*&@^#$%(*&@#^ STRESS! There! I got it out of my system! Lately I’ve been asking myself why I seem so frustratingly stressed. Working stress (escalating avalanche workload, dwindling time, phone ringing off the hook because callers KNOW you are there), family stress, insufficient sleep stress, getting-ready-for-vacation stress, rushing to pick up your child from daycare before it closes stress, rushing out of town and back in the same day stress, stress in dealing with aggressive drivers, slow checkout line at the store when you’re in a hurry stress, dietary/nutrition stress due to high cholesterol (I can’t eat this unless it’s zero cholesterol!) and even stress from stretching running streaks (yes, there is stress in that)! No time to read (for pleasure)! No time to pray! No time to handle all the work and projects that I need to do and that others are asking me to do! No 5 minutes to yourself to just chill and settle down. So as these situations blend together inside in a bubbling cauldron with no escape valve, they build up and accumulate and I find myself pounding my fist in anger (seriously did pound my fist on my desk!) that I didn’t know you had Friday, July 5 off from work when my co-workers did. (Why do I find these things out LAST even though I’ve worked for my employer for 6 1/2 years? Four days off in a row? We could have gone out of town! Or out of the country for that matter! Far away! To CHINA or IRELAND and back!) You react disproportionately to the smallest stressor. Same thing at home, the smallest thing sets you off and you blow up at the accumulation of stress that is unrelieved. Sound familiar? I need a VACATION…STAT! Oh wait-10 consecutive days off from work. Sigh! CHILLAX! DEEP BREATH! Going to my secret hiding place in the Caribbean (picturing Nassau and Paradise Island, in an underwater submarine surrounded by crystal-blue water with yellow snappers jostling against the boat).
Returning in 25 days. Maybe. By Caribbean stress management, as a type A personality, I mean that you relax and take a “type B” attitude to everything (reversing my type A tendencies of being much more high-strung). I imagine reggae music in my head, boat drinks, running on the white sand of Castaway Cay BAREFOOT, the sound the Caribbean sea waves whooshing winding to and fro, and people saying “hey mon, you need to relax”. I imagine the faraway tropically rich Bahamas (oh how I miss you Bahamas! Three years away is way too long! And the Jamaican coffee;) and the much more laid-back lifestyle than the “rat race” that many of our lives resemble.
Tomorrow I will run long and SMASH the stress!!! But running can’t be only outlet although sometimes it feels like it–I have swimming, reading, walking, music, family, travel, catching up with friends, helping those in need. What is leisure time to you? Do I have any leisure time I am not taking advantage of now? Am I using that time wisely? Am I managing my time wisely and efficiently so I have more leisure time that I require?
Then I think about how blessed I am: a wonderful marriage to a hard-working, loving wife, a lovely daughter,
my large, amazing family with 4 sisters & two brothers, my loving, caring parents, my job that keeps the bills paid, a 42-day run streak (How in the world?!? Will the streak die on July 5 or “carry on” with a second wind? Stay tuned:), high level of energy & enthusiasm, a house, a piano, musical talent, a fun treadmill, vacation time from work, and very dear friends who have enriched my life way beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t stay stressed. I’ll just eat some lasagna, kale salad, and drink some red wine. I’ll kick up my heels and relax knowing that things will get better because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is shining brilliantly into the night.
I’m way too blessed to be stressed because I have learned Caribbean stress management techniques and I”m not afraid to use them! And I won’t let stress kick me around anymore. I will kick stress back, throw it overboard off of my boat, and bury it in the Caribbean Sea where it belongs.
“I will do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13