7 April Stress Busters

Spring is undeniably here. So as we spring into April with its legendary showers, allow me to shower you with another set of month-appropriate stress busters. We’re over halfway through my year-long Stress Buster blog series and I hope you’ve been blessed by each installment. I’ve had fun—and been challenged as well—writing them.

Now in the spirit of spring and all things fresh and new and full of life, may you be refreshed and revitalized by the following April stress busters. Be blessed, friends!

7 April Stress Busters

  1. When April showers pay a visit, take a few moments to play in the rain. Become a kid again. Lift your face to the skies and spread your arms wide. Let the raindrops splash on your cheeks and thank God for his life-giving provision—to the earth and in your life. And while you’re at it, why not rejoice wholeheartedly and jump in a puddle!
  2. Indulge in floral therapy by keeping fresh flowers in your home this month. If you’re not the green thumb type (I’m not) and don’t have flowers blooming plentifully in your yard, treat yourself to flowers from the florist—or less expensive yet, from a greenhouse, grocery, or discount store that sells fresh flowers. Farmer’s markets might be another option. Let fresh flowers refresh your spirit.
  3. Set aside your responsibilities at home one evening and take in a concert. Whether it’s a professional concert or simply a spring musical or program at a local school, let an evening of live music provide a much-needed escape from your never-ending to-do list.
  4. When you get a break from April showers, go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Take your lunch break in the park or eat at a restaurant with outdoor seating. Tinker in your yard or relax on your patio and listen to the birds. The sounds of nature are soothing indeed.  
  5. As you enjoy the newness of spring, try a new-to-you coffee shop, restaurant, or ice cream parlor. A new experience can bring fresh energy and help pull us out of ruts where we see only the stresses surrounding us. Take a friend or loved one with you for an extra shot of fun.
  6. Do a little spring cleaning and clean out a kitchen drawer or two or tackle a shelf in a closet. Even though it sounds like work, it will get your mind off things that may be stressing you. Plus, you’ll be rewarded with a real sense of accomplishment.
  7. With Easter inspiration still fresh in your heart, continue to enjoy Sunday morning worship and the fellowship of other believers. As you lift your heart in worship and as you share your life with fellow believers, you will be strengthened and encouraged and ever reminded to drop your burdens at the feet of Jesus. This is true stress relief.

May these stress-busting ideas for April help keep you relaxed and enjoying life during the wonderful season of spring! 

“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he . . . sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” Joel 2:23 NIV

*Which of these stress busters sounds the most refreshing to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by he(art)geek, Creative Commons License

Budget Agreement with the Father of the Bride

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Spring Break so will see you back here Tuesday Mar. 27. Blessings to all!

Mother of the Bride, are you on the same financial wedding-planning page as the Father of the Bride? Budget talk is never fun—in daily life or in wedding planning—but you’ll save yourself and your husband (or ex-husband as the case may be) countless unpleasant exchanges if the two of you are in budget agreement from the earliest stages of your planning.

FOBs may joke that their job in wedding planning is to hand over the checkbook or credit card, but they really do want to have a say in what’s reasonable to spend for the whole affair. If you’re not careful, wedding expenses can turn into a runaway train in the blink of an eye. If you know how much the FOB is comfortable spending, MOB, you’ll know when to apply the brake and slow the wedding-planning locomotive down.

Most men—on their first time around the FOB block—have no idea what a wedding can cost so be sure to enlighten the FOB in your life early on. Better to give him a chance to absorb the shock and weigh in on the budget for your particular wedding than to hit him with repeated shockers throughout the course of the planning.

So MOB, honor the FOB by getting on the same financial page with him from the beginning. Remember, you’re on the same team. You’ll enjoy the big day—and each other—so much more if financial strain and unhappiness doesn’t become a wedge between you. And hey, your spirit of cooperation will bless your sweet daughter as well!

*You might also like to read Wedding Expenses: Get the Most Bang for Your MOB Buck, A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, and Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Have you subscribed to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Hope this revised encore post from Jan. 2014 was helpful to you today!

*Flickr photo by Tax Credits, Creative Commons License

7 March Stress Busters

We’ve made it to March, y’all! Not only does that mean the worst of winter is surely behind us (fingers crossed!), but here on my blog, a new month means it’s time for another installment in my Stress Buster blog series. I hope you’re finding it helpful and also fun as we think of different month-appropriate ways to lighten life’s stresses.

March always promises to be filled with activity, doesn’t it? The coming attractions include March Madness, the coming of spring, Spring Break, and even Easter weekend falling on the last couple of days of the month this year. Could it be that a teeny bit of stress will creep in as we squeeze extra activities into our already busy lives?

So to combat the stress that may try to march (hee hee) against us this month, here are some stress busters especially for March. Hope they make a difference for us!

