2

I've taken a weekend away.  Well not really, it's more like a few days during the week but a few days during the week didn't make a very good title.  😉

Life has been hard as of late and I keep reading about Adrenal Fatigue and how important it is for self-care.  One book author (a doctor) actually recommended to one of her patients that she just stop everything and go away for a month and do nothing but rest and relax.  Um?  I can't do that.  But when my husband said a few weeks ago that he planned on going to see his mom for a few days in May my brain went into happy mode and I asked if he could take our youngest along with him.  The older two are quite self-sufficient and this would give me, not a month, but  a few days in which to go away.  So I left on Sunday- not a minute too soon for my adrenal and mental health- and am happily here until Wednesday.

So I have almost 3 days of taking care of myself.  What to do??

My current "Work Space" for my 'weekend away'...but only for work I want to do when I want to do it.... I'll be sad when the three days are over but hopefully well rested!

 

I brought my own food to a hotel with a kitchen (NOT a bad price, I was pleasantly surprised after doing a little searching). Good healthy food I can just throw together and not worry about whether anyone else likes it but me.  Last night's dinner was yummy!

I brought my favorite icon and my bible.

 

 

I brought two devotional books.

 

I brought my latest and favorite book on Adrenal Fatigue (to study the detox and self-care ideas suggested by Dr. Romm).

And I brought my Bullet Journal -  completely blank with lots of supplies to get it started.  Do you use a bullet journal?  I just stumbled on this idea recently and have watched all sorts of YouTube Videos and scanned Pinterest for ideas on how to make mine work.  It will be all my planners, list making and such all wrapped into one notebook.  I LOVE the idea!!!  And I've had a great time getting it started.

This is in the front few pages....a verse from Philippeans 4 and a doodle page to remind me to simplify things...
My first Weekly Planning pages... I'll be doing some adjustments for next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually started the bible reading, prayer and devotionals last night as well as got the Bullet Journal started, ate dinner,  took a bubble bath, played a little solitaire for the first time in ages, played around on the internet and went to bed by 9:15.  Then I  slept for over 8 hours! I haven't  done that in            A G E S!!!  Of course, I'm sure the fact I only slept two hours the night before has a lot more to do with that than just getting away...   🙁

I know this get away will not eliminate the Adrenal Fatigue.  But it IS a step to health.  Learning to let myself know when I need to get away and acting on it is a BIG step in my path to self-care.  Also spending more time in quiet devotion and prayer is something I need to increase.

I'm also working on my food plan for the next few months--  there's 40 new foods on my AVOID list now from the ALCAT test results I got back about a week ago or so and about 15 other items  that affect some of the supplements I've been taking so I need to rethink on some of that as well.  I'll be working on detox stuff too which is VERY IMPORTANT to folks with MTHFR as well as Adrenal Fatigue and whatever else ails me (just sent in some hormone type saliva tests today and will be awaiting those results too).

Well-  there's my little catch up post on my time away and what I'm up to.  Time for a little rest now as my body is telling me to do.  In the meantime,

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU NEED A LITTLE R & R?

 

 

2

This is yet again, another post on making goals.  But as it involves those short-term goals, it should be the last of it's kind for at least several weeks if not several months.

After reading a chapter from the Stress and Relaxation Workbook last fall, I set out with a list of my ten top priorities in life:     fragonard-91063_1280

  1. God
  2. My Marriage
  3. My Children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Family
  8. Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation

The list is not necessarily in order- with the exception of #1 and #2- which are ALWAYS #1 and #2.                    marriage-478318_1280

With these priorities in mind, I developed a list of long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals.  While I've always been one to make a list of goals here and there, I've never thought about making sure they coincided with my top priorities or putting them in as clear of subcategories as long-term, medium term or short-term before.  So I started these lists last fall with this post.   It blew my Resolutions from 2014 out of the water because it was much more organized, concise and showed a definite correlation to all of my priorities and gave me an overall picture of how to go about accomplishing those BIG goals in little steps.

With the New Year approaching, I had a new sense of how to go about making those New Year's Resolutions.  My resolutions aren't really resolutions (a firm decision as to whether to do or not do something) but really GOALS.  They are the short-term goals (goals that can be accomplished within a few weeks up to one year) that will lead to the eventual ability to obtain those medium-term and then long-term goals.

So now- after a week or two of serious thought- here are my SHORT-TERM Goals of 2014- which of course can always be revised or updated as needed so long as they still coincide with that important list of priorities above:

1.   God  (Develop a union and closeness with God)

  • Set aside a minimum of 20 minutes for morning and mid morning or early afternoon prayer time (total)
  • Develop a morning prayer habit with family
  • Develop an evening prayer habit (set a copy of evening prayers inside current book I read at bedtime as a reminder!)
  • Develop a habit of saying Pre-Communion prayers with family on Saturday evenings.
  • Say the Jesus Prayer at various times throughout the day
  • Orthodox Reading - Read a book pertaining to Orthodoxy 1-2x a week other than devotion time
  • Attend Vespers services at least 1 time a month

2.  Marriage (Having a strong lasting relationship with my husband)

  • Establish a habit of a weekly date time (Every Monday and at least one extra activity every other week)
  • Read Love & Respect together and complete Workbook
  • Continue habit of reading together whenever time allows
  • Establish personal goals with my husband

3.  Children (For them to know I love them and to be a good Christian model to them)

  • Establish a habit of a weekly game night (quality, fun time)
  • Read with my oldest son at least 4x weekly
  • Read with my youngest at least 3 books daily in addition to our bedtime stories
  • Call my daughter at school weekly and text several times a week

4.  Health & Safety (REAL food and healthy environment)

  • Find Paleo websites/blogs with easy meal plans
  • Work on a new Monthly Menu Outline plan to make menu planning easier
  • Begin Freezing Meals so there is always at least 3 complete meals within the freezer ready to go!

5.  Homeschooling

  • Continue reading about and researching the Charlotte Mason method
  • Work on course descriptions for my son's transcript records
  • Work on developing a Home Ec course plan (we've decided to form our own)
  • Think over how to incorporate some Charlotte Mason methodology into my older son's coursework
  • Copy the Liturgy Book for my youngest son and highlight sections that he will now be expected to be at attention for and follow along

6.  Writing  (blogging and manuscripts)

  • Post  a minimum of 3 posts per week - with an eventual goal of 4-5.
  • Work on manuscripts at least 2x weekly, at least 3-4 hours (total), increasing in a few months.
  • Do writing exercises found in books and blogs on the craft
  • Read other blogs and comment on 3 per day

7.  Friends & Family

  • Make a list of friends and family I wish to maintain better contact with
  • Call (or text if they or I prefer) a minimum of 2 from the list each week (or have coffee if person is available to do so!)

8.   Comfortable, Clean Home

  • Use organization website to make plan of action to stay on task with minimum stress
  • Maintain morning and evening routine checklists
  • Declutter/Minimalize - read more on being a minimalist and make 1 new goal to work on every other week

9.  Financial Security

  • Create a system for organizing receipts to make my husband's job of maintaining checkbook and budget system easier
  • Add 'record receipts' to my To Do list at least 3 x week

10.  Fun and Relaxation

  • Game nights ( a repeat-  it's great to kill two birds with one stone! Unless of course, it's a real bird....that I wouldn't do)
  • Coffee Dates with Friends - I love to do this but for some reason it's hard for me to initiate....that introvert thing I guess...
  • Work on creating a list of small (short in duration) things to do that will put fun/relaxation into my days!

 

So there it is!  My current short -term goal list.  As you can see, some of them should be very easy to implement-  the goal there is to make it more of a HABIT while others may take many months or even the whole year to actually accomplish.  Either way, I will keep this list posted in my household binder where I'm sure to come upon it weekly to read over and remind myself what I'm to be working on and revise when and if necessary.  That can be to add more, take away any that are successfully obtained, or simply revise the number or frequency, etc.  If you want to see the long-term goals that got this started, go back to the original post last week.  The middle-term goals are here.

Do pray for me that I may stick with the plan and make progress, no matter how imperfectly it may occur!

Do you have any similar goals?

Is there anything in my list you  would like to see written about in a future post?

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Back on October 6th, I published a post on time management and goal setting.  In determining those "New Year Resolutions" everyone's been talking about (including me), I've determined to go back to that goal list.

