Tag: stress

When You Need a Vacation

I saw this meme on Facebook. Yes, I know, that’s the first line of a TON of rants and blog posts. But it’s true. Here’s the meme:

This wasn’t it, but this is what it SAID


Although I agree with the sentiment BEHIND the meme, I disagree with the principle of it.

Leave it to the wordsmith to talk about semantics. You’re welcome.

The Sentiment

I take the meme to mean: “If you love what you do hard enough, you’ll never need a vacation.”

I love writing. I enjoy teaching (most of the time). According to this meme, I should never want or NEED a vacation because I’m passionate about my calling.

Be passionate about your calling. Strive to work within your called “career” and you won’t want a vacation every Friday afternoon.

Trust me. I’ve worked in a place where politics ruled. I’ve been a full-timer in our broken public education system. Those things EXHAUSTED me. Every week was another marathon. I’d chant, “It’s almost Friday. You can make it to Friday.”

Not anymore. Although, with the full-time subbing gig in a freshman social science classroom for three of the four weeks this month, you can bet I’m eager for the long weekend planned for my anniversary. But it isn’t because I’ve lost my passion.

The Principle

The principle of “a vacation” is a time to take a break from your routine. To get a change of scenery or just chance the pace of your days is just plain good for your brain and body.

Plenty of Americans don’t take vacations. And they are burned out. Their bodies run on stress and caffeine instead of food.

Maybe they’re passionate about their work, too, but that’s NOT going to keep their body, mind, spirit and soul from yearning for a break in the rut of routine.

Research shows that people who vacation regularly are BETTER at their jobs. They can focus better and they are all-around more healthy.

I haven’t had the most stress-free year around here. It could be because I’m a month behind my deadlines. It could be because my husband’s parents hit a health snafu that meant he needed to drop everything to care for them.

Or it might be because I’m getting an incredible walk-in shower. Or because I’m a first-time Lolly. I mean, who could be stressed when their granddaughter is an angel?

The reality is, we didn’t put a week-long trip on the calendar. It was supposed to be 10 days in Italy but with the bathroom expense and the extra time off to care for the parents, that wasn’t going to happen. So we had a few long weekend trips planned.

It’s NOT the same, but it will have to do.

What do you think? How often to you vacation from your daily routine? Does a virtual vacation via reading count?

Surrendering Fear

It’s a new year with a new focus, but the old fear hovers nearby.

What’s with that anyway?

I mean, I’m determined to trust in God and let love banish fear and then…wham, something unexpected ties me in emotional knots.

Could it be that I’ve lost my focus so quickly?

Or maybe I haven’t truly opened my hands in surrender.

After all, this is spiritual warfare. And it a war, there’s struggle and death and fear galore. Until one side says “enough” and seeks peace.


Here’s some wise words from life coach Holley Gerth:

I tried to control everything so that I could get a specific outcome. Tests and temperatures, appointments and articles. I held on as tightly to my goal as I did to the one-lined pregnancy tests at the end of every month.

Then slowly, slowly I felt like God brought me to a point where I finally said, “Whatever.” Not “Whatever” (with the sarcastic tone and eye roll—although some days I did indeed want to say that). But “Whatever, Lord. I am surrendering my expectations. I’m surrendering what I’ve been demanding.” I waved the white flag and I let trust win.

People would ask, “How do you feel about your infertility?” And I would say, “I have a peace about it.” And they would look at me like, “Yeah, yeah, Sunday School answer.”

And I said, “No, it’s the kind of peace that comes after war. And I fought for it. I will surrender everything else but not that peace.”

It was that peace that replaced my fear, that set me free.

To read the rest of her post, click here.

So, are you still trying to defeat fear on your own terms?

Did something ugly sneak up on you and wrap your peace in chains?

You can be free from fear. It begins by surrendering to the Commander in Chief of the universe.

Remember, he’s the one that has mad lion taming skills. His is the heel that crushed the head of our enemy.

Let go of the anguish caused by fear. Wave the white flag. Let the peace that passes all understanding flood your heart instead.

What’s making you afraid today? Can you surrender it to the Prince of Peace?

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When the pressure is too much

In an earlier post, I mentioned the pressure to buy-in to a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas. Unfortunately, it isn’t the only pressure we encountered in our sojourn south of the border. And something has to give when the pressure is too much.

At our resort, there are evening performances and themed buffets on a nightly basis. It sounds like a good deal. $29 per person for an all-you-can-eat buffet: prime rib, pasta, salads, fruits and desserts.

A stage show of “Broadway Musicals” is included with your meal. Dinner and a show for $29? Honey, we’re not in Vegas anymore.

On goes the paper wristband (which is a thing because it came with other activities, too). As she’s slapping the colorful accessory to our wrist, the hostess says, “It’s an open bar. Do you wish to purchase all-you-can-drink for $14 per person?”

“No thank you.”

And that should be the end of the discussion, right? Beverages shouldn’t be a topic for concern among the myriad employees in this restaurant.

