I have returned from the great state of Oklahoma, and I will provide you all with more details on that in the next few days. In the meantime, check out the photos.
From the moment I stepped off the plane on Thursday afternoon, I noticed something funny. No, it wasn't the abundance of guns or the absence of people in the airport. Rather, it was the absence of that panicky, tight feeling that seems to accompany me everywhere I go. Granted, I had no control over this trip, no directions to give, no reservations to keep. Still and all, I'd like to preservet that feeling of calm in my body for as long as possible.
For a while now, I've been thinking about stress. Women handle stress differently then men. Annecodotal evidence has proven this for all of us, and articles on the vast, helpful, Internet help prove it with a bit more evidence.
I don't think that every woman needs to convert to handling stress the same way men do (because, quite frankly, what would get done if no one stressed?), but there is something to be said for calming down.
Those who've been reading here anytime over the past year will know that I've spent a long time trying to calm the hell down. There are benefits. There are downsides. But calming down has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my life.
But this isn't entirely about me. After all, it is Real World Wednesday. No, this is about the 319,000 books about de-stressing on Amazon.
It's an epidemic!
And, aside from that, it's a luxury.
Those of us economically stable enough to stress about the little things should count our blessings instead of panicking over the lack of time to get the Christmas shopping done, the cookies baked, the meetings attended, etc.
But we still stress, even while counting our blessings (because, really, who has the time to count blessings?).
And, luxuries though they may be, there are factors in our lives that lead to stress.
So, other than simply telling ourselves that we're oh so fortunate not to live in any of these places, or fuel our middle-class guilt by looking at the Global Rich List, how can we ease some of the stress in our lives?
1) Eliminate unnecessary commitments - In other words, learn when to say no.
2) Adopt a healthy lifestyle - Yes, eat well, exercise, get enough sleep. It's amazing the miracles that will work themselves into your life when you get enough sleep.
3) Consider Feng Shui - Is your desk a mess? Has your kitchen counter become the camping ground for anything and everything that enters your front door? And, honestly, this works. Looking at my crowded little cubicle no longer feels me with a feeling of panick. It's still little, but the crowds of binders, office supplies, folders and disorganized photos on my bulletin board have dispersed to more organized corners. Heck, I've even inspired my co-workers to clean up their own desks!
4) Find a way to let it out. There are stressed that build up. That's a fact of life. While you're learning how to have less stress in life, there will still be times when that stress needs to be released. So, call a friend. Vacuum. Clean your closet. Go for a jog (and sweat a lot). Get online and read blogs. Give yourself the time you need to recover from stress before you pile more into your already full and exhausting life.
5) Check out. Turn off your laptop. Turn off the tv. Hide your cell phone.
How do you calm down?