Talking to Ralph on the Big White Telephone

I am knee-deep in trying to get the next issue of Vancouver Fashion eZine together for the creative director - it goes up Monday - plus just finished 2 interviews for international magazines and need to transcribe the tapes (my least favourate job).  Still, I wanted to get something up on my blog so decided it needed to be something short and easy.  Forgive me for my "potty humour", but it's been a stressful time for me and it's time to look at the lighter side.  If you're offended by the title, then time to stop reading. :) (Note - this column isn't about dealing with serious depression, the comments below are for those who are just struggling with pressures in their everyday life.)

                                  Make Copies of the Menu

While I am often very tired from the pace I keep and my insomnia,  I am usually healthy as a horse and hardly ever get sick. Stress, however, is my payback.  If I really truly get stressed, I get sick like a bad hangover - hence all the euphemisms.  It's just my body's reaction to the effects.  For others it can be aches and pains, lowered immunity which opens the door to colds, migraines - for each of us the reaction is very personal.

                                  Dishonourable Discharge

We live in such a fast-paced environment  that stress has become epidemic.  I know there are those focused people who seem to be able to meditate, work out and handle it in healthy ways on a daily basis. For me, I just seem to plain jump on any interesting roller coaster that comes along and hang on by my nails.  As hard as it is at times, I'm a bit ADHD and have to admit I would be bored without new challenges.  I can use coping skills at various times to good effect, but sooner or later I slip up and then Ralph and I spend some time catching up. What can you do?  Try to limit stress as best you can and most of all embrace the letter L! It is full of great advice.

                                  Paint a Fresco

Laugh!  There is nothing like a great big belly laugh with tears rolling down your face to bring you back to your centre.  How to achieve this?  I personally like a disgustingly silly movie - preferably animated.  Another great distraction is a get together with friends where you can only talk positively.  Throw in some comfort food and a few groaner jokes and it's a recipe for fun.  If you watch a funny movie together at the same time you're sure to be laughing by the end.  It's also a fact that just walking around with a smile on your face and practising laughing can help to start to raise your mood.  However, I wouldn't practise this while walking around outside, unless the point is to mess with people's minds.

                         Tango With The Toilet

Live!  I find when I get over-stressed and down, my first choice is to curl up with a cuppa on a couch and read, nap or watch TV.  Really, it isn't the most healing or fastest way to get your mojo back unless you are seriously sleep deprived.  Force yourself to put on clothes that you feel good in and go out.  Dance, have coffee, attend events and put yourself in amongst other people.  I personally find the energy in a crowd of people is contagious.  You still have to come home and deal with the things causing you stress, but you've given yourself a break away from it and hopefully can look at it from a fresh angle. As much as I complain when I have to go out at night, it really is one of the great things about what I'm doing.  The people I meet are truly interesting.

                                Worship the Porcelain God

Love!  This is pretty self-explanatory.  When you're at the wall, it's time to draw your family and friends close.  Be careful not to spend all your time talking about your problems, use this time to embrace them.  Play games, have supper together, chat on the phone.  Enjoy the feeling of being a part.  There is nothing that grounds me more than just sitting with my husband and kids and listening to them talk about their day.  They often are talking about things that I don't even understand (such as computer programming), but just being in the moment is important.  I have actually had to learn how to enjoy being there when I didn't understand the topic of conversation as I am so curious, but I am slowly learning to embrace the moment just as it is.

Leap!  This is one I have been encouraged to do a lot lately.  What takes those who achieve great things to the next level is the ability to take a leap of faith.  One of my writers had me buy a book called, "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway."  While I haven't read much of the book, the title says it all to me.  Be forewarned though, you need to find ways to deal with the stress from insecurities that arise.  The rewards that come from a leap of faith are worth the effort and there is a confidence that begins to grow from stretching yourself past what you thought were your limits.

In tune with my decision to be humorous today I want to end with a groaner.  I hope it brings a smile to your face. "I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman where the Self Help section was. She said if she told me it would defeat the purpose."  --Dennis Miller