Monday Monthly Mission # 14

October 4th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


I am so, so excited about this mission. So ripe for it! I really need it and better yet, I know you do too. For example, reader Rebecca left this comment on the last FFF :

“I am having a really difficult time finding balance and peace in my life. Although it is just me (no significant other, kids, and friends have basically gone by the wayside as they are all getting married and going AWOL one-by-one) I just never feel relaxed and as if there are enough hours in the day. Even if it is the weekend I still feel as if I have too much to do . . . But I just feel stressed out 24-7 . . . can anyone relate? suggestions?”

First of all, YES I CAN RELATE! I’m sure a lot of us can. I can relate to “difficult time finding balance”, and “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. And I’m willing to bet that other passages, like perhaps “never feel relaxed”, or “feel stressed out 24-7″, will resonate with other readers.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. As a certified type-A personality, with Hyper Productivity Disorder™, things like ‘balance’ are a constant battle. I didn’t even really consider it until Damian gently pointed out, “You know, stress management is a really important part of being healthy”.

Oh, the Awful Truth! What the heck is the point of eating so well, taking such nutritional care, if I’m just driving myself to an early grave with STRESS?!

Yes friends, this is a lesson I’ve yet to learn, a big ‘ol demon I desperately need to tackle. Like, yesterday. Luckily there’s about a million options, and hitting it slow and steady will allow it to stick for life.

So this month’s mission is just to begin that movement towards a happier, less stressed and better balanced version of yourself. What that step looks like will be different for everybody. You’ll need to see what rings right in your own life. Maybe you could . . .

. . . start each day with 20 minutes of meditation.
. . . find 40 minutes each evening to take a walk, alone or accompanied.
. . . join a gym and sweat it out!
. . . save your money and run it out!
. . . keep a reflection journal, or a dream diary. Try to write a little every day.
. . . take a night time bath. Light a yummy candle. Use fancy soaking salts.
. . . go to bed an hour earlier and read – but ONLY pleasure reading allowed.

You get the idea. The point is to carve out some special place in your life that says “This is just for me.” In the same way that we eat well – and make accommodations to do so – we must treat ourselves well. And we must grant ourselves the license to do so, without guilt.

This is just one small first step, but the hope is that it establishes a habit. Habitual self-nurturing, which is really an act of self-love, is the foundation of true well being.

So tonight, I’ll be going to a yoga class. What will you be doing to take care of yourself? Do you accept this mission?

  • StMongo

    when I’m stressed after work, I walk home. it gives me time to think, I get to see so much more detail in the same stuff I pass on the bus and it’s good for my tush!

  • Rachel

    agreed with StMongo on walking home occasionally… looooove it! and I run outside about 5x a week, sometimes in the woods, which is an awesome stress reliever for me.

  • Tenise Rae

    Roller derby is my stress reliever. Heheheh. ;)

  • Carolyn

    Perfect! My goal this month is to go to bed with a book instead of my laptop. With my laptop in reach, I find myself waking up multiple times a night and checking email, reading CNN, or just browsing until I fall back asleep.

    With a book, I usually won’t turn the light back on to read unless I have a serious bout of insomnia. The result? I read more before I go to sleep, AND I sleep more.

    I did it last night and am going to try to do it, um, every week night this month. Hey, it is a start!

  • Virginia

    As a librarian I really vote for the reading before bed :D. But I don’t always follow this advice either. I am such a night owl so I stay up way too late and then try to read before going to sleep but by that time I am really past the point of being tired and fall asleep after only reading 10 pages. So I vow to go to bed a lot earlier to read. Then maybe I will have more energy in the morning to get things done. :)

  • erosan

    Oh I’m in! I run from time to time, but I’ve wanted to do a little meditation now and then since a while ago…

    perfect excuse, right?

  • Allison

    I’m in. I haven’t been to yoga in about 3 months and I miss the calming effect it has on me. The lady who teaches the class I go to promotes blocking out all thoughts while in the class. This is such a foreign thing to me as my brain is always multitasking trying to plan out the next 7 things on my to do list. I never really thought I got that stressed out but people in my life keep telling me I’m stressed too often. I like this mission. Thanks!