Back in October,  I had to come up with a list of my ultimate priorities.  They did not consist of the only things I find important in life but they are the most important. While the first 3 are in numerical order, the others could be interchanged. These are the things that I simply could not accept having to live without.  I reviewed that list in the last few days and determined it has not changed:

  1. God
  2. My marriage
  3. Mothering my children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Other Family (outside my husband and children)
  8.  Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation (Yes, some would be surprised this made the list as it's the one that is overlooked most often - but it really is a priority for me)

Once I determined what my priorities were (that part did not take long but did need great consideration as I think it's the most important step), I needed to develop short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.  I started with LONG TERM- because you need an ultimate goal.  The medium term and short-term goals are what you do to reach the LONG TERM goals- so those need set in place first.  So this morning, I looked over those long-term goals and made a few minor adjustments.  For the most part though, they have not changed since October.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  1. Develop a union and closeness with God - keeping Him ever-present in my mind and heart, allowing Him to control ALL - Choosing to always be on His side.  In Orthodox language - staying on the path of Theosis and climbing the ladder of divine ascent.
  2. Have a strong lasting loving relationship with my husband that will focus on LOVE and RESPECT and one that can serve as a model to others.
  3. To have my children always know - without a shadow of a doubt- that I love them, to be a Christian model to them and someone they can depend on for strength, guidance and yes, even friendship.
  4. To feed myself and my family, REAL food as provided by God and provide a safe healthy environment to maintain all of our health.
  5. To educate my children to the best of my ability throughout their elementary, middle and high school years and prepare them for life, not just academically but especially by way of heart and soul.
  6. To write and publish several children's books and have a blog of several thousand followers (blushing a little here....wondering if I sound vain??).
  7. To engage in pleasant activities and communicate well and often with friends and family and also help them in whatever ways I can.
  8. To maintain a comfortable, orderly, clean and , yes, stress-free environment in our cozy well-maintained home (finding this current cozy little house in the woods is a great start to this goal!).
  9. To live within our means  and not only have a security net but also be able to help others in need.
  10. To enjoy life and remember to have fun and RELAX!  (this is actually the hardest one for me---  but I think my Stress Reduction and path of imperfect progress I have myself on will help achieve this goal!  But I may need a LOT of encouragement here- so please feel free to comment on these posts and offer words of wisdom and encouragement and your own tales of imperfect progress!

 

So that's my LONG TERM Goal list.  Now I need to look over that Medium-Term and Short-Term goal list-  I'll take the rest of this week to look over it.  In short, I need to come up with a list of medium term goals or steps that I need to achieve to accomplish those long-term goals.  It's about making a plan.  I can't establish that close relationship with God if I don't take the steps up the ladder to get there!  So my medium term goals and short-term goals will obviously include prayer and devotion time and other things that I can do to make sure I keep focused on God each day and each moment of my life.

Goal Setting
Photo by Pixabay

Your Medium Term Goals are goals you can most likely achieve within the next 1-5 years while your short-term goals are the steps you'll be working on immediately and accomplish within the next few weeks up to one year. See my previous post on Goal Setting.

Remember- Resolutions don't need to be met 100%.  The idea of Resolutions is to have Goals- to establish a plan and make PROGRESS.   None of us are perfect.  We are human.  But we CAN MAKE PROGRESS!!

 

So what are your priorities?  Have you made a list a long-term goals based on those priorities recently?

 

 

 

 

2

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I put two and two together that my son's chemistry lab was letting out early.  I realized that I'd be home before my faithful friend would be done cleaning (she started out as a neighbor who agreed to do my house-cleaning when I was looking for help five years ago and has turned into a great friend) which meant, if she agreed, I could leave my little one home with her and have an entire hour to MYSELF!!!!  WOOT!  She agreed, of course (she and my little guy seem to have quite an attachment) and I was happy as a lark sitting back in my van with my bag of books, notebook and a pencil.

I took my books that I've been reading - the two that I mentioned in my previous post - and a couple of others in addition to the new cookbook (cookbooks are an addiction of mine) that I just received the other day!  I actually managed to read for about 15 minutes from the book on the Charlotte Mason method as well as read a bit from chapter 16 of the Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook and worked on some goal planning.  Chapter 16 is on Time Management and what the book has covered so far in my reading is on setting priorities and setting goals with those priorities. So currently I'm working on that list of priorities and making some long-term (life) goals as well as some medium term (something I can accomplish in one to five years) goals.  I'll get to short-term soon, I'm sure.

After I worked on that for a bit, I peeked at the cookbook.

