7 July Stress Busters

Since July finds many of us overheated by extreme summer temps and over-stressed by demands of life that take no vacation, let’s refresh ourselves today with the next in my year-long month-appropriate Stress Busters blog series.

This July installment is the next-to-last in the series I began last September. I hope you’ve found it helpful in seeing you through the various stresses that have tried to bring you down or keep you in knots over the past several months. Stress is ever-present in our lives so we need to be ever-alert to reducing it where we can.

So here you are, friends—7 July Stress Busters designed to cool you off and refresh your spirits. Be blessed by them!

7 July Stress Busters

  1. Take in a fireworks display on the 4th. Whether a city-wide display in a stadium or a park or your own personal fireworks extravaganza with family and friends, blowing up fireworks is such a fun and exciting way to blow off the steam of life’s stresses. The beauty, the thrill, and the fun of sharing it with others all work together to reenergize your spirit.
  2. Moderate the heat of outdoor activities—and the heat of unwanted stress—with some ice-cold watermelon. Watermelon is tasty any time of year, but add the heat of summer to the mix and its cool and refreshing sweetness makes a body go yum! And as you relish the taste and experience, you’ll relax and forget your worries for a bit.
  3. If at all possible, go on a vacation. Time away from work or just the normal routines of life can help you unwind both physically and mentally as you focus on other things—family fun, the great outdoors, new foods and experiences, relaxing with a good book, or any number of other things you love to do when you’re away from your regular responsibilities. Say goodbye to stress and hello to fun!
  4. Go to the movies. When the sizzling temps of July make it next to impossible to de-stress with time outdoors, enjoy some air-conditioned relaxation in your local movie theater. Seeing a movie on the big screen is a treat in itself, but go ahead and splurge on snacks too. Get away from it all and enjoy the adventure.
  5. Browse the shelves at your local library or favorite bookstore. Give yourself permission to do this leisurely as you savor the quiet atmosphere. Set stress aside and explore all that the room has to offer. Take joy in your new discoveries.
  6. Take a swim or play in the sprinklers. No better time than July to jump in the pool—or pond or river or ocean—and let the water wash your cares away. Or if you’re like me and swimming is not your thing, cool off in the sprinklers. That’s right, become a kid again—and yes, grab one or two or ten while you’re at it—and enjoy dashing through the sprinklers. Don’t forget to open your mouth wide and grab a drink too. Remember, fun equals refreshment.
  7. Stir up some homemade ice cream. Ah, the delight of homemade ice cream during the heat of July. Definitely hard to beat. Add your favorite topping, cake, or pie and you take the delight up to a whole new level. Simply divine. And the simple pleasure it brings will provide just the soothing touch your frazzled spirit needs.

May these stress busters help you chill out in more ways than one, my friends. And as you do, lift your eyes to the heavens and offer thanks to God for the joys of life. They are all around!

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” Psalm 92:4 NIV

*Which of these stress busters most appeal to you right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out August 1st. 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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by yllek, Creative Commons License

7 June Stress Busters

Our first month of summer is before us—who’s ready to bust some stress? I’m certainly ready to lend a hand in that endeavor with the next installment in the year-long Stress Busters monthly blog series I’ve featured here since last September. I hope it’s been a great way for you to kick off each new month and that you’ve been inspired and helped by the ideas you’ve found here.

Since we would all like to experience some of that summertime easy livin’ that the old Gershwin song refers to, let’s consider the following June stress busters. May they help you set aside life’s pressures every now and then and relax and refresh instead!

7 June Stress Busters

  1. Listen to some music that helps you relax. For some that might mean classical music while others may find that classic rock helps them unwind better than anything else. If you haven’t done it yet, why not click on the link above and listen to Gershwin’s Summertime as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. That should do the trick!
  2. Take in a baseball game. Summer and baseball go hand in hand so be sure to get at least one taste of it this month. Whether Little League or your favorite professional team, leave your worries behind and enjoy an afternoon or evening of relaxing to America’s favorite pastime.
  3. Plan for fun on Father’s Day. Set aside responsibilities to focus on your family on this special day. Treat the dads in your life to whatever puts a smile on their faces. As you show love and receive it in return, you’ll find stress melting away.
  4. Relive fun summer memories. Take a break from the stress and demands of your life by looking through photos of past vacations, day trips, or family gatherings. Let those precious memories replace the worries of the day with smiles and laughter.
  5. Take advantage of pleasant nighttime temperatures and do some stargazing. Before it reaches the hottest part of the summer, take a walk in the moonlight or lie on a blanket in the yard and look up at the stars. Relax in the night sky’s beauty—and in the knowledge that the Creator of it all is watching over you.
  6. Grab a friend and go out for ice cream. Ice cream is one of the all-time favorite summer comfort foods so combine that with the company of a good friend and you’ve got the recipe for some sure-fire stress relief. Choose some sort of yummy chocolate flavor and you’ll take the stress relief to a whole new level!
  7. Take a drive or bike ride in the country and get away from it all. Enjoy the scenery and scents of country life. Stop along the way to walk and take photos. Capture the beauty of the open countryside—wildflowers, birds, the sky, farms, cattle, pastures, crops, ponds, and streams. Whatever catches your eye. Thank God for his marvels in creation and for refreshing your spirit.

I hope these stress busters keep you busy in the best possible way this month—busy relaxing and enjoying life and the Lord. Have a glorious June, my friends!

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3 NIV

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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 kla4067, Creative Commons License

Wedding Planning Help During May Blogging Break

Mother of the Bride, even though I’m not planning a wedding myself right now, I’ve found that May is always crazy busy for me so for the past few years, I’ve been taking a blogging break the last half of May. When things get too busy, it’s always good to step back and rest from a few responsibilities as we can, isn’t it?

I’ll return with regular weekly posts on June 5th, but in the meantime I’ll leave with you some wedding planning help. Here are three resources for you:

  1. Look through the list of Favorite Posts on the sidebar and click the links to the ones that spark your interest. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find the sidebar items.)
  2. Use the drop-down feature in the Archives to spot some posts that might be especially helpful to you at this stage in your Mother of the Bride journey. You’ll find the Archives on the sidebar too so use the directions above to find it if you’re on a mobile device.
  3. Check out my Pinterest page. Among other things, it features eighteen wedding-related boards!

I hope you find these resources helpful over the next couple of weeks. Have fun looking through everything—and don’t forget to share all your favorite finds with your daughter!

*Flickr photo by Silvia SalaCreative Commons License

Beautiful Bible Passage Plus May Blogging Break

Hey friends, my last-half-of-May blogging break tradition is on again this year! As I’ve said in the past, since for most of us May proves to be the second busiest month of the year after December, wisdom tells me to slow things down where I can. And blogging is one place where I can do that.

I’ll be back with regular weekly posts on June 5, but in the meantime, let me leave you with a beautiful passage from the Word of God. Think of these words this spring and summer when you look up at the skies or gaze at mountain views or take a dip in the ocean. Remember, God’s love is vast. It cannot be measured. And best of all, it’s for all of us!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:5-9 NIV

*How has God shown you his love this month?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. 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.)

*My photo

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