The other day my friend Lula dropped in to see me. The last time she visited I was stressed out, at my wits end; problems with family, too many bills, and too little money with which to pay those bills. “On top of everything else,” I said, “I’ve spent too much time watching TV and listening to the news. Wars, drugs, political intrigue, the economy, you name it. The world’s going to hell in a hand basket!” Suddenly I stopped ranting and noticed that Lula seemed more relaxed than ever. I commented on her serene countenance. “What’s your secret? How come you look so calm and relaxed.” She just smiled and sipped her tea. “Let me pass along a little advice I got from my older female acquaintances,” she said.
“First of all, I realized there was nothing I could do to save the world or right society’s wrongs. Then I looked at my bills and found they weren’t as much as I thought they were. I could deal with them in my own time. Finally, I went out and bought a box of Kalgon, turned off the TV and the telephone locked the bathroom door, climbed in the bathtub, and let Kalgon take me away.”
“And that took away your stress?” I asked. “For a while it did. I discovered if I didn’t treat myself occasionally, no one else would. You see, it’s important to take time out for yourself,” she said. “Get away from family and your normal routine if only for an hour. Everybody needs to recharge his or her batteries.”
“Sounds like a lot of time and money,” I said.
“It depends on what you choose. It doesn’t have to cost that much. Here’s a few things you can do.
- Get a manicure and/or a pedicure if you’ve never had one before.
- Give yourself a facial. My mother use to mix together oatmeal and water, and leave it on her face until it dried. My aunt would beat up a raw egg and spread it on her face. They had the smoothest complexion. Or you can purchase all sorts of facial scrubs and masks in a jar.
- Go for a walk in the park. You can’t beat going for a walk as a stress reliever. I’m not talking about walking as exercise. I mean a leisurely stroll in the morning or midday, stopping to “smell the roses.”
- Go to the beach if it’s not too far away. I did just that the other day. I decided the night before that I was going to the beach in the morning. I packed my beach chair, a snack, my ipod, and a good book and spent the day at the beach. It was refreshing.
- If you can afford it, get a massage. Look around for some place not too expensive and treat yourself. You don’t have to be rich to pamper yourself like a queen.”