Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The beauty of a sick day

I've been thinking about stress and how much of it we as a society deal with. It's astounding when you ask people about their lives, especially the over 45 crowd. Life just has a way of multiplying challenges as we age and what else can we do but roll with them. Add in the demands of a long term relationship, not the familial kind, but rather that stinkin' social media-- a far more high maintenance commitment than your husband or wife-- and you can feel like you're climbing up a mountain in sandals.

A few days ago, I had had it. Nothing was getting done, my column's topic was too boring to write about and I couldn't come up with a timely alternative to save my ass. Getting clients to call me back was like waiting for seeds to germinate and all my dog could do was give me dirty looks for making him wait "just 5 more minutes" the 6th time. So, I did what any smart professional would do-- I got up, turned off the computer and took a sick day. Basically, I walked out on my job, free-lance as it was. And I walked right out the door, dog leash in tow. Nature was calling. Unbeknownst to me, she  literally was calling. Not just the dog.

After David had relieved himself on my neighbors hellebores (sorry no pics), I remembered I had volunteered to water the young magnolia trees at the park and they were probably thirsty. So we headed on down, with me grumbling about work the entire way.

Once we were there David saw the "Do not Swim" sign and immediately dove in. Frantic, I yelled like any hysterical mom would, worrying about all the toxins and bacteria he could be ingesting. Got him out pretty quickly, and took him across the path to a nearby stream. An easy rinse solution that hopefully prevented him from getting diphtheria.

On on the path, I watched David run into a field covered in little yellow flowers. I knew they were invasive weeds (Lesser celandine, aka, Ficaria verna), but I write a blog called Neglected Beauty, so... They were pretty! As I watched him run like a drunk puppy, it dawned on me, this was exactly  where I was supposed to be. On a walk, in the woods, with my dog. Not at a desk, stressing about things out of my control, waiting for the phone to ring. Still without a topic for the column, I didn't care. I got one for the blog.

We found things on the forest floor. Nice things. Pretty things. I didn't care if many of them turned out to be invasive weeds. (I consider myself a very open-minded Master Gardener). There's reason after all for every single plant in this world. Besides, they were fetching under the clouds, adding a charge of color and texture to a very drab April day.

When I returned home, I took out my journal, I wrote down the following list. I realized a "sick of this job" day totally counts as a sick day, in my book at least. There's a whole lot of healing to be had outside in nature. The first step is to disengage from that whiny internet relationship that you spend more time with than your loved ones (true fact).Say goodbye to stress. You'll thank me. #getoutside

Prescription to de-stress (Tested):
Gently but firmly step away from your computer. 
Call in sick, to your boss or yourself. 
Go outside. Take a walk. 
Go into the woods, urban or country. 
Take a deep breath. Exhale. 
Keep going. Feel lighter. 
Pull out cell phone. Take a pic of the forest floor. 
Reminisce about discovering nature as a kid and playing outside. 
Smile. Ask yourself why you don't do this more. 
Go home. Sit down. 
Write in day-timer: Remember to do this more.

1 comment:

David Edgerley Gates said...

Absolutely. Some days you just need to step outside and remind yourself that this nice afternoon is in fact your life, too.