What is a stress reliever?

“I’m so stressed out!”

How many times have you heard this phrase in the last week? It’s perhaps one of the most used phrases in my world today, and probably yours, as well. Everyone is “too busy”, “has too much on their plate”, or is “just completely overwhelmed” It’s obvious that our schedules are way too jam packed, but what can we DO about it?

This year, I have literally been slammed with so many things that were out of my control. I looked at my schedule every week and desperately tried to find something to cut, and could not find a single thing except maybe my weekly Bible Study, however, for the health and well being of myself and everyone around me, THAT is NOT optional!

When you can’t cut activities in your schedule, how do you survive without losing your mind? I’ve found a small way to help me survive and that is…putting myself on my schedule a minimum of once a week. What does that mean exactly? It means blocking out 30 to 60 minutes for myself to either just completely stop activity altogether (as in take a nap, meditate, or enjoy a cup of tea) or do something that allows my mind and body to focus on only the current moment. For me, the stopping activity altogether rarely happens (eye roll) because my assistance is constantly needed by someone especially if I happen to be at home. I do not resent this and in fact, love being able to help others, but I really need to take care of myself as well.

For me, scheduling an activity where I can “lose myself” has worked better because I leave the house and kind of disappear for a while. I’m currently only doing this once a week, but it is my goal to work up to 3 times a week. My “escape time” happens to be going to the barn and spending time riding my horse. This not only gives me something completely different to focus on, it also gets me outdoors for some fresh air, and because I’m training my horse and not simply trail riding at a walk, I’m actually getting some exercise at the same time. For me, it’s a win/win/win in the self care category!

***A word of caution: If you decide to try the “escape” method, you might be like me…you will have a tendency to “reschedule” your time when something else comes up. In order for this to work, YOU MUST STAND FIRM and KEEP that appointment with yourself!!!

What about you? How do you survive an overstuffed weekly agenda? What works for you might actually help someone else and THAT is a beautiful thing!

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