  • saundra

    i like this mission too. i find myself way to stressed over little things and snapping at the kids and my hunny way too much. so my me time will mix in between working out to one of my dvd’s or taking a bubble bath i love both but hardly ever do them thanks for the mission :)

  • MathTutor

    All I have been thinking about lately is how to destress, which is difficult being an Industrial Engineering major at a very large university, with extracurriculars, and a job! I feel like if i’m not doing work at ALL TIMES, I will fail. But then I also need time to just relax ya know? However, I have been have 14 hour days, nonstop.

    I would appreciate any advice you lovely people might have for me =/

  • sarah

    Oh man. I need this like none other – this is so good. Not only am I a workaholic, but as a designer AND a total geek I have lately come to realize how much time I spend looking at SCREENS. It’s time to work on destressing analog-style.

  • Minna

    Good mission! Very much needed.

    I usually get more stressed about not doing anything useful… So my goal is to be active (study as much as possible!) and get things done well and thoroughly – that works as a total stress reliever for me.

    But I would *love* to start doing yoga again. I used to take yoga classes in high school and it had such a good effect on me. But I haven’t done yoga in a couple of years now. It’s hard to do yoga by yourself, much easier with a professional teacher… Hmm… I should check if there’s any classes around here. Good idea!

    What kind of yoga do you do, by the way? And is it going well? =)

  • Rebecca

    First, can I say how it completely made my day to see my comment highlighted in this MMM? (The original highlight of my day was one of the kiddos I babysit for giving me a beautiful drawing…she then proceeded to take it back and say she decided to give it to someone else…hmm..that is my life in a nutshell)

    Yes, a mission I accept. I love the idea of going to bed earlier (I typically hit the hay at 4 am! talk about messing with circadian rhythms. Unfortunately my loud, herbal-smoking, incense-burning neighbors tend to want to thwart my “going to bed early goals” (no offense to those who enjoy these things, I just simply do not want them encroaching on my fragrance and drug-free home).

    @Allison: In regards to “blocking things out” when I first tried dabbling in meditation and stress reduction it simply did not work for my personality type to block things out (by doing that I thought about everything MORE).
    2 things I found helpful:
    1. Instead of shoving thoughts out of your mind try to let them come in and sail right back little waves coming and going on the shore. The point is to not deny that your thoughts are there but to let them come and go without necessarily causing you stress. You can notice them and then just release them without ruminating. Although I STILL find this difficult, I do believe that it is more helpful, for me anyway, especially in regards to translating medication/stress reduction over to everyday situations as we can’t really control the external circumstances but simply our reactions (i.e. if we choose to freak out or not..ha ha)

    2. Active meditations (something I wish to explore further): I simply cannot sit still. If I tried to meditate like that, even for years upon years I would probably end up getting one-millionth of a millimeter closer to serenity. I think anything that is semi-repetitive or that completely gets you into that “zone” state (for some people it is drawing, knitting, cooking, and so on). But one neat idea I always like was staring at a candle flame. Just concentrating on the flickering and where it goes.

    Hopefully this helps!

  • erosan

    @Rebecca, @Allison: Speaking of “blocking things out” to meditate… I do the oposite when trying to go to sleep. I try to think of everything at once so my thoughts ‘sound’ like the hum of indistinct chatter in the restaurant area of a mall where there is a lot of noise, but you cant really make sense of anything anyone is saying. And then my mind goes numb… and I fall asleep. Is this weird? am I the only one for whom this works?

  • windycityvegan

    I absolutely accept! Just a couple of weeks ago I moved my study time from early morning (4:30 am-ugh) to mid-evening. Now that I’ve settled into my new routine, I can sleep in until 5:30 and still have time for an early morning yoga session before heading off to work.

    @Tenise Rae – Which league do you skate for? I was *this close* to trying out for the Windy City Rollers, then I got pregnant.

