Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When Last Week's Zig Went Zag

As I wrote ten days ago about entering a new decade, I was also intent on entering a phase of writing and blogging more consistently, back to my original three to four days a week, but when last week’s “zig went zag,” that intention was placed on a brief hold.

A few days before Misty's ordeal
Monday after receiving the all-clear from her vet,
Misty looking none the worse for wear, thank goodness!

Long story short, our one year old cat Misty accidentally got hold of a tiger lily, toxic to cats, and four vet visits, a few hundred dollars, four sleepless nights and a jumbo amount of sick-to-my-stomach worry later, I’m relieved and thankful to report she’s okay and received an all-clear report from her vet on Monday. 

Meanwhile, I was so anxiety ridden by this unexpected “zag” that I was affected physically.  I realized as much ground as I've gained in reducing stress, it’s still a work in progress and realistically will always be so.   We cannot, of course, remove stress entirely from our lives, but we can figure out what works best to ease our minds and bodies in these circumstances.

My “go to” stress relievers include remembering to breathe deeply, releasing tears if they well up from within, seeking support from loved ones, trying to remain calm and clear in the midst of a stressful situation (which I can do, but need to do so without directing the stress inward and holding it somewhere in my body as is my tendency), connecting with nature, paying attention to and feeling gratitude for the little things (like a gracious driver who motioned me to merge ahead of him on a busy street after one of Misty’s vet appointments) and taking action on something within my control, like cleaning, decluttering and reorganizing.  Another approach to stress relief I’m trying to work on is remembering to have faith that things will work out, perhaps not always in an expected way, but in some way.

So, when last week’s “zig went zag,” I employed all of the above tactics.  My husband had booked our family on a whale watching boat trip, only a couple hours out on the water, last Friday evening.  Since Misty was stable, we felt it was safe to go, and I allowed myself the diversion of observing humpback whales breaching, fluking, lobtailing, slapping their pectoral fins on the surface of the water and feeding amidst hundreds of sea lions.  Some of these majestic creatures glided so close to the boat that we caught the strength of their whale breath!  This connection with nature was amazing and offered me a bit of a reprieve from the week’s stress.  A couple days later we were supposed to leave on two-night family camping trip, but because Misty wasn’t entirely out of the danger zone yet, I stayed home and began tackling a much needed overhaul of our spare room/home office/art and craft storage (which spread to tackling other hot spots throughout our house!)  Not the relaxation and pleasure of camping, but still an effective antidote to stress.

I couldn't capture a decent shot of the whales with my
point & shoot, but here's a so-so photo of the sea lions.

Meanwhile, I have a couple more birthday-related posts in various states of completion, so hopefully, this week will “zig” along more smoothly, and I can finish and share them with you soon.

What are your favorite methods for managing and relieving stress?