Breathe and blink.
Those are my words of advice to anyone seated at a desk right now. Sounds simple, but think about how often you sit and hold your breath while your mind is otherwise engaged. It took me six months of counseling a year ago to remember to breathe and to remember that I was supposed to enjoy life. I've always been filled with joy. I was given the Sunshine Award in junior high. My teachers always told me that my smile was contagious. So what happens as we get older? What makes us forget joy? Is it the stress of trying to be something different? Is it the competition we find all around us? Is it the realization that we're really NOT in control (a big issue for a control freak like myself)?
I see stress on the faces of many beloved colleagues and friends. Those who are suffering the physical ailments of stress—ulcers, hives, depression, panic attacks, sleeplessness—all around me. Experts tell us to simplify our lives. How do we do that in today's environment? I really want to know. I have a house, two cars, three kids, a dog and a stack of bills. But I don't live frivolously. My family tries to vacation every year, but most likely won't this year. We drive two used cars and our house is very average. We recently made the decision to transfer our kids from parochial school to public school, a move that we all agree is best for the family. I left a full-time job to pursue a business from home and be here when my kids get home from school. We pride ourselves on having limited (under the national average) credit card debt. All these things are supposed to simplify our life. But have they?