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Let the quiet in ...

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Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 5:21 pm

Years ago, when two of my employees were forced to step up their game in a big way due to a staff shortage that lasted a couple of months, I decided to do something nice for them and bought them gift certificates to get massages at a local spa. Yes, they were just doing their jobs, and yes, they got some overtime pay for it. But they worked hard and well and without complaint. You don't find employees like that every day. I wanted to do something personal for them because I felt that they performed beautifully just to please me.

Which it did.

So I bought gift certificates for massages and said to my husband "I wish someone would buy me a gift certificate for a massage." I said it as a hint, and he took it one step farther and said "Why don't you just schedule a massage and go get one?"

Wow. I can do that? Who knew?

So I did. And I've done it quite a few times since then. And manicures and pedicures and facials. Necessary? Probably not. Extravagant? Some may say so. Do I deserve it? Absolutely. Do most women deserve to be pampered occasionally? Without a doubt.

I might sound sexist in excluding men in this conversation, but I can only speak for women. Especially working women. Working women with a lot on their plates.

I've recently been deemed the doer of all things physical in my house because my husband is nursing a problem with his foot and is forced to stay off his feet as much as possible.

Since he's retired he usually does everything around the house so that I don't have to. Which is awesome because he does a lot. So now, I'm finding pockets of time I didn't know I had and doing stuff I usually don't have to think about.

Not that I'm complaining about this because I'm not. He would do it for me in a heartbeat. In fact, he has done it for me. Believe me, this is harder for him than it is for me.

But the bottom line is, I'm kinda pooped out.

So Saturday I had a facial and a stress-relief massage and a movie night with my best dear friend. We drank wine and stayed up late and on Sunday I got my hands dirty in the garden, soaked in the spa and napped.

I can't even describe how good all that felt during a very busy time.

But don't think that you have to take on an extra project or go an extra mile to deserve some down time and stress relief. Lots of us don't realize we're stressed out until we stop to take a breath. And stress relief doesn't have to cost money. It could be as simple as a quiet afternoon with a book, a soak in the tub, a walk around the block, a conversation with a good friend - or just soaking your feet in something fizzy. Just disconnect and decompress.

Stress does have its place in our lives. It gets things done. It helps make decisions. It keeps us on our toes. And it can also do very bad things. You don't need me to remind you of things like insomnia, weakened immune systems and general snappishness.

So don't wait until you're ready to snap. Don't keep pushing yourself until you can't see straight. Take a breath now. Plan a lazy day. Make it soon.

You deserve it.