  • Sayward

    Hey guys, so glad you’re into this. It’s so important! For those that mentioned what you’re already doing – which is super awesome – are you going to also add something else? For example I already take 2 long walks each day, which is very calming and grounding for me. But I still carry stress and so to move towards balance, I’m adding yoga (and a few other things I think . . . ) It’s a constant process of tweaking and reworking and modifying, to find a place of harmony. At least it is for me! (Mrs. Type-A )

    So, are you guys going to change anything or are you happy with where you are? If you’ve already found that sweet spot, of course, than nothing needs to change. And if so then man, I’m envious! Good for you guys! =D

    @ MathTutor – I rally relate to what you said and the lifestyle you’re living right now (reminds me of when I was at University doing my research, etc). In my experience, the only way is to just *make* the first small step happen – for example in college for me it was a nightly bath with a good book (and a glass of wine, or 2, haha) – and then observing the consequences. And by that I mean, make the space for your ‘you time’, and then notice that . . . the world does not come crashing down . . . you do not fall hopelessly behind . . . you do not end up having to go to bed later . . . or work harder later . . . or any other huge stress inducer. Pay attention to the fact that not a lot really changes – except that now you get a little relief! – that your schedule will bend to accomodate this new addition, without compromising elsewhere. And I bet you it will! But you just gotta try it.

    @ Minna – I do the yoga that is free at my co-op, ha! Sort of always different, which I like. Last night was my first time in ages, and I feel AMAZING. And Damian and Waits survived my absence, which was a big deal and a huge step. =)

    @ Rebecca – Yay! It was just so timely a question, I had to use it! And your meditative process is exactly what I do, because I also can’t ever *actually* clear my mind. But I started doing that and it works great for me!

    Very excited for this one, guys! Can’t wait to hear how it goes for everyone!

  • Tara

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I am so excited for this MMM! Much needed, indeed.

    Lately I have been reading every morning in the bath for 30 minutes before work and it is amazing! I work a stressful job in the medical field and allowing myself that little bit of peaceful time before the day comes rushing in has helped me immensely.

    I would like to try to introduce a nightly walk with the husband and pup while the weather is still amenable. Walking has always helped calm my mind and I think it would be a great way to slow down after a long day.

    “And we must grant ourselves the license to do so, without guilt.” I think this is a really important point that Sayward touched on. It can be incredibly difficult to allow yourself time and space simply for you. I have to constantly remind myself (while doing yoga, meditation, or even a nice, long bath) that I am doing something to grow, learn, change, reconnect that in turn will help my relationships, ability to manage stress, etc…

  • Melissa F.

    I work 2 jobs (in a busy emergency room as a tech and on an ambulance)I went as far as changing one position from part time to perdiem.(best thing i ever did) I also make sure I have time to clean my itty bitty studio…a decluttered house makes my mind feel less cluttered. Than it’s a matter of doing something each day that makes me feel semi productive and fulfilled… Awesome mission! =) Everyone feels like this sometimes, it’s good to know you aren’t alone.

  • Tenise Rae

    @windycityvegan~ I skate for SisQ Rollerz in southern Oregon. Wow! Looks like Windy City Rollers has their shit together! We’re essentially starting over due to some recent drama….we’ll have a kick ass website up here soon. :D
    I always wonder how I’m gonna handle not gettin’ my skate time in once we get pregnant again. I do know that I must be involved somehow some way. Love me some derby, big time!!

  • Shaina

    Thanks for the mission mama! I certainly am in need of this, and am loving everyone’s enthusiasm. I’m working 2 jobs, and trying to still audition for musical theatre gigs. Even though I don’t work weekends, I feel stressed trying to squeeze in all the people I have neglected all week (which is just silly)! So I am vowing to destress this month by:
    -taking my time during meals. my food doesn’t stand a chance at mealtimes, so I vow to slow down a bit. savor the flavas!
    -scheduling some ME time, whatever that is. be it yoga, or a long walk in this gorgeous NY fall weather. I am going to take some of my weekend time and make it mine!


    Let’s do this! <3

  • Annie

    My partner and I dedicate the first 20 minutes of the day to a cuddle. It’s really not a big thing to do, but it puts a great perspective on the rest of the day and maintains the closeness, without being sexual or related the never ending to do list. I find as such close friends, we can too easily get into the habit of just doing everything together without really being together… That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but sometimes it is nice to stop and smell the roses, or stop and cuddle.

  • Sayward

    There are some really great suggestions in here! I love the idea of reading in the bath *before* starting the day! And early morning cuddles of course. =)