Saturday, October 22, 2016

Take Me Away…

At line dancing exercise class last week, our fearless leader, Ruth, said that line dancing was her way to relieve stress and take her mind off her troubles.

“That’s what it does for me too!” I said. “No matter how bad a day I might have, I leave here in good spirits.”

Part of the reason is that while I exercise, I have to concentrate on the steps. By focusing on the dance, I empty my mind of all the troubling thoughts that may have been plaguing me.

This month was our annual “take me away” Girl’s Trip for my mom, my sisters, and me. Our short vacation was a relaxing kind of busy. Still, it must have tired me out, since I spent the entire first day back in my PJ’s doing absolutely nothing beyond eating and breathing.

I haven’t figured out how to live without a certain amount of stress, but retirement alleviated a lot of it. Now, I seldom have a headache, while it used to be an almost daily event. Even so, I have too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to accomplish them.

Here it is, almost Halloween, and I’ve yet to put up my fall decorations. I planned on doing that three weeks ago, but it just hasn’t happened. I used my decorations at the October SBW meeting, and until Wednesday, I still had them in the trunk of my car. Now, at least, I’ve brought them inside, and they are currently on the dining room table.

I have been a wee bit busy lately. I thought after the craziness of September that October would be a little more laid-back. Instead, my calendar is stacked, double stacked, and occasionally triple-stacked.

This last week has been Business Women’s Week with daily activities. Fortunately, some of the events were simply stress-busters too. One night was “relaxation night” and I participated in a Zumba class. Another night, we played Bunco with a lot of laughter and visiting. Dinners and luncheons were an opportunity to spend time with my friends.

Yesterday was the second day this month that I didn’t have something on my calendar. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything. I caught up on some of my accounting, updated a website, and helped with plans for the Alzheimer’s Symposium that Congresswoman Hartzler is hosting in Sedalia on November 10.

I will present a program on “Caregiver Emotions” at the symposium. I’ve given this program three times before—once at the Senior Center in Warsaw, for the Men’s Support Group in Columbia, and for family members who had loved ones in a nursing home. By addressing the individual emotions, a caregiver can alleviate caregiver stress.

Managing stress is a crucial step toward staying healthy. Left unchecked, stress can leave you vulnerable to high blood pressure, acid reflux, blurred vision, irritability, and problems with concentration. Caregivers tend to ignore their own health problems, which can lead to the caregiver dying before his loved one.

The last few months of ugly political rhetoric has created stress for a lot of us. Social media has turned into a firestorm of disagreement, meanness, name-calling, and wild stories re-tweeted and shared as if they were the gospel. I can only hope and pray that after the election, people will rebuild the bridges they’ve burned with their family and loved ones.

Now is the time for all of us to look for those “take me away” moments. I find it totally relaxing to sit on the deck drinking coffee and conversing with the dog. Reading a good book is another way of getting away from the day-to-day stress that creeps up on me.

Hallmark movies, the Voice, and reruns of the Golden Girls saw me through many stressful moments. Laughter is the best stress buster, and I’ve found that the old truism “Laughter is the best medicine” is undeniably true!

Copyright © October 2016 by L.S. Fisher

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