Archives for posts with tag: coping with stress

“Hmm. I want to do something relaxing. Hey, I have a gift certificate to the spa!”

Those were my thoughts a couple of weeks ago. I called the spa and asked if they had any openings for a massage the next day. They did, I made the appointment, and the massage was wonderful and almost completely covered by the gift certificate.

This anecdote would mildly pleasant though not very interesting if it weren’t for one thing. I’d been carrying that gift certificate in my purse for about ten years. According to Washington State law, gift certificates never expire. As long as they don’t get destroyed and the business is still operating, one can use a gift certificate at any time.

In many ways, this is a wonderful thing. Human beings, however, have a funny habit. We tend not to do something that is not part of our daily routine if there’s no built in time frame. Even stuff we want to do.

So what made me use that gift certificate?

If I had to guess it is because current stressful events in my life have upped my motivation to take care of myself. I’ve been providing more support to my parents, which takes time and energy.

My mom recently worried aloud that the support that I am giving them is “too much” for me given my work responsibilities and the time I devote to staying healthy. I told her, “Mom, I want to help you and Dad. It is a priority.”

My dad said something similar. I related to him how frustrating and powerless friends of mine feel because they would like to help their ill parents but live too far away to help as much as they like to. I feel lucky to live nearby. I am also lucky that their other five children, my brothers, live relatively near by and help, too.

Every living thing expires, eventually, and time ever moves forward.  Nonetheless,  each day contains almost countless opportunities. I am working to be mindful of these opportunities, opportunities for exercise and meditation, spending time with my family, and making art. Despite the pain and sorrow of this time, there is also balance and most of all, there is love.

May was not a good month for me. It was a roller coaster ride of anxiety and trying to keep myself centered. I often didn’t feel like myself and there was a spell during which I was tearing up on a daily basis.

Yesterday I looked at my calendar and saw that it was the end of the month. I thought, “May, don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.”

The weekend was actually pretty good. Hubby and I took two long walks during which we made a lot of progress on our family game plan. I always feel so much better connected and less isolated when problem solve together. I like us very much as a team.

This morning I woke up and felt so much more relaxed. I was actually eager to take on my work week even though I had to work over the weekend to catch up on report writing.

I was reapplying my lipstick this morning using my cell phone camera in “selfie” mode as a mirror. I thought, “Hey, I look well rested, happy, and relaxed.” So I snapped a photo.

Today is a new day in a new month. Summer starts in three weeks. We are getting little birds coming to our new deck fountain. Yesterday, a hummingbird took a bath in it. I am looking forward to more close encounters!

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