From Pipi’s Pasture: Dealing with stress
These days, with the pandemic and all, it isn’t uncommon to feel stressed—even anxious. I know that I do at times. Well-intending friends and family have advice for dealing with stress: “ Try to relax.” But recently I was surprised to hear a different piece of advice: “When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, focus on an activity that requires your full attention.”
So I tried it out on an activity I know well. The other afternoon, when I was feeling a little stressed, I went to the corral to do afternoon chores. I went about my routine of dragging hoses, chopping ice on mineral-tub watering tanks, and forking out hay snacks. I concentrated on the chewing sounds the cattle made as they ate hay. I was focusing on the task at hand, and it did seem that the stress level was reduced. However, I must admit that I have followed this routine for so many years that I can do chores while I think about something else, even stressful situations. After all, I have been known to let the water tank overflow.
So, I thought about other situations that can keep a person engaged…
*Make Christmas candy or cookies.
*Organize a closet or dresser drawers.
*Clean out a junk drawer (you know the drawer often found in the kitchen that is a catch-all for all kinds of things we don’t use).
*In a shop, sort screws and nails into separate drawers or containers.
*Make some Christmas cards, using cardstock, felt pens, glue, and cutouts.
*Address Christmas cards; write a Christmas letter.
*Build a model, work on a sewing or woodworking project, draw or paint.
*Organize year-end stuff so it’s ready for the tax season.
*Wrap Christmas presents, focusing on who gets what.
*Plan family menus for a week.
*Play Scrabble or a board game with a family member(s) or play Solitaire by yourself.
*Work on crossword or word search puzzles.
*Set up a table with a jigsaw puzzle.
*Write some poems or a story.
*Build a birdhouse.
*Use gardening catalogs (that arrive this time of the year) to plan the spring garden.
*Sort through magazines and catalogs.
*Sort and organize a box of photos.
* Fill in a 2021 planner with phone numbers, addresses, and special occasions.
*Sort paperwork; organize your desk.
*Turn up the television set full blast and listen to the programs as you clean the house.
When you think about it, we can engage in lots of activities to help beat stress.
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