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

7 May Stress Busters

Happy May to one and all! Not only does the arrival of a new month have us looking at what’s in store in the weeks ahead, but here on my blog it signals it’s time for the next installment in my year-long Stress Busters blog series. Fingers crossed that you look forward to each one!

Since I started sharing the stress busters last September—and with the way time is flying—it won’t be long until I’ve completed the full set of month-appropriate stress busters. I so hope they have blessed you.

The month of May is often second only to December in its busy factor so I pray the following May stress busters will provide the refreshment you may need. Here’s to making it through May with interludes of peace and joy in the midst of the end-of-the-school-year dashing to and fro. Be blessed my friends!

May Stress Busters

  1. Since April showers bring May flowers, soak up the beauty and fragrance of flowers at least one day this month. Go for a walk through a flower garden or a park that features a generous display of flowers. Or if you have the chance, visit a botanical garden. Let the amazing and delicate wonder of flowers refresh your spirit.
  2. In spite of the extremely busy schedule you may have this month, take time each day to be with God. Whether looking up to the heavens or kneeling before him, spend moments in praise and worship. Talk to him, telling him all of your concerns. Hear his voice as you read his Word. Commune with the Father and let him fill you with peace and joy.
  3. If your mother is still with you, treat yourself (and her!) to a visit or a nice long phone call or FaceTime session at some point around Mother’s Day. Mothers are often our best encouragers so let her love, support, and encouragement minister to your soul. If this isn’t possible with your mom for some reason, do it with another one of the great encouragers in your life.
  4. Be intentional about taking rest. Schedule it on the calendar if necessary. It may mean leaving Saturday mornings open so you can sleep in. Or you may need to say no to Sunday afternoon commitments so you can luxuriate in the all-important Sunday afternoon nap. For others, it may be blocking off time to relax with a good book or a round of golf. Whatever form it takes, provide yourself with respites of rest.
  5. Join in the celebrations of May (end of school year, graduations, weddings, etc.) or create one of your own. Not only accept that invitation to a party, but decide to celebrate something—no matter how big or small—that’s going on in your own life. Let celebrations provide joy in the midst of the pressures of life.
  6. Like December, May is another good month to opt for simple meals. Take a few hours early in the month one day and prepare some freezer meals or go outside and grill up a variety of meat to keep handy in the freezer. For other days, plan to fix your easiest meals or take advantage of your favorite take-out places. Ease your stress with no hassle meal prep this month.
  7. With Memorial Day in mind, spend some time writing down or recording on video some of your favorite memories and stories of loved ones who have passed. Our memories savored internally are wonderful, but wouldn’t it be great to have some of them recorded for yourself and others? Don’t make this harder than it is—relax and let your memories spill out of a heart of love. This interlude from present day demands will be good for your soul. 

May these stress-busting ideas help you relax and refresh during the whirlwind otherwise known as May. Blessings to you, my friends!

“‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV

*Which of these stress busters would you like to try this month?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. 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.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo — featuring my darling grandson Isaiah :)

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

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

Mother of the Bride Relaxation Time—with Coloring!

broadstreet-coloring-books

Mother of the Bride, I’m sure you’ve noticed the adult coloring book craze that’s swept the nation the past year or so. I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon myself yet, but I know lots of folks have and are thoroughly enjoying relaxing through coloring.

Since relaxation is something every mother of the bride longs for (and needs to work into her schedule), why not try coloring, MOB? If you enjoyed coloring as a kid, I bet you’ll love it now, too. And if you didn’t really care about coloring in your younger years, you could still give it a try. After all, we change as we grow older and often develop new hobbies and interests.

Adult coloring books can be found almost anywhere books or crafts are sold now, both in stores and online. BroadStreet Publishing, the publisher of my book Mother of the Bride, is one of many publishers offering adult coloring books. The photo above shows a few of the ones they offer—The 5 Love Languages® coloring book, Beside Still Waters, Cattitudes, and This Is the Day the Lord Has Made.

If you’re ready to relax and refresh through coloring, MOB, here are links to the coloring books BroadStreet offers as well as some links to the coloring books my blogging and artist friend Jana Botkin offers on her website. Hope you find one you’d like to try!

Majestic Expressions coloring books by BroadStreet Publishing

Heart of the Parks by Jana Botkin

Other “Heart Of . . .” coloring books by Jana Botkin

*You might also like to read Relax and Refresh with This Wedding Story and An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun! 

mob-meme-relax-and-refresh

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early November. One current or new subscriber will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photo courtesy of BroadStreet Publishing