The end of the year brings family gatherings, parties, and hopefully some reflection. Like many people at the end of the year, I write a list of New Year's Resolutions. This is something I look forward to every year and always with great enthusiasm. Often, this involves a lot of cutting and pasting from the previous year: Talk on the phone instead of text, read more, workout more, learn to cook, lose five pounds ... the usual.
There's always some odds and ends in there, like be more organized or learn how to do a smokey-eye. But this year, I'm adding the most important one of all. And quite honestly, if I accomplish nothing else on my list other than this, I'm ahead of the game.
My #1 New Year's Resolution is to reduce my stress level. Now I know none of our lives are without stress and certainly life isn't always easy, but I need to do this before it affects my health. It's not uncommon for stress and anxiety levels to go up as we grow into midlife and beyond, and I am no exception.
I've always been a little anxious, but it has grown worse over the years. And why wouldn't it? Just turn on the news and read the newspaper! Lena Horne's wise comment "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it," speaks volumes.
I don't sleep as well as I used to. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and worry about everything until I will myself back to sleep. If something bothers me I have to work it through in my mind -- over and over and over -- until it makes sense or I am willing to accept the truth.
Occasionally, I'll get myself in such a tizzy the room starts spinning, but that's only because I forget to breathe. Learning to roll with whatever comes my way and not get flustered are my goals. I am hoping age will do it's part and mellow me a little.
Being tightly wound and a born worrier, this change isn't going to be easy. I'm sure my caffeine consumption during the day isn't helping matters either. Though I have heard that chocolate is good for self-soothing and I'm sticking with that.
Finding ways to relax and refocus my thoughts are key. Spending more time in nature, listening to music, reading good books, and exercising longer and harder are steps in the right direction. What do you do to de-stress?
What's your #1 New Year's Resolution?
Earlier on Huff/Post50: