ooze into the earth, and you just picked the pail back up and started milking again.

When I clicked on the internet this morning and saw the headline which explained that – no this isn’t an ordinary Saturday, it’s a national “holiday” – I wondered about the origin of the old adage.  As any modern day woman would do, I googled it.  Some people say it’s in the Bible, although I’ve yet to find that in my concordance (although references to a land flowing with milk and honey are).  Others believe it goes back to simpler times (see previous paragraph) when life was hard and there were enough legitimate things to be stressed over, so there was no sense adding to your worries about the insignificant ones, and it was best to just let the little things go.

In my brief research this morning, I landed upon an origin that piques the romance writer in me.  There is a legend that in olden days, fairies would walk among us (or fly?  I’m never sure if Fairies are supposed to be little flying beings like Tinkerbell, or gorgeous gods and goddesses who could intermingle with humans, yet stood out among them for their mouth-watering good looks!).  Even though times were really hard and every ounce of food or drink was needed for the sustenance of humanity, people recognized the importance of finding favor with the Fae, and would leave offerings of food or milk out for the fairies to enjoy.  Milk was thought to be the fae’s absolute favorite thing, so it was frequently left out to appease any visiting sprites.  And anyone who grumbled about the “waste” of milk was in danger of angering the beings.  Therefore, family members urged each other to give the gift willingly and not grumble about it lest bad luck come into the home.

Whatever the origin, it’s sage advice.  Life is extremely hectic for most of us.  We don’t have time to accomplish half of what we need to, and what we DO accomplish is often hard-won.  So let’s don’t complicate things by stressing out over what truly doesn’t matter.  I challenge myself – and each of you as well – to try to learn NOT to borrow trouble.  There is enough going on every day that is beyond our control and sometimes even seemingly impossible to achieve.  So let’s all learn to let the little things go.  Every moment that passes is a minute of our lives we cannot get back.  Let’s spend our moments wisely.

And since we’re on the topic of Fairies, I will leave you with a little eye candy from the covers of two of my favorite author’s Urban Fantasy books.  Feast your eyes on this sampling of cover art of Karen Ann Moning books, as well as a photo of the model who has posed for many of them (paging Jinger Heaston…do you have this man on speed dial because his abs look remarkably similar to the hunk you used on the cover of Perfectly Imperfect!!!  🙂 ).

 

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to take a gallon of milk and drizzle it outside every window and door of my house in an attempt to lure this fairy to my house! LOL!

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