By Laura Lifshitz
We all have tough times in which we feel as if we will never resurface to the other “peaceful” and happy side. We all have times in which the hits seem to keep coming and the hell seems never-ending. It is hard to summon hope and sustain a positive outlook in the middle of strife, stress, and disappointment. Keeping your thoughts positive when you’re basically sitting in the middle of a metaphorical pile of crap isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
At some point, when you’re feeling stressed, you need to take matters into your own hands and find ways to shut out the madness and bask in some quiet time and peace.
For me, I have a few places that I turn to for stress relief, peace and quiet and a break from reality. As a single parent whose job is to provide emotional and financial stability for my daughter, I feel it is in my job title to maintain my own emotional health. Ultimately, as parents we need to teach our kids how to cope with emotions and tough times, so never, ever, ever feel selfish for taking care of yourself. Like the old airplane adage, if you don’t have your emergency mask on, how can you put your child/children’s mask/s on?
Here are my go-to places when I need “Serenity Now…”
Although I don’t live quite as close as I used to, the beach is a place of peace and quiet for me, whether I am bundled up taking a walk on the boardwalk, or sitting under an umbrella in a bikini watching the waves go by. The sound of the ocean, the size of the ocean, the reminder that something, this planet, is way bigger and more complex than myself or any problems I may have truly keeps me grounded. The feeling of the water on my toes. Grabbing seashells and looking for sea glass. The beach is a place where I can shut out the noise and nonsense and be reminded that life was once simple and that there is so much beauty in our existence.
Whether I enter the library and exit with books or decide to sit and stay, simply selecting a good book and the smell of it is a peaceful place for me. A story is a place where I can lose myself and not return until I decide I am ready to address the reality around me. I can get caught up in 19th century fiction, memoirs, modern fiction, children’s books or what have you and forget for a little while my struggles and stressors.
The smell of sweat and must