Spring and Stress! Do they have to go hand in hand?

I’m sitting at my desk looking at the blue sky, trees full of leaves, green grass, flowers blooming everywhere.   Yet, my head aches; my shoulders are tense; the calendar’s filled with meeting after meeting.  It’s spring. Life is not supposed to be this way.  We’re celebrating a week of Easters, new life and hope in the liturgical year.  While I should be enjoying this lovely time of year, my stress level seems over the top.

And, I’m sure I’m not the only one.   Students are completing projects and preparing for the end of term and wonder how they will get it all done. Graduating seniors are wondering about jobs and yet more new beginnings.   The work place is filled with demands and expectations.  Stress abounds.

Spring  and Stress.  Do they have to go hand in hand? My body is telling me something and it’s different then how I usually understand “spring fever.”  It’s all just overwhelming. As much as I’d like to imagine my calendar is blank, it is unrealistic to pretend there are no expectations.   So, what can I do?   What is the best antidote for this “stress-filled-spring-fever?”

Well, here’s what I’m going to do.  First, take a deep cleansing breath and blow out the tension.   And then, breathe in deeply. And then, breathe normal – breath in and breath out.  Just spending a couple of minutes focusing on your breath creates an amazing re-centering calm.  The word for Spirit in Hebrew is “ruauch” and means breath.

Second, eat something healthy.  A piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt or some good protein helps clear the head and feeds the thinking brain.  Stay away from sugary foods.  The crash in ten minutes is worse then the initial energy.  The gift of food can help feed the soul as well as the mind.

Third, take a walk around the block.  Yes, this takes time, but the extra fresh air is like a mini-vacation. To use each sense to look at trees, smell the flowers, taste the freshness of the day, feel the warmth of the sun and hear the birds sing is a spiritual practice called mindfulness.  Pay attention to every sense and be truly mindful of the now. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field.”

Well, I’m headed out the door.  A five-minute break to breathe, eat and be mindful is calling. Happy Spring!   May the stress be eased for all of us.

See you in church.

Pr. Elaine