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The Antidote for Stress

Life these days is chaotic. From the busyness of work, kids, holiday parties, endless shopping lists, and anxiously waiting for the UPS truck to pull up – it’s easy to feel strained and drained from the constant hustle and bustle.

The truth is, we tend to be a little obsessed with our busyness. When people ask how we’re doing we often complain about how much we have going on – but when we have the chance to slow down, we resist it. We usually reach for some device to distract us from the discomfort of stillness.

A few months ago received a new deck of guidance cards in the mail. It was an evening when my husband was traveling, and my kids were sleeping. I sat on the floor of my bedroom and unwrapped the beautiful box.

I found myself wondering if I should put on a show or listen to some music while I indulged in this experience – it almost felt like a deprivation of multitasking. I resisted the urge, and leaned into just doing this one thing.

I spent over an hour sitting there, reading through each card, appreciating the art work, and simply being present and giving all of my attention to this one thing. Honestly, it felt very foreign, but it felt so very good. I felt nourished, relaxed, and like I had made the most of this experience.

The antidote for stress is not rest, it’s focus.

The problem is that in our hustle-obsessed culture we take pride in our busyness. I recently gave myself the gift of a do-nothing morning. My kids were visiting grandma, and I spent the morning reading, sitting outside listening to the birds, taking a bath, and even napping. When people asked how my day was, I was embarrassed to admit what I’d done. Even writing it now makes me a little ashamed.

I think we tend to hold a lot of stock in being busy, but the truth is, we’re miserable for it. Maria Popova says, “busyness is the greatest distraction from living,” and I couldn’t agree more.

If you want to truly relax, or get the most out of a moment – do one thing. Open a gift, watch your kids play, have a conversation – and do nothing else but that one thing. Leave your phone in the other room, and resist the temptation to ease the discomfort of focus with multitasking.

Instead, lean into it. Welcome the invitation to slow down, to be present, and to embrace and enjoy the gift of this moment and what it has to offer you.

Let’s make this last week of 2019 the most present we’ve been all year, and go into the next decade resolved to focus more, and stress less.

Wishing you a wonderful week and a very merry Christmas.

With love and gratitude,  Robin 

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