Another hostess takes us to a table. Do we want to be close to the stage? We’re okay near the back (I’m afraid the blast of the speakers might give me a headache).

They’re all so polite. She’s pulling out the chairs for the women. And talking in barely accented English.

“Jose will be your server, but I can take your drink order.” (Sounds reasonable so far. And then the other shoe drops.) “I highly recommend the all-you-can-drink option. Only $14 per person.”

We have a reasonable explanation for our refusal of this option. We don’t drink alcohol, so we’ll pass. Sure, it includes soda and water, too. It is ALL you can drink, right?

And still we say: No, thank you.

The server appears. She hands him our drink order – five sodas and one bottle of water (no gas – oh, that’s Germany).

The first words out of dear Jose’s mouth: “Amigos, I suggest you purchase the all-you-can-drink option. It will save you money.”

Really? Maybe we are misunderstanding and it is $14 for all six of us to drink as much soda and water as we want. So, we do what reasonable people do: seek clarification. $14 for all of us. No, $14 per person.

Now it’s time to calculate. Let’s do the math; at $4 per non-alcoholic drink, we would each need to drink 3.5 drinks to make this the promised “good deal.”

We’re just not that thirsty. So our answer: No thank you.

And the sales pitch continues. Really? We’re being pressured to buy the all-you-can-drink add-on to our buffet?

In the end, I realize the pressure is to save our server the headache of keeping track of our drinks. We aren’t a difficult tab. Only two people get second drinks. In the end, our drink bill is $21.

Anyone care to do another round of math? $14 times 6 people equals an amazing $84. We spent $21 (in part because three people in our party staged a non-drink protest; the sales pitch apparently dampened their thirst for Coca-Cola products).

At this point, we had to raise our voices. Strenuous refusal was required to end this lengthy discussion concerning pairing bottomless drinks with our buffet.

Don’t give in to the pressure, friends. It will cost you $63.

What situations have you faced where the pressure became too much?

Friday – Your Favorite Day of the Week

It’s almost cruel to post about Friday on Monday. There are many Garfields in the world who hate Monday and wake up asking, “Is it Friday yet?” Why is Friday a favorite to so many people?

Last Day

Most people love Fridays because it’s the last day of their work week. This means it’s the last day for plenty of things:

  • Getting up early
  • Going to bed at a regular time
  • Driving to the office
  • Dealing with ugly traffic
  • Slogging through the stack of stuff on the desk

It’s only the last day for a very short time before the cycle begins again.

I’m self-employed. I’m wearing sweats and slipper socks as I type this post. That’s my “go to work” uniform. I still show up for six or more hours Monday through Friday. Someday, I might even collect a paycheck.

First Day

If you’re a “glass half full” sort of person (like me), you love Friday because it is the first day of your weekend. When you walk out of work at closing time, you answer to no schedule but one you choose.

Many times, Friday is the first day of:

  • Vacation
  • A three-day weekend
  • Rest & relaxation
  • Forgetting the stress associated with work

I freely admit that Friday is not the first day I must share my quiet work space with another individual. My oldest son works from home on both Wednesday and Friday (this telecommuting thing is great for some people). Friday brings both my son and my husband to their telecommuting office space.

Fortunately, we all have our own desk in three separate rooms. Most of the time the WiFi can even keep up with all the data we’re spewing around Internet-tionally. But when it’s lunch time, my space is invaded, and the quiet ends.

Fun Day

Friday night is date night for many people. Restaurants with open seating on Monday through Thursday require reservations on Friday. Why is this?

People are ready to celebrate the end of the work week. Maybe heading out on the town is the way they relax.

I’m not much of a late night person, so I’ve noticed that most forms of entertainment I might enjoy begin between 7 and 8 p.m. Whether we’re heading to a Blazer game or a Murder Mystery Dinner, things don’t get started until 7 or later.

Which is fine since most people aren’t getting up at their regular time the next morning. It’s Saturday. They’re sleeping in, cooking a lovely brunch to enjoy while leisurely scrolling through their Facebook feed. After that, they’ll tackle that wonderful thing called a “to do” list.

What do you like about Friday? If Friday isn’t your favorite day of the week, why not? What is your favorite day and what makes it so great?

Emotional Fatigue Syndrome: Yes, it feels chronic

Things happen. Sometimes these events bring joy and laughter. Or “The Imperial March” plays while the Force wreaks doom and destruction.

Life always brings us both. Maybe not in equal doses, but if there was only gloom, we’d lay down and quit. I’ve tried this a few times. Apparently, I haven’t found the correct person to submit my letter of resignation to yet *shrugs*

When life mimics and emotional roller coaster, fatigue sets in.

Some of you might love the thrill of the sudden drops and twists of a roller coaster. Me? I’ll pass. Hand me the camera. I’ll snap a shot or two while you’re hanging upside down on the loop-de-loop.

Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia

Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of being a bystander on life’s roller coaster. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to just watch. Life is meant to be lived. You never know if you’ll get 10 years or 100, so it’s best to ride it for all it’s worth.

Sometimes my car needs to take a break though. My emotions aren’t built for the constant rubber-banding from one extreme to another. Finished a novel – success. Mom’s on hospice – disillusionment.

When it goes on for months, I feel like puking my tears and laughter out just so my chest can be empty for once. Numb. Not wrung like a dishtowel stuck in the agitator.

Two funerals in a week – sadness. Positive feedback from beta readers – encouragement. Interning the ashes – devastation. Waking up early to be reminded of the emptiness – bleak. Finishing the revisions on schedule – accomplishment. Ordering the sign for the memorial garden – lost.

And on and on it goes. Until my Emotional Fatigue Syndrome kicks into high gear, meaning I’m laid out flat. Sleep, yes please, rather than doing anything else. Sleep, not when it’s dark and quiet and everyone else snoozes.

Every muscle aches. How many times can I be thrown into that safety bar across my lap? Apparently, one more. Until my diaphragm is damaged, and I can no longer breathe.

Perfect. Suffocation will be better than grief. Unsurprisingly, they’re one and the same. Who knew?

The prescribed pills don’t push it back. Even the glorious sunshine struggles to keep the dark monster at bay.

How do I treat Emotional Fatigue Syndrome? Does anyone know where the lever is that shuts this emotional roller coaster off?

Missing a Deadline



While traveling away from home, deadlines are left behind not packed in the suitcase. If only I could have avoided the electronic age of mishaps while in Las Vegas this past week.

Murphy’s Law:

“Anything that can go wrong will do wrong.”

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. The house could have burned down or been robbed. My cats could have been slain in the street by a speeding car.

Instead, the electronic age crucified my cozy bubble of retreat with three nails.

Nail One: Un-synced Data

About halfway to the airport, I realized this first one. I had not synced my iPad files with my computer.

Not a big deal, right? Sure, as long as I didn’t make any changes to existing documents on my iPad while on vacation. If I did, the software would notice and give me some crazy error message.

Is it perfectly fine to make changes on the computer but not the iPad? Actually, if you make changes to either of them without re-syncing the devices, Mr. Error Message flashes the red exclamation point.

Did I need any other excuse not to work on my writing projects while on vacation? I’m pretty sure you can surmise the answer.

Nail Two: Lost Files

Imagine sitting by the pool, warm sunshine kisses your skin and a desert wind ruffles your hair. Even with sunglasses on, you’re squinting against the brightness. After all, you may as well be a mole; the sun hasn’t made much of an appearance for six weeks or more.

“I’ll check my email before I settle in to read that Brandon Sanderson novel,” you think. Your index finger taps the mail icon and you begin the process of deleting emails.

A mail from the agent you submitted a query and five pages to surprises you. Yes, you paid good money for a critique, but the agent has six more days before their self-imposed deadline.

A quick scan of the mail is not enough. Clouds settle over the sun and a tight fist clenches your stomach. You read it again – hoping it doesn’t say what your brain understood during the speed glance.

She didn’t get the pages. Perhaps they were lost in cyberspace. Could you please resend them?

I would love to. Small problem: I’m a thousand miles away from my computer and those saved files. I took care of all that before I left. Blood pressure rises. Pounding begins behind the squinting eyes.

Thankfully, I sent this using my gmail account and the outgoing mail is automatically saved. With the help of my husband (since some features refuse to work on my iPad, don’t ask me why), I find the previously sent mail, copy and paste it into the reply.

Crisis diverted. (In unrelated news, my credit card was also on hold until I logged in and authorized my recent shopping trip. The fraud department is watching my back again.)

Nail Three: Missed Payments a.k.a. What’s My Password?

At least I was just chilling in the hotel room when I checked my email for the final bad news alert. No need to jinx the poolside, you know?

This message was syrupy and chipper. My gag reflex kicked in before I could stop it. “We know things come up and your payment slipped your mind.”

Sallie Mae. She’s such a Pollyanna.

Yes ma’am, I thought about scheduling my student loan payment several times. At my age, my brain equates that to completing the task. Apparently, I still don’t have those telekinetic skills I requested.

I try to log in. I don’t even know my user name and therefore can’t request my password. The handy cheat sheet containing this information my brain locks away in an inaccessible location? At home.

Not helpful. I guess Sallie will wait a few more days for the missed payment.

All these electronic shortcuts to make life easier added two cups of stress to my four days of rest and relaxation. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

Have you had any similar events in your life? What sort of unexpected news stalked you on vacation?

Feeling Pressure: Learning to Perform under It

Image courtesy of 123rf




















“One of my professors assigned two papers that are due at the same time.”

This from my youngest son, a young man who believes he’s headed into the marketing industry. I’m sure once he’s there, his employer will never assign him multiple projects that share the same due date.

Yeah, right. What universe does he plan to live and work in? Certainly not the American one. Read more