What made me buy this one is the author's menu plans.  She actually included menu plans for at least 7 weeks and included the grocery shopping lists for each week!  That's one of my goals - to develop a few easy week menu plans so that if I simply don't have time to plan I can just grab a menu and an already made up shopping list and GO....  no stress of trying to figure out what can be made on days I don't have a lot of time.  This would have been nice to have during the week of our big move - as it was, we fell to take-out from so local restaurants that have gluten-free options, but certainly not paleo.  My digestive system is still a little upset with me 🙁  So I'll be playing around with some new recipes soon!  And working on more goal planning....

So now I'm feeling a little more invigorated and even found time to post today which wasn't even in my plans!  So I hope you enjoy this little update as much as I enjoyed finding a few moments to write it up!

Have you had any unexpected but pleasant surprises today?

2

 

I wasn't sure really what to call this post.... Chapter One?  No, because I  doubt that I'll go in order reading this book:

I'll probably skip around and maybe I'll just post commentaries from time to time that aren't really about a chapter at all and, after all.... this won't be the only book or source I'll use in my challenge to reduce stress and its negative effects on me.

So what to name it/them?  Well, I decided with just simply #3 since it's the third post on this topic (The other two are here and here in case you're just reading this and didn't see them...) and will hopefully be a series - more hope for more posts and more hope that I stick with it!!

So.....  onto the topic.

I read chapter one.  A lot of it was review for me.  I took psychology in high school and college.  I knew all about sources of stress, the fact that there really positive stresses, not just negative and about the fight-or-flight response, etc.  I also knew about the life events that make stress higher and how it can affect your health overall, etc., including that MOVING is certainly a big one along with several others I've been experiencing over the last year.  The first chapter did offer a chart, however, which I used to determine which chapters were probably going to help me the most as it addressed which chapters were most beneficial for particular stress symptoms.... obviously I need to read the ones that address the majority of my symptoms first.

But now onto chapter two...(The introduction recommends that I read the first two chapters before choosing on my own what to read next).  Chapter two was and has the potential to be pretty beneficial.  It was on body awareness.  Frankly, I don't have it.  Not until I am hunched over in pain from back spasms or have a major headache...though my headaches are normally from dehydration - yet another reason for developing body awareness.  Perhaps I should notice that I need liquid BEFORE reaching dehydration?? You get my point.  Our bodies register stress loooooonnnngggggg before our conscious minds do.  Muscle tension is probably the biggest way it does this.  Those of us who have particular beliefs or attitudes tend to be the ones with chronic muscular tension.  Yep, that's me.  Not the greatest self-esteem, always worried about what other's might think, always doubting myself, etc.... yeah, that leads to beliefs/attitudes that work themselves into chronic muscular tension. Anyone with me on that?

The chapter offers several 'exercises' to help increase body awareness.  I've tried them.  They seem awkward at first but I can see that if one got into the habit of doing them, it would be easier to be aware of what's going on internally.... but that will be key!  THE BUILDING OF THE HABIT! - This is the same person that sets a timer throughout the day (when I think of it) to remind myself to drink water.  Yes. I really do have to do that.  🙁  But I've taken the timer to be a reminder for something else now too.  It's sort of a body check/relax check.  It goes off, I drink my 4 ounces....and then I force myself to take a moment to breathe.  Deep breathing....at least a few and to just close my eyes and ask myself:  What's going on right now?  Am I relaxed?  Do I feel tension? Aches? What's going on around me and how is it affecting me?

I'm not keeping the diary as it suggests but I am trying to at least get a sense of how the day's events and environment affect how my body feels.  It's not a great huge leap into the world of relaxation but it's a small step and that's better than not addressing it at all.  I have, by the way, also started  to read chapter 16 on time management.  No commentaries on that today as I'm not that far into it.  But this is where I'm at with my challenge so far:

1.  Reading about relaxation and stress

2.  Getting back into my daily prayer/devotion time.

3.  Making time for writing. (So far it's just the blog here but I have reached out to my critique partners and have goals of getting back to my children's writing within just a few days if all goes well....)

4.  Drinking my goal of 64 ounces of water a day This may not sound stress related but it is!  Part of my issues, I believe, is that I don't make time for me....taking care of myself physically, emotionally or spiritually...so I need to set these things as priority!  Let's face it.  Dehydration doesn't exactly HELP alleviate stress.  With that, I weave in some deep breathing and attempt body awareness.

What changes have you made recently to reduce stress in your life and achieve relaxation?

