Surviving the Stress in our Modern World
The term ‘modern survival’ can encompass many different topics such as being prepared for a disaster or becoming more self sufficient to name a few. Preparing, storing and becoming more in tune with the events around you are some of the things that come to mind when I hear ‘modern survival’.
Another meaning of ‘modern survival’ that comes to mind, is surviving the stress on a day to day basis in this modern world we live in, which is so different than the world our parents knew. Today in most households, both spouses have to work full time just to make ends meet. Long days at work, and long commutes make for exhausted people when they do get home. And due to the current recession, for many people, their work days have gotten even longer.
So many businesses have laid off workers to help cut costs and save money, but the ‘work’ has not necessarily gone away. Instead, many of us out there are left to ‘pick up the slack.’ We are EXPECTED to work longer hours to ensure the same amount of productivity, but with fewer workers. Many are afraid of losing their job if they don’t work the overtime. So, not only do we have longer work days plus our commute time, but many people are trying to deal with the added pressure of the stress we are under. This makes for a mentally exhausted, as well as, a physically exhausted person that eventually walks through the front door of their home sanctuary at the end of a day.
Part of what helps me through some of my high level stressful days at work, is a little ‘visual’ technique, or ‘visualization‘. When I am in one of those stressful moments, I stop for a few seconds and I picture myself putting the key to my front door in the lock, turning it, and walking through the door. Closing the door behind me, I am in my sanctuary, where work can no longer ‘get me’. It stays outside. Our mini Dachshund, Sampson, greets me with such enthusiasm and kisses, once again, all is right with my world.
Another thing I visualize is my evening at home. What will I prepare for dinner? The meal I am about to prepare is going to be made with the rest of my family in mind. Even if I lived alone, the feeling would still be the same. The exercise of preparing my evening meal has taken on a ‘therapeutic’ ambiance. I think the key to remember here is I am now doing something for myself, not my employer!
When I first started gardening years ago, I first viewed it as a ‘labor of love’, or sometimes a ‘chore’ to be done. As our day to day worlds in corporate America got crazier and more stressful, I began to notice a change in how I viewed gardening and what tending my garden did for me.
When I came home from work, I would start tending our garden first. I began to notice the feeling of calm that came over me as I watered my plants. I came to look at them as my babies, since after all I started them from seed. It was amazing to me the subtle changes I could notice from one day to the next. Perhaps it was a whole new sprout or a new bloom.
The mindless tasks of watering and weeding began to erase the pressures of my day. Soon my mind was filled with thoughts of my babies. By the time I was finished and walked into the house, my thoughts were more like those of a proud parent than a stressed out employee. My babies were growing and would soon bear fruit of their own. Fruit (and vegetables) that would be so delicious on our table!
How you reduce stress is a personal thing and what you visualize is up to you.
Find what calms you and go there often!
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