Last week, I took a client to a favorite cafe for a relaxing lunch, where we were seated next to a woman who obviously had way too much to do. She spent her time alternating between hurried bites of her meal and making calls on her cell phone. I couldn't help but overhear her. I also couldn't help feeling sorry for her, because she was stressing to the max.
Her final call was apparently to her husband, wherein she gave him a litany of the tasks she had to complete before the day ended, and she wrapped it up with a comment about finally being able to get to her spring cleaning.
Watching her snapping at the server, rubbing her temples as she shoved her wallet and phone into her purse, and then bumping into another customer as she hurried from the restaurant, it occurred to me that she could benefit from a different type of spring cleaning.
You know that stress is bad for your health. Chronic stress is becoming increasingly common among women, and can result in everything from migraines to weight fluctuations to heart disease.
This is an important health issue. And since we aren't going to eliminate most of the stressors in our lives, we need to manage them. We need to clean out the clutter, and learn how to detach enough to remember the joy in living. To help you do a little mental and emotional spring cleaning, here are my top three suggestions - the ones that I use in my own life:
1. Learn relaxation techniques. Better yet, use those techniques after a good workout. If your regimen is combined with meditation or yoga, you'll hit the trifecta of soothing your frazzled soul.
2. Unplug from technology. At least a little. Lose the cell phone, turn off your computer, turn off the TV for a while every day. Seriously. The world survived without you before technology became this culture's ball and chain, and it will continue to spin while you take a break from the constant input - 90% of which you don't need anyway.
And while you're detoxing from technology...
3. Take your detox time outside. Go sit by a lake, or enjoy a picnic. or do your yoga in the back yard. Go for a drive and play your favorite music. Leave the world behind.
Yes, you do have the time. You can claim an hour out of an afternoon or evening - even just a half-hour during an especially busy day, to devote yourself to reclaiming a sense of well-being. You might find that in cleaning out the mental clutter, you'll have a lot more energy to tend to the rest of your life.
Jenna Brooks is a coach, a consultant, and is the award-winning author of the October Snow series. She welcomes your comments through her website, Jenna Brooks Online.