My Shield of Sanity

My stress barrier is made of flexible titanium on the outside and soft creamy cashmere on the inside. Its strength knows no match when utilized to its full potential. Strong enough to deflect stress and negative influences, it is, all the while, comforting and soothing. Soft as a flower petal on my skin and scented with the aftermath of an April shower.  It’s my Shield of Sanity and it lives in my brain.

Be difficult, piss me off, step on my toes, I’m prepared to resist. I will close my eyes, take a deep breath and conjure up my Shield. I’ll wrap it around my shoulders and block the stress and unpleasantness hurling towards me.

Like most other weapons of war, my Shield doesn’t solve every problem and slay the enemy for good. It does offer, on demand, the space to relax my brain for a bit, recoup and think in a safe space. It holds stress at bay, erases the negative thoughts of others, and gets me back on track. Peacefulness and clarity of thought are my rewards. Bravo! my Shield of Sanity.

Note to readers: There is no patent protection for Shields of Sanity. Everyone can have one. 

 

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Say You Have a Doctor Appointment…

… or something else that will explain why you’re going to be a bit late getting to work. Instead of rushing out the door at some ungodly hour, have a nice relaxing breakfast with a friend or even a date! Leave your walking shoes at home, take care dressing and go somewhere nice – no diner counters, please. Oh, and no talk of work. And no phone.

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Yes, you could do dinner or lunch with a friend, but everyone does that. Be different! Be brave! Change the context! It’ll be quieter, more relaxed. No loud bar noise to have to talk over. Now, I’m not suggesting a two-hour brunch meal, but do take some time to enjoy this little decadent, clandestine pleasure.

You’ll feel better all day. Trust me.

 

Get Your Summer On!

Spring is the most volatile season – but this year? Off the charts!  Offhand, can’t think of any region that was ‘normal’ volatile. Here in New York, it was gray and cold for way too long. Dreary with some teases of spring here and there. Then Wham! End-of-June/early July heat wave. In the 90’s, high humidity. Ugh! So bad, it put all those keratin hair treatments to the test!

The worst part of not being able to visualize that summer was close? Not getting those secondary summer plans in place. We all plan the July 4th holiday and vacations in advance, but what about the rest of the summer? Weekends, days off, evenings.

Summer. It’s here. Right now. It’s time to make some plans!

So, before too much time passes, put dinners and lunches on the calendar, with friends you haven’t seen for a bit. Just imagine…an al fresco meal, sipping some Rosé or Vino Verde and sitting back and enjoying some good company. Don’t leave it all to chance, people travel, make other plans.

Do a bit of research and make a list of some day trips in your area. On my list? Up to the Cloisters to see the other half of the Metropolitan Museum’s Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination exhibit, a bike ride along the river up to the Lighthouse by the George Washington Bridge, a day exploring Governor’s Island, strolling Central Park, checking out the New South Street Seaport, the new Brooklyn Aquarium, another trip to the Bronx Zoo, and yes, beaches!

Load the Kindle now. There’s nothing worse than finishing a book on a plane or the beach and not having another one or ten ready. My book theme and reading list have been made and started. At least every other book will be a re-read, which I rarely do, and books that are related to some I’ve already read. I enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind four-or-so years ago. Spanish Gothic. Interesting. It was the first in the Cemetery of the Forgotten Book trilogy. Ready to return for the second story, The Angel’s Game.

I read on a Kindle, but especially in good weather, I always make sure the book I’m reading is also on my phone. You never know when you’ll pass a small, quiet park, with an empty bench in the shade. Sit. Read. Relax for a bit. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ahhhh…

Bike rides, walks, tennis, yoga in the park, softball… find someone to team up with and make a date.  Baseball games, soccer matches. Call a fellow fan, get your favorite team’s schedule and nail down some dates.

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. All the seasons have the same number of days. And even though we mentally start Summer at Memorial Day, almost a month early, it always seems like the shortest season. Flies by in a flash. That’s why it’s so important to sit back and decide, in advance, how you would like to remember it. Then, make it happen.

I was highjacked – twice!

I have sat in front of the computer staring at a blank screen so many times, searching for my lost voice. I had reached a point where it was hard to write about stress when I wasn’t stressed. Cool and calm and satisfied and trying to write about stress was harder than I thought it would be. So, a little hiatus. Then the election. Like so many on both – or any – side of the political spectrum, I inhaled news and indignation while stress unpacked its baggage in my brain. Settled in. Made itself comfortable. Since I was/am adamant about not writing about politics on this site, another hiatus.

The post prior to this one talks about shutting the news world out one day a week. It worked so well for a long time – it’s almost a year now. The news flow is relentless, though, the issues to deal with multiplying at what seems a more active pace. My brain shudders at all that is thrown at it. Still, the weekly blackout remains in place and the brain is thankful for at least that.

I’m committed to getting back here more often….will find another place for my politics. And that is the point here – find or create your personal no-stress zones. Limit political talk in social situations. Be diligent about protecting your Sundays (or other chosen day), for pleasure. Save and watch the Sunday morning news interviews for another day. On all days, change the channel when the conversation gets nasty, personal and vindictive or when blatant lies are being spewed.  You can be informed without feeling harassed.

Summer is here…go outside, bring a book so engrossing it builds a protective space between your brain and the constant barrage of headlines. And when you finish that book – find another!

“In it for the long haul….at least for now.”

The words above summarized a good friend’s thoughts about her job, after weighing the pros and cons of her current position. “For the duration…at least for now”.

That phrase stuck in my head for days. The little voice in my head just wouldn’t let it go. It’s the same little voice that urges me to make New Year’s resolutions, which I rarely do. But I’ll admit it got me thinking. What in my life could be described the same way? Was I just coasting with some things, waiting for something better to come along? Was I sticking with easy things, not taking the next steps to make some things more meaningful?

We all get into ruts sometimes, go on auto pilot, don’t spend enough time being conscious and mindful of what we’re doing and why. So, okay little voice, I have a New Year’s resolution this year.

I promise I will explore where I am in my life, prioritize the importance of things I’m doing, make lists and determine what changes have to be made, especially in my ‘at least for now’ column. I am going to give myself more time to think and dream and reflect, and imagine the kind of life I want to live ‘for the duration’.

Happy New Year!

Falling for Fall

Poor Autumn, stuck between summer and winter. We spend half the season mourning the end of summer and the rest dreading the approaching dark cold days of winter. What keeps us from being in the moment, enjoying the glories of Fall? There’s so much to do and so much to celebrate. Three months is a long time to waste. Wake up and smell the pumpkins!
 
Enjoy a fabulous fall weekend!
 
 

Hold on to Your Baby Feet

Beach days might be a thing of the past for this year, but it’s still sandal season. Just back from a walk across town and I saw lots of summer sandals. Unfortunately, not as many summer feet! Ugh! It must be hard to relive wonderful beach days in your dreams at night  when the cracked skin on your heels is leaving scratch marks on your legs…or someone else’s.

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We take such care of the little piggies all summer and boom! we forget as soon as the life guard stations are put away. It’s easy to maintain your soft summer feet as well as your summer mindset.

First night you can, plan a Bed Camp tune-up. Run a warm scented bath, put on your favorite playlist, get your favorite book or magazine and slowly ease into the bubbles. Let yourself soak and soften. Before you get out, quickly rub your heels with a pumice stone, rinse and wrap  yourself in your largest fluffiest bath towel. Bit of cream everyday will do wonders to help you keep your summer feet without weekly expensive pedicures! And a warm bubble bath will help your mind anytime!