Detach and Distract

April 18,2023

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. These are expressions I grew up with and they float through my mind when things get tough. One of my good friends tells me when everything I am doing seems to stop working,  (mindfulness, yoga, meditation, journaling, support group meetings), it is time to try something new. A few weeks ago, she took me out spontaneously on a Thursday night. We each had one gin and tonic and made each other laugh with silly stories and anecdotes.  I couldn’t recall the last time I went out on a school night unless it was for a work-related function or a meeting.

Everyone I know deals with stress in one form or another. Lots of my friends and family deal with chronic stress due to work, illnesses, local and even world events. 2023 is no walk in the park much of the time. Even good stresses like my son graduating from college and my husband starting a new job, have left me feeling overwhelmed and off kilter. I had some extra big challenges this week, so I have redoubled my efforts with the tools I already use daily, and I have put the focus on letting go of the things I can’t control (detaching) and finding fun activities to distract my mind.

When I hit the point of feeling overwhelmed this week, I decided to start a gardening project. Each day when I came home from work. I spent a few minutes or an hour weeding and preparing flower beds. One day, I got permission to leave work a bit earlier than usual and I stopped by the garden store on the way home to pick up some annuals and mulch to refresh the beds I had been preparing all week. Rain waylaid some of my efforts, but by the end of the weekend, I had made noticeable headway toward completing my projects and all the hours in the yard had improved my mental clarity. Each evening I have enjoyed watering the newly planted flowers. I can’t control lots of things, but today, my yard looks better.

On Friday, I decided to host a small cookout in honor of my husband’s new job. Getting the house ready for guests and shopping for supplies distracted me from my worries and gave me focus. Cleaning up the patio furniture for the season always makes me think about lazy summer days sipping my coffee outside and meals al fresco.  Having people over changes the energy and routines in our home in very positive ways. By the time our guests arrived, I felt so much more centered. Our home always seems more comfortable when enjoy it in the company of good friends, too.

We drove to Williamsburg on Saturday to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday. It was a sunny, nearly perfect day as we ate outside in Merchants Square and walked around Colonial Williamsburg with Andrew, his wonderful girlfriend Anna, and my mom. We chatted about their final month of college and plans for graduation festivities and parties. As much as I can, I want to savor the final events of Andrew’s college experience. It is his time to be front and center in the family with his new job as a chemist scheduled to begin on May 22, two days after he completes his bachelor’s degree at William and Mary. I am so proud of the man he is becoming and the hard work he has put into his studies.

This week, I plan to continue with coffee and lunches with dear friends, time in my yard and gardening projects. I will seize the day to see a play when unexpected tickets are offered. I will walk in the sunshine whenever I can escape outside. I vow to keep up the healthy distractions and to detach from the stresses that nearly overwhelmed me last week.

Published by bmdavis1

I am a wife, mother of 2 grown sons, a school librarian and a certified yoga instructor. My hobbies include gardening, walking in nature and chasing around my two ornery cats.

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