7 March Stress Busters

  1. Get into the spirit and enjoy some March Madness. If you’re a die-hard basketball enthusiast, you may fill out a bracket and the whole nine yards, but if you’re not a big fan, you can still choose a team to root for and enjoy a game or two of some of the best basketball that’s played all year. Plus, snacks can be involved!
  2. Hang some wind chimes on your porch or from a tree in your yard and let March play you a medley of tunes. The sound of wind chimes can provide a welcome distraction from the pressures of the day. Let their music put a song in your heart.
  3. Look for signs of spring every day and rejoice in them. Whisper a prayer of thanks over each one or sing a song of praise. You could even snap photos or jot down your spring-sightings in a journal and then look back and remind yourself of them when things aren’t going well.
  4. Treat yourself to a short getaway. Sometimes the only way to get away from stress, particularly work-related stress, is to leave town, if only for a day or two. If you have a spring break in your schedule and can take extra time away, do it. Enjoy a change of scenery and a change of pace.
  5. Take advantage of a warm day and enjoy one of your favorite outdoor activities. Go to the zoo or take a nice long walk or a bike ride. Break away from your indoor confines and soak up some sunshine.
  6. On one of March’s colder days, spend some time dreaming and planning for summer vacation. That’s right, winter will probably stage a last hurrah this month so combat it with thoughts of warm summer days and what you might do for vacation. Spend some time looking online for possible destinations or grab your sweetie and daydream options together.
  7. As Easter approaches, sing or listen to favorite hymns or praise choruses celebrating the season. When you feel stress building, hit pause and turn your heart to the Savior and sing for him. Let him be the Prince of Peace in your life.

If March has come in like a lion for you, my friend, I pray that these stress-busting strategies will help it go out like a lamb. May God bless you with all the best this month has to offer!

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2 NIV

*Which of these stress busters sounds the most appealing to you?

*Have you subscribed to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Fimb, Creative Commons License

Wedding Expenses: Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

At the beginning of a new year, many of us are looking for ways to trim down, both physically and financially. Saving money always feels good and getting the most value for our money makes us smile as well. Sometimes we get downright giddy over a good deal!

Want to know how to get the most bang for your MOB buck, Mother of the Bride? Here’s my tip: Put your checkbook away and use your credit card when paying for wedding expenses.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating racking up charges that you don’t have the money to cover. But since you’re going to be making lots of purchases—and some of them very big—why not take advantage and rack up the points on your credit card so you can purchase free flights or other free items?

In other words, let the money spent on the wedding work twice for you—once to make your sweet daughter’s dreams come true and the second time to make your dreams come true. Another win-win on the wedding front!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks, Wedding Savings Tip: Make It Yourselves!, A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!, Let Bridesmaids Bouquets Perform Double Duty, Wedding-Themed Shower Gifts, and Christmas Gifts for the Bride.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out on Thursday Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. New subscribers this week won’t be included in this giveaway but will be included in all future giveaways. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Images Money, Creative Commons License

7 January Stress Busters

by Cheryl Barker  CherylBarkerWriter

Happy New Year, friends! What say we kick off 2018 with some January stress busters? Hopefully you’ve been enjoying—and benefiting from—the monthly Stress Buster blog series I’ve been offering over the past few months. I pray you’re finding some new ideas and also being reminded to try some strategies you may have heard of or tried in the past.

As far as January goes, some might think that since the holidays are over, January would be smooth sailing. But January holds stresses all its own.

Many are coming face to face with paying for their Christmas spending while others are paying in pounds for their holiday eating. Some may be battling the stress of cabin fever and others are dealing with the stress of winter blues and seasonal affective disorder. And then, of course, there are the regular stresses of life that plague us any time of year. So yes, Virginia, there is indeed stress in January.

May the following January stress busters help get your 2018 started off on a good foot. Be blessed as you try them, friends!

7 January Stress Busters

  1. Before getting out of bed, start each day with a short prayer. You could say good morning to the Lord while telling him you love him and asking him to go with you through the day. Or perhaps you can give your day—and yourself—to the Lord and ask him to help you be a blessing to him and to others. As you put your focus on him first thing in the morning, you’ll be more likely to turn to him when stress begins to mount.  
  2. Increase your physical activity in simple ways. Try standing or walking while doing some of the tasks you normally do sitting down. Or take the stairs at work rather than use the elevator. Think of your own routines and get creative. Let endorphins released during exercise combat the stress of the day.
  3. Take some time one evening to relax and re-read the Christmas cards and letters you received in December. Most of us are so busy during the days before Christmas that we don’t have the time to truly savor the beauty and messages of the holiday greetings we received. After reliving those greetings, go ahead and recall some of your favorite moments of the season and give God thanks. 
  4. Soak up some sunshine every time you get the chance. January can have an abundance of gray days so when the sun comes out, take advantage and recharge. Whether at home or out and about, when it comes time to find a place to sit, choose a spot in the sun. And if possible, spend some time outside when the sun is shining. Soak up the rays even if the air is still cold.
  5. Make a few simple changes in spending habits to help pay off your bills more quickly. Instead of buying bottled water or expensive hot drinks, fill up a stainless steel insulated bottle or tumbler with your favorite hot or cold drink and take it with you. Also, don’t spend your change. Save it and apply it to a bill that’s weighing on your mind. Spend a few minutes evaluating your habits and see what else you might be able to do.
  6. Make the most of the cold weather and enjoy the cozy comforts of January. Savor the warming effects of candlelight, comfy throws, snuggly sweaters, and fires in the fireplace. And don’t forget to wrap your hands around a cup of hot cocoa, coffee, or spiced tea. Enjoy!
  7. Break free and go on a spur of the moment outing. If you’ve been snowed in or are staying in as much as possible due to bitter temps, brave the elements and get away from the stir-craziness of your four walls. Go see a movie, meet friends for coffee and conversation, or go wander the aisles of your favorite home improvement store and make plans for spring and summer projects. Do something to re-energize your spirit.

Here’s to less stressful living in 2018—in January and beyond!

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

*Which of these stress busters will best hit the spot for you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Caaru, Creative Commons License