1

Back in July, I posted this:  Stress Management and Relaxation Challenge

I haven't exactly accomplished much with that challenge because, truthfully, I've been letting stress get the best of me.  While the muscle  spasms have gone away (well, mostly), stress is still controlling my life.

So this morning....  instead of sleeping in like I have been -   when my 4-year-old woke me up to let me know the bed was wet (yes, the bed he was sleeping in with ME)....  I dutifully got up, found him a new nighttime pull up in the dark, changed the sheets, crawled back in with him and laid there......   checked my alarm on my phone and saw there was only 20 minutes to go before it was set to go off (an alarm I've grown accustomed to hitting the snooze on quite a bit lately), and decided to get up.  I've been telling myself I really NEED to get back my habit of getting up extra early to give myself that quiet time I've used and even written about on here.

Now, I sit here with my book open.  The one I wrote about above titled "The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook".  It's open to the section right before the first chapter - "How to Get the Most Out of This Workbook".  I've noted they forgot to mention in this section that having this book just sitting in a box or in a pile on your desk does not actually help.   That perhaps to get the most out of it, one should actually OPEN and READ the book.  No wonder I haven't felt relaxed!  HAHA...

Honestly, this was about as far as I got with the book.  I read this section.  This morning I'm glancing over the things I marked:  Make an agreement with yourself to set aside time each day dedicated to relaxation (and I underlined the part where I should read chapter 16 on time management if that's a problem for me).  Begin the day with a relaxation exercise (for me that's my bible reading or devotion time spent on other reading that's Orthodox in nature and, no..... honestly , I haven't done much of it - Not even this morning!  So I intend to do that as soon as I'm done here....oh...and after I let the dog out too....). Use a relaxation exercise to go to sleep quickly and sleep soundly (getting to sleep lately...NOT a problem.  Staying asleep - well that's a problem...oh, and no - I don't mean just because of wet beds - that actually has not happened for a while...).

So now to reread the section, let the dog out because her whining is annoying me and yes, she probably does need to go out...., do my bible reading and then, later in the day I am DETERMINED to read chapter one as my personal assignment for the day - boxes or no boxes (Yes, there's still a tone and so much organizing still to do!).  So the Challenge is BACK ON!  Anyone care to join me?

 

 

 

1

Today's post is a photographic display of one of my favorite places to be - a place I have been going to almost every summer for as long as I can remember.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

2010-07-21 15.10.08    2010-07-20 13.58.10

 

2010-07-18 09.24.102010-07-18 09.50.10

2010-07-22 08.12.39-1   DSCF1932

Everyone needs a place of escape.  This is one of mine.  What's yours?

 

 

6

Since I posted about challenging myself regarding stress management back on July 4th (Independence Day from stress!), I decided that I should give some updates here and there about what I have learned and what I'm doing to teach myself some stress management and relaxation techniques and how I'm fairing in actually putting them to use.

So far I've done the following:

  •  I've continued my chiropractor sessions for my back spasms.  Whether it's the chiropractor or me consciously trying to be mindful of my stress and making myself take more time to relax, the spasms have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now if I could just take that hour it takes me to drive to the appointment and back 2-3 times a week and do something for myself even when I don't HAVE an appointment...now that would be progress my friends and I'm sure it would lead to less stress induced symptoms. But.....
  • I've started reading both books that I purchased....I know...I keep adding books onto my reading list and sometimes I wonder if I'm actually causing myself MORE stress by doing that but....that's me.  And reading is supposed to LESSEN stress so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Thus far I've only read the introductions and breezed through to see what's there. I think I'll benefit from both.  Anyone looking for ways to reduce stress or add relaxation to their lives needs to be willing to try various approaches. There really is not a single technique that's going to produce great results for every single person, so one must be willing to try several to see what's best.
  • Promised myself to start exercising again....yeah, I know...I've said this before.  But this time I'm trying to be realistic.  I simply can not do 20-30 minute workouts.  I'm aiming for ten minutes - and that INCLUDES time on the bike, jumping rope, or walking AND weight-bearing exercises with very small weights (nothing more until I'm sure the muscle spasm thing is gone).  Exercise, they say, can really alleviate the damage of stress on the body.
  • I've made more of an effort to start my days out right.  I set my alarm earlier to make sure I get up and can follow my routine of prayer time and devotion (about a half hour of various things) as well as get in a minimum of 30 minutes on my writing before my littlest man wakes up - er, uh, well, at least before he's allowed to demand breakfast.  It does make my day seem more productive and fruitful to me.  Doing it first thing in the morning helps me feel more at peace and more control in the day.  This means getting up by 5:30 in the morning when my body just begs to crawl back under the sheet but....it's worth it - it really is.  Yes, TIME MANAGEMENT is a good way to handle stress!

