Is It Friday Yet?

Do you remember that picture? The one of the tiny orange kitten hanging from a tree branch with the words ‘Hang on! Friday’s coming.’ That poster perfectly describes my week. I’m hanging on by my fingernails over what seems like an abyss just waiting for the weekend.

Weekends go so fast and then I’m back to the grind.

I didn’t plan this. I wanted to be a part of the A to Z Challenge and be able to enjoy myself. I’m still waiting for that. However, this is the second time that I haven’t met my own deadline for posting which is 6:00 am. Generally that means that I need to write the post the evening before, unless I’m willing to get up early in the morning.

Nope, that’s not happening.

About a week before April began, I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. What was I thinking?

Apparently, I was thinking that I’d been planning a story (I’d originally thought it would be a novella, I guess I was wrong) and this would be a great time to write it. Normally that would be so.

What has happened is that it has snowed nearly every day this month and I am overwhelmed. I shouldn’t be struggling with snow but that is the last thing I need in my life.

Work is overwhelming due to this being grant writing season. I am currently writing my first grant and learning about budgets. I’ve also learned that grant writing is very different from the writing I normally do.

So, how do I manage my life?

That is a fantastic question. Amazingly, I have an answer.

No, the answer isn’t going on strike although I have thought about that.

I am trying to be kind to myself. If I am tired, I spend time relaxing. I have attempted to go to my writing room each night. Sometimes I succeed but if I can’t then I’m okay with that. If the only thing I can do is a journal entry, a single blog post or a few words on my story, that is all I get done.

I’ve been taking advantage of the times when I have energy and relaxing at other times.

We’ve started eating more green stuff at home and less processed food.

The best thing that I do is yoga. I’ve found a perfect class for me in the middle of my day, appropriately named Lunchtime Yoga. This has saved my life.

I expect that the next week will be incredibly busy and my reward is a vacation when my grant is done.

Most definitely looking forward to that.

Friday Five: Stress Busters

balance-110850_1280Stress is a crazy thing. It comes, we process, and, if we are lucky, it goes. We aren’t always that lucky.

One of my old professors once said, “there is no such thing as no stress.” I am beginning to see this in my own life. Beneficial stress, often called eustress, still can cause havoc in the body just as “bad” stress can. The question is what to do with it.

In recent months, I’ve been dealing with the effects of stress on my body. I have discovered that even the act of writing this post causes a few issues that have built up over time.

The pain that this build-up has caused sent me to the doctor. Currently, I am seeing a physical therapist and massage therapist and, though not healed, I can feel a difference.

It is not enough.

Now, I must deal with the causes of this pain. The process isn’t easy. I’ve known for a little while that my life is out of balance. My body gives me these cues and I can no longer ignore them.

Relaxation is high on my list of priorities. Here are five ways I may be using to help me with this priority:

1. Yoga – This has a two-fold benefit. One, yoga automatically stretches the body helping it to work better. Two, yoga is about breath, which can help with stress levels. There are many more benefits, but these are the ones I will focus on for now.

2. Walking – Again, there are lots of benefits besides getting my butt up off the couch – or writing chair. Physical movement can help release the tension stored in the body.

3. Hot Baths – I’m not normally a bath person, but a good soak with salt and essential oils can do wonders for a body.

4. Unplug – I’m hearing more and more about turning electronics off. I’ve even heard the recommendation to turn off the WIFI at night. I can do this – not sure if everyone can – I just forget to do it. One way I have added this to my life is that my new writing space doesn’t have electricity (yet) nor can it receive the WIFI signal from my house. I don’t spend a lot of time out there, but for me its a start.

5. Do Nothing – This one may be the hardest of all. after all who has the time to just sit and do nothing? Doing nothing may be a relative term. Doing nothing may be a few moments of sitting outside and watching the world go by. It may be that you pick up that book, find a comfy chair and read for a while. It may be some form of doodling. The main point for me is telling myself it’s okay to not worry about my to-do list at the moment. Yep, that’s the hard one.

Each of these is a doable option. Your list may look different, but I believe everyone should have one. Our bodies, and minds, can only take so much before we begin to break down. And, I’ve discovered it happens quicker as we age.

It’s time.

Challenge: Create your own list of doable ways to help you bust some stress.