Today was a messy Monday here in Ohio. As many, many, many have said...Winter just doesn't want to let Spring back in the game. The Man put it so wisely over dinner tonight, "The kids get stir crazy this time of year and the adults get depressed!"
I thought about that and he's so very right. It seems like the more energy the kids have for mayhem, the less energy we have to deal with it! So, by the end of this Monday we all needed a little stress relief! My friend Meredith, pictured here, was wishing for a chocolate cake to magically (It could happen! You never know!) appear on her desk by the time she returned from bus duty. As she was explaining this wish to a few of us, who should walk down the hall but a mom with three kids...one of whom we knew would be just the perfect stress reliever! (Mainly because he wasn't ours and we knew we could give him back at any time!) It never hurts to ask, right? Ahhh....you could literally feel the muscles go mushy as soon as this little guy was in our arms. A game of "pass the baby" soon ensued and we were all happy and jolly once again.
As I headed home much too much later and was already re-stressed, I tried to pull back the feeling of holding that baby. Then I figured someone should make a list of simple stress relievers at the end of a day, with holding babies near the top of the list! Here in no real particular order, other than the baby thing, are my driving home efforts. I hope you love them as much as I do!
10 Simple Stress Relievers at the End of the Day
10. Exercise - I know...you don't want to, but you really will feel better and have more endorphins (feel good hormones) swimming in your blood stream when you're done. Take 10 minutes and do something active!
9. Power Nap - My Grandma Dorothy, the Ol' Man's mama, lived to be 87, and I can't tell you how many times I saw her just sit back in her chair after lunch, "To rest my eyes." 5 to 10 minutes max and you are a new person!
8. Laughing - My friend Meredith is also good at helping with this one. Find a friend you can ALWAYS count on to have a smile, giggle, chuckle, joke or downright knee slapper. Wait, better yet...BE that friend!
7. Dinner AT the table - With EYE CONTACT. The Man and I have fallen into a bad habit of eating all too many meals in front of the television with our partly empty nest. Real conversation can be a very healing thing at the end of the day.
6. Taking your shoes off...I really think Mr. Rogers had it right. There's something about taking your shoes off that makes a big difference at the end of the day.
5. Scripture - In the Mitford series of books by Jan Karon, a few of the characters have a quote that they toss back and forth to one another in times of stress. "Philippians 4:13 for Pete's sake!" Why do I so easily forget that I can do all things...all things that matter anyway...through him who gives me strength? Find the verse that speaks to your heart and keep it where you can be encouraged by it. Again...find that verse that will speak to a friend and send it their way! (If nothing else, just go visit Jan Karon's website...I've been listening to it ever since I typed in that link and it's lulling me with beautiful music as I type!)
4. Do-Si-Dos...or Thin Mints...or Amish Baked Oatmeal, my latest favorite (recipe to follow)...or whatever comfort food defeats the demons of your day! No, we aren't probably supposed to let food be our comforter, but come on! Sometimes ya just gotta give in! In moderation, of course!
3. Making this list! Seriously...just thinking of stress relievers can sometimes bring about peaceful feelings! Made today's drive home easier anyway!
2. Holding a baby! You didn't think I'd forget did you? Please, please, please, make sure the baby WANTS to be held and make sure you have the mama or papa's permission first! These are stress RELIEVERS not stress INDUCERS!
And the number one way to relieve stress at the end of a day...drumroll please...it's really a no-brainer!
1. Look for something to LOVE!!!
(Now you knew that one was coming didn't you?)
And here's the recipe I promised:
Amish Baked Oatmeal
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (go for the butter!), melted
3 cups oatmeal (I use old fashioned, but either will work)
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
(optional extras - craisins, raisins, cinnamon, chopped nuts, whatever your imagination allows you to put in oatmeal!)
Preheat oven to 350*. Combine eggs, sugar, and butter. Add oatmeal, milk, baking powder, and salt. Stir in extras as desired. Stir until well blended. Pour into 2 quart baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Part breakfast, part dessert, totally yummy! Cuts like cake but can be crumbled and butter, brown sugar, milk, or ice cream added as toppings. Is sweet enough not to require any further sweetening, but awfully good with just a pat of butter and sprinkle of brown sugar! Definite stress reliever!
(Copied from Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook, copyright 2007...with just a few personalizations.)