I hope you’ve had a good week. Spring has arrived and I love it, although things have been a little hectic lately, with big projects and writing, family plans, and a massive purge/spring cleaning I did in my closets!!! It was an ambitious project, and fun to weed things out that I don’t wear, (and fashion mistakes I’ve made!!)
We all have our own ways to relax. Life today is stressful, after the pandemic, and just generally. Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some families. I live with constant publishing deadlines, to deliver books, or edit “text proofs” (the last shot at changing the printed pages for a book before it goes to the printers). It’s like having homework assignments due constantly, for the rest of your life. And other jobs are stressful because of constant contact with the public, which can be incredibly stressful. I deal with the press and the media, interviews and reviews. And the demands and needs of a big family can be stressful. Some people meditate or do yoga, or go to a gym, or jog, or do philanthropic projects that feed their soul. Or they have a glass of wine at night when they come home from work, or watch a favorite TV show. Whatever helps you to relax, as long as it’s legal and healthy, is a good balance to the constant stresses in our daily lives, which can be something as simple as a flat tire, or a big repair bill for your car or your roof, or as stressful as an argument with your boss (or your teen agers!!), or a serious health scare. Stress can be ongoing and chronic and part of your ordinary daily life, or situational in a crisis that lands on you suddenly. Either way, constant stress is hard to live with.
It sounds corny, but what gets me back on track and out of crisis mode in the daily grind of constant stress that rises steadily like the water level in a flood—-is that I try to devote several quiet hours once a week, to reading religious articles, about how to apply one’s faith to one’s daily life, to improve one’s attitude and be a better person. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and everything comes back into focus. I really cherish that time once a week, and it makes a big difference. I devote a few minutes every day to some religious thought, and then I hit the ground running in my daily life. And after reading articles steadily for a few hours once a week, I feel like a new person, with new energy to face new and old challenges. I like it best when religion is applicable to daily life, and not just theory.
Whenever I can focus on gratitude, it changes my whole perspective, being grateful for the blessings and positives in my life instead of focusing on what’s wrong. I also love acupuncture for stress and find it extremely helpful!!!
Time. With constant deadlines as part of my work life, it never fails that just when you are juggling One Big project, two others come along, AND the car breaks down and needs an expensive repair, Two more projects get heaped on me, and I am suddenly panicked about time, and I can see no possible way I’ll get everything done on time. And weirdly, no matter how busy I am, and no matter how little time I think I have, if I calm down, take a deep breath, no matter how big the pile of projects is, I just about always find that I have exactly the time I need. I always think there is no way I can do it all, and then I do. Time seems to be expandable, it expands to give me the time I need, to meet all the projects and deadlines I have, and I actually manage to finish everything, when it looked impossible initially. (I have to remind myself of that often when I start to panic!!)
Timing. Nothing happens fast in publishing and sometimes in life. Between the time I have an idea for a book and start making notes on a yellow pad and the time you have the book in your hands, it takes at least two years, sometimes three or four (particularly if there is a lot of research in it). And other projects are like that too, construction projects, waiting for a deal to come through, or to get hired for a job. Sometimes I want to scream it takes so long for things to evolve, and move forward, and solutions and answers can have long delays. But what I almost always find is that when a project has been delayed but happens later, the timing in the end is always the right one, the perfect one. There was always some really good reason for the delay that turns out to be a blessing in the end, although it didn’t seem that way when it was happening. The house purchase that just doesn’t go through and the deal keeps falling apart, and a MUCH better house turns up while you were waiting, the deal goes through easily on the second house, and you are thrilled with the result and a much better deal and prettier house. Timing is usually right, even though I get REALLY impatient while I wait for things to happen!! Whether business issues or personal. There is just about always some really good reason for a delay, even though I can’t see it.
And Blessings. I came across a phrase in my reading the other day that I love and don’t always remember. “What blesses one, blesses all”—the concept that if something that involves several people is a blessing for me, it will be a blessing for you, and the others as well. I wont make out like a bandit with a huge blessing and advantage, and everyone else involved gets short shrift and loses out. A REALLY good outcome is one where ALL of the people involved get a blessing and something positive out of it—a Win Win for all. There is nothing better, and if it’s a blessing for me, it will be for you too. No one person “wins” while everyone else gets short changed. Situations that bless everyone involved are The Best!!! I love the belief that What Blesses One Blesses All—-and we ALL win!!!
Anyway, those are my stress relievers. They’re not magic. They take a little bit of faith, some deep breaths, some patience, and sometimes you just need to remember all the times when things worked out well, and try to know that it can happen this time too!!!….and if that doesn’t work, there is always jogging and yoga!!!
We are all struggling with something, and sooner or later just about ALL problems resolve. The secret and the challenge is staying calm and sane until they do!!!
Have a GREAT stress-free week!!!