Escapes From Stress

When my husband had a heart attack, one of the first questions his doctor asked was about his stress level.

It’s no secret that stress is a killer. Although we can’t banish it from our lives completely, we can take steps to change how we respond to it.

Taking time for a brief escape, whether in body or spirit, always calms me. When I have a free lunch time, one of my favorite spots to restore serenity is Barnes & Noble. As I sip a cup of tea and skim the titles on the bookshelves, my tension gradually evaporates. Immersing myself in a book I can briefly forget the pressures of the day. On days when I’m too busy to leave my office, I may close my eyes for a few minutes, take a deep breath and listen to music .

In her book Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes shares how she found immense joy in preparing a simple meal from her garden, enjoying breakfast outdoors or sipping a glass of local wine. I envy Mayes for her Tuscan lifestyle, but I believe we can slip some of these simple pleasures into our lives without leaving our homes—in slowing down, being present in the moment, taking the time to slowly savor truly good food and cherishing the people we love most.

What’s your favorite way to release stress?

8 responses to “Escapes From Stress”

  1. One of the best ways for me to relieve stress is something I learned while growing up in Italy: dining al fresco. There is something about taking a meal outside that elevates it from something ordinary to something extraordinary. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. I keep a pile of blankets by the back door, and even in crisp weather we will grab one to use as a wrap while we enjoy our bowl of soup on the deck. I’ve noticed time and time again that when dining al fresco people tend to eat more slowly and linger over the meal. Last year, for the first time I took our Thanksgiving meal outside under the trees, and it was wonderful.

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