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When Life Happens, What Do You Do?

Because I’m a super sensitive person (and wellness nut), I design my life to support healthy, happy living . . . hence my business tagline.  But sometimes, all heck breaks loose and LIFE HAPPENS.  This is a story about how stressed I’ve gotten recently and what I’ve learned to do about it.

For the past 9 months I’ve been working with an amazing team of people (consultants, vendors, benefits staff) to develop wellness initiatives for close to 100,000 people.  The team is starting from ground zero as if we know very little about how to design a wellness program.  We’re inviting “best practice” groups to make recommendations and submit proposals from which we will select the best of the best in combinations that have yet to be explored.  Very exciting.  And very stressful.

Suddenly my life is not my own (that’s just an expression but there’s some truth to it).  I’ve got conference calls, late night meetings, reports to write, proposals to evaluate – all on timelines and deadlines.  I’ve had to cancel personal appointments, work late, work early…you get the picture. 

Mind you, I’m not used to this!  Normally, I orchestrate all aspects of my world – I’ve designed a life of health and happiness, right? 

In this midst of deadlines for this project, I packed up to go to a wellness conference in Orlando–a fabulous resort that I didn’t have more than 30 minutes to enjoy literally “outside” of the meetings.  Pooh! 

Before leaving town, I’d also gotten an email with this subject line:  “Mom is in the hospital.”  A chill ran through me and I dropped everything.  My mom informed me that she has a 24-inch blood clot in her leg from her groin to her ankle as well as several other blood clots.  The doctors put her on blood thinners and released her.  I asked if she had a treatment regimen – recommendations for diet and exericise.  She said NO! 

Because she’s a smart cookie, she made appointments with her family doctor and a vascular specialist. 

Yesterday she described her leg as being a log that she has to drag around with her.  That image is chilling to me.  Because she’s 86, this condition is unusually troubling.  My dad keeps goading her to get up and move – and, you guessed it, that makes her mad.

When I returned from the conference and picked up my dog, Jasmine, from the kennel, she seemed fine.  But when I took her on a walk she was hobbling and even went down in the hips a few times.  That sent me over the top.  All of the vet offices were closed…what to do!  

Here’s what I did.  I breathed, tuned in, and asked for help.  And I got it.  I “heard” that I should get some glucosamine so that’s what I did.  Almost immediately I saw improvements.  I’m still watching.

With the swirl of stressors around me I started to take it personally, like I was in a white water raft without a paddle.  But I know from experience that feeling like a victim doesn’t help.  I have an incredible need for harmony and peace in my life, and I constantly work toward creating it.  I know that things will get better…I just don’t know how everything will play out.

Because a meeting went late today I was afaid that I’d have to cancel my monthly massage.  But providence was on my side and my fabulous massage therapist was willing to see me later than usual.

I had a fabulous massage and a mini counseling session too!  I felt nurtured, tweaked, set straight, and all-in-all back in the raft headed toward calmer waters.

The stress from the past weeks has fallen away and I have a renewed sense of peace and purpose.  And I’m armed with a new stress management technique (given to me by my massage therapist) that I’m committed to practicing for a few minutes throughout the day every day.  In scientific studies, this mental exercise has been shown to moderate stress by changing body chemistry.  In future posts I’ll let you know how it’s going.

The other piece of great news is that this stressful time has caused me to think through my life choices and find new and better ways to manage life when stress shows up…as it does for all of us.

Here are a few of the ways (in addition to my monthly massage) that I’ve worked through stress during these challenging times:

  • I’ve called and talked with my sister and a couple of friends – one of whom is a counselor and one who is a business strategist.  It pays to have a diverse bunch of friends!
  • I’ve scanned my personal library for books to give me guidance and comfort.
  • I’ve practiced deep breathing, prayer, and meditation on a regular basis.
  • I’ve continued to get out in nature and take my daily walks.
  • I’ve stopped scheduling anything new so that I can clear the decks and get on top of what’s already on my plate.
  • I’ve taken time to flex my schedule so I can get some well-needed rest and sleep.
  • I’ve had energy healing with my fabulous friend Karmel of Spirit Whispers.

Even so, with all of these wellness strategies in hand, I’ve been on edge.  Imagine if I’d not had these healthy habits to fall back on and provide a buffer for life’s demands.  I shudder to think of it.

Is my story sounding familiar?   Have you experienced anything similar?  Judging from my friends, family, and acquaintances, most of us have. 

Comments please…

Would you share your journey through a troubled time and tell us about how you managed to get through it?  What healthy habits helped you land on your feet?  See the link below where you can make a comment?  Click that link and let us know your stress management secrets.  What’s worked for you?  Your story may help someone else.  Please share with us.

Special Offering…

Also, look for my March newsletter —Healthy, Happy Living–coming out this Thursday.   I will make an announcement about a small group forming around living a healthy, happy life.  You’ll have an opportunity to sign up for the Healthy Habits Wellness Action Group starting in May.  You can be one of 10 people committed to putting one healthy habit in place – you choose which one.  I’ve developed a dynamite agenda for the program.  I can’t wait to get it started.

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