Smiles Matter and Won’t Cost You a Dime!

To be avoided if possible: perfect gifts, kitchen slavery, mandatory cheerfulness. “Friends and family” is a familiar phrase this time of year, but not everyone has family or friends that can or even want to spend time together. Advertising and social media makes it...

Reducing Stress One Dance Step at a Time

The lineup at the water fountain was longer than usual tonight. Salsa dancing requires frequent gulping. It was the second session of my new dance class, and this time the instructor knew to schedule a break. Perhaps she saw our tongues hanging out, like dogs panting...

Have You Met Your Stress Quota?

Adrenaline is a good thing. It is, after all, what gets you to slam on the brakes when the car in front of you stops short or a toddler’s ball bounces into the street. I needed to remind myself recently that bodies are only designed to handle it in the small doses...

Sleep, Ahhh Precious Sleep

I put a sock on my clock. Crazy, right? But the last motel room I stayed in had a clock beside the bed that lit up the whole room. A sock was just right. When I needed to know the time, I just reach over and lifted the toe. No doubt the maid thought we were mad, but...

Bad Mood Reversed. Stress Averted!

Have you ever had a bad day? When you couldn’t smile if your life depended on it? Then something happened to turn your mind around? What a miracle machine our minds are. My brain worked this magic recently and I’m grateful. Yesterday — from beginning to end — the...

Taming Ducks is a Relief

Is there a difference between the words “easy” and “simple”? Or between “little” and “small”? They seemingly mean the same thing, but how do the words hit you when you hear them? Say, for instance, in the title of a book purchase you’re considering. In lives of...

DIY Stress Therapy: Music

I have a secret. It’s been forever stashed in the I-hate-housework category, but it’s confession time. Yesterday I forced myself to clean the floors for the first time in a month and actually enjoyed it. Impossible you say? Nay nay, I say. Turns out that playing music...

Stress: A Refresher Course

The word “stress” is so overused that the concept can slide through your brain with barely a notice. A life full of it is our new norm, really, but not much time is spent thinking about what all this stress is actually doing to our bodies. And it’s a lot. As the sun...

Coping with Stress Just an eBook Away

Good news for those who like reading their books on electronic devices. My first book, A Patchwork of Comforts, is now out in eBook format. Personally, I’m still stuck on holding that collection of pages in my lap. There’s just something about the feel of a book and...

Paying Attention to Wake-up Calls

Nothing wakes you up faster or more urgently than a phone call at 4am from a neighbor saying, “I think something’s wrong. My leg won’t work. Please come.” Nothing wakes you up faster than a cry for help and the unknown scenarios racing through your head. I answered...