Only ten things? I know. I had twenty last year.

This has been a stressful year, filled with transitions and change. Change is not a favored activity for most humans. We tend to form habits (to save energy) patterns and ruts, and when major changes occur, stress happens. This leads me to #1:

#1: Stress is a good thing.

Yeah, you aren't going to hear this from too many therapists, but I'm a fan of challenges. I've always believed that growth occurs in the persuit of something, in stretching toward something, in adapting to a wound or setback.

Renaissance Man, who's a woodwork artist as well as photographer, recently bought a ton (literally) of windfall koa wood. He's told me the best pieces are always in the notches where branches meet the trunk, because the stress of the wind and elements blowing against the branches creates strong and powerful ripples deep within the wood. These “armpits” are where the prize wood is, that curly koa that (sold by the inch not the foot) for use in jewelry, musical instruments and treasure boxes.

Taylor Swift's famous guitar is made out of very stressed-out koa.

I find the human metaphor of that to be true. Stress tempering creates beauty, if we let it.

#2: Enjoy your kids, even if they're brats, while you have them at home.

You never believe, when you're raising them, how fast it will all be over–leaving just a clunky clay lion, handprints in the cement of the garage, some photos, and a big cell phone bill.

#3: Relationships with adult children are different.

Very different. I'll blog on that whenever the hell I figure it out. If I ever figure it out.

#4: Dogs are wonderful.

Rescue dogs fill the "empty nest."

God gave them to replace the missing children. (at least for me)

#5: Even when you do what you love, too much of a good thing can lead to burnout.

Following my inspirational blog, was a 55 hour work week doing therapy and working at a school. I can't even speak at the end of the day I'm so tired and sick of people. (Dogs are also good for this.)

#6: Put energy into your marriage and keep it going if you possibly can.

A spate of couples, family work and therapy with kids of divorce have driven home to me that the grass is very seldom greener on the divorced side. The trade-off of spouses, dating scene while middle aged, blended families… Talk about stressful.

But I guess my anecdotal evidence is tainted by the pool of respondents- happy divorced people don't end up in my office for therapy. Are there happy divorced people? Please chime in! I need some success stories!

#7: Wear exercise shoes all the time.

It makes it easy to choose stairs, bounce on a tramp with kids, and generally tell myself my ass is getting smaller.

#8: Turn off the office lights for a mini-rest.

Working with autistic kids has sharpened my awareness of how to alter mental states using simple sensory changes. Lowering the overhead lights almost immediately lowers the heart rate. This kind of strategy, used carefully, can help keep energy on an even keel throughout the workday.

#9: Do some small thing every day toward your dreams.

Go inside yourself and find what you want. Then make a list. I like to use checkboxes.

Identify your dreams/goals. Then do something toward them every day. Fill out a form. Write in your journal. Get that tax ID license. Then, no matter how bad the day is, you know you took a step closer to your destiny.

#10: Anticipate success.

Even if you don't believe in “The Secret”, it takes the same amount of mental energy to worry as to imagine what you want to see happen. Discipline your mind to anticipate success. At the very least it will improve your mood and health more than worry.

My iphonograpy is getting better with constant practice and a desire to master it.

Join My Email Book List

Receive not one but two welcome gift ebooks! For crime thriller and mystery lovers, you can download book 2 in the award winning Lei Crime series FREE.
If you love romance, join my romance list and receive book one in the Somewhere Series, Somewhere on St. Thomas. Join now and stay up to date on sales, new releases, freebies, and giveaways!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Sign up for my romance newsletter and I'll send you a link to download Somewhere on St. Thomas as a FREE welcome gift!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you a link to download Torch Ginger as a FREE welcome gift

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Author Coaching

Join Toby's author coaching newsletter for tips and news for your writing journey!

You have Successfully Subscribed!