Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is Life Making You Anxious?

by Dotti

Do you feel the need to calm down? With so much activity, so many demands made on us, so much negativity everywhere we look – how can we women handle it without losing our cool?

This is something I’ve thought about lately. And since I took such delight from Cathy’s list of lists a couple of weeks ago, I decided to share with you some of my tips for attempting to hang on to my mind while everybody around me is losing theirs.

This has long been a staple in my toolbox for stress reduction. One of the smartest things my husband and I ever did was to turn our basement bedroom into a small exercise room with a good treadmill, a good rowing machine and an exercise bike.

I’ve never been much for exercising in a group and when I was working, once I got home from the office, I didn’t want to change into gym clothes and go out again. Now I get on the treadmill almost every single morning without fail. Only appointments, travel, illness make me miss. If I skip too many days – boy, oh boy! Does my body ever know it!

Meditate/Breathe Deeply
I wish I could be more informative about this but the truth is, I’m a novice at the meditation part and not yet disciplined. But I’m trying and when I do, I can tell a difference. My heartbeat slows, my mood is mellower. I like myself better.

The deep breathing is something I’ve been doing for a couple of years, thanks to Kim Klassen and her Be Still philosophy. At some point each day, I simply get into a slow rhythm of breathing, eyes closed and do this for a few minutes. Last week I read a suggestion about doing this every time you have to stop for a red light so I’ve been doing that as well. You know – instead of checking my iPhone. Try it. You might like it. It might do you some good.

Read – for fun
Yes, I’ll admit this one comes easily to me as I come from a long line of readers. But you know what I’ve learned? Reading for an hour or so before bed calms me down and helps me sleep better. Who among us doesn’t wish to get a good night’s sleep? I only engage in recreational reading at night, no photography books or self improvement books. If I hit those in the evening , my mind becomes too active and sleep is elusive.

Linda started this discussion last week with her great post about losing her iPhone. I came about this discovery somewhat under duress.

Last summer when my husband and I took our cruise/rail trip to Alaska, I knew ahead of time that we’d be without internet or cell service a good bit of the time. Oh, yeah. I could have paid a small ransom for internet service on the ship and I’ll confess that every time I passed the IT center, it called my name. But I resisted, knowing my husband, who shuns devices, wouldn’t be very happy if I started surfing. So we limited our online time to quick checks when we were in port just to make sure the office hadn’t collapsed (him) and just to check in with family (me).

At first, I didn’t know what to do with my hands. Really! I felt totally “at sea” without a device in my hands! Now that should tell me something right there. And it did. But as the days went on, I was less and less tense about it. I was much better able to stay in the moment and soak up the experiences of our trip. Another bonus? By husband and I carried on complete conversations.

And guess what? The office and the family didn’t fall apart without us.

Now I make every effort to turn off my devices by 8PM every evening. This is my time to be unplugged, to calm my nerves, to rest my busy fingers.

A lot. This one needs no explanation. But do it every day. Often.

This is just a short list, I have more, including, of course, photography but we’ve covered that one many times.  I’ll save my other stress busters for another day. Right now, I’d love to hear what you do to keep your sanity in our too often insane world. Why not tell us in a  comment? You never know but your ideas might be the first time anyone else has thought about it and you might just be doing them a favor.

PS – Photo credit to my husband for the Denali National Park photo.


Cathy H. said...

Great tips. I do several of them myself and they always help relieve the stress. I don't have a busy life but I do have mental stress and worry, so I spend time in my yard swing every day, unless it's raining that is. I sit, gently swing, breathe deep and just BE.

Anonymous said...

Getting outside is a big one for me, especially with a camera (often just my iPhone camera) in my hands. Walking around, noticing bits of curious or beautiful or interesting things and capturing them with the camera, always takes my mind off anything troubling and lightens my mood.

kelly said...

this is excellent advice and i use most of them regularly. on weekdays, i've also started getting up from my desk at lunchtime and going for a short walk around downtown before i eat my lunch. i am finding that it helps me to recenter and relax a bit so i don't come home in knots and with such a short fuse. xoxo

Becs said...

Totally agree about unplugging and about the exercise - fresh air has got to be the all time healer for me. We got a puppy in the summer which meant we were outside all the time and away from our electronics - it was fantastic (we were also lucky with the British summertime weather this time around!). I definitely need to read more as well - I used to be such a big reader but there always seems to be something else to do. It is such a lovely way to escape reality. Loved reading this list. :)

Sarah Huizenga said...

I purposely chose a rental house in the Smoky Mountains without Wifi so we could unplug some. Some of us did better than others. My husband being the worst, he reads his newspaper online, and can barely live without it. Since letting Instagram go for the most part I find myself on my phone a lot less...interesting.... I love to lay on the bed for 5-10 minutes and listen to Native American Flute music, it helps me focus and relaxes me.

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