What have you done recently to reduce or manage your stress load?

 

 

3

It's back. (PUN intended)

My unrelenting back spasm problem that I have been dealing with for almost 20 years.  It rears its ugly head every so often....leaves, teases me into thinking that was the last time and then.... 'Honey, I'm home!'....sigh.  Sometimes it's there for a day.  Sometimes for a couple of days.  Sometimes.... well , this time it's been there for at least 6 weeks... nothing significant enough this time (knock on wood) to prevent me from going about my normal routine but there...nagging...demanding attention.  I've tried all sorts of things - Tylenol, ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, massage, osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy, a chiropractor...

Some of the above brings about some help.  But the bottom line is this is one of the ways my body copes with stress - which always makes me realize I do not deal with stress well. And I REALLY need to just admit it and do something about it...thus this post and a challenge to myself.

Everyone deals with stress.  Most of us deal with stress in one form or another on a daily basis. Many stressors are the same for everyone.  Each of us also usually experience some unique stressors. Some people seem more susceptible to stress while others seem able to just let certain stressors roll right off their back. My back is wishing I would do that too and  always reminds me I need to look for ways to handle stress and cope better.

First -  What are the causes of stress?

Well, some of the main causes of stress shared by the majority of the population include stress in the workplace (that would include home for stay at home moms and dads),  financial changes and problems, personal relationships, children, daily hassles of our current 'too busy' society, death or illness of a loved one, illness (our own), parenting ( the stresses of motherhood are soooooo underrated!), behavioral issues of children or siblings or other family members, moving, and many, many more.  Really, I could go on for days...

What are the effects/symptoms of stress?

There's quite a few:

  • fatigue and lethargy
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • irritability
  • fears
  • muscular tension, aches, pains (and SPASMS!)
  • headaches
  • neck pain
  • indigestion
  • digestive issues
  • insomnia and other sleep issues
  • concentration and memory difficulties
  • high blood pressure

I personally have experienced quite  a few of the above symptoms at one time or another and it's not even a complete list.  Hmmmm.....so now- what to do about it?

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT??

I've decided to spend some time (FINALLY) researching this.  And doing something about it.  Relaxation just does NOT come naturally to me.  Frankly, I'm jealous of those people who seem to be able to smile all the time and seem to be able to lay aside their earthly cares to relax and distress in whatever way they do.  I'm really wanting to learn how.  Care to join me in my adventure?

Thus far, this is what I'm doing/have done:

I took a 'poll' on Facebook - to see what my friends like to do to help them relax - this is what I found:  Listening to music, reading, enjoying a cup of tea, writing, drawing, painting, time in the woods (nature), bike riding, prayer (meditation), golf, message, etc.  It was good to do this poll- I saw that I do some of these things (prayer, reading and writing) fairly frequently though still not necessarily enough and some of these things occasionally (drinking a nice cup of tea, time in nature, etc.) but have not tried some others much at all ( I don't foresee the golf happening...sorry).

I bought two books -  Stress Management For Dummies and The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook.  There was a slew of books out there on stress management and relaxation. It was hard to decide.  I decided the first may be written in a 'stress-free' manner that may help me figure out a plan of action that's actually doable rather than some of the books I read about that sounded like total stress just figuring out how to be less stressed.... and the second book seems to be the one that was rated high by the most viewers.  I've had a book similar to it in the past and recall it being helpful..soooo....

I wrote this post - I figured I need to challenge myself to really take handling stress and learning how to relax more seriously. So if I made that challenge public - maybe, just maybe I'd stick with it - at least enough to figure out a few techniques that work for me and make at least a bit of a difference.  What do you think?  Want to join me in my adventure?  I intend to do posts once in a while on what I'm reading and learning and my experiences with it.

So......   if you want to share with me how you handle stress or have some thoughts on this subject, please share.  I hear one thing is very important when dealing with stress....  KEEP BREATHING.  (That does sound like good advice, doesn't it?)

So.....   Carry On and KEEP BREATHING!  I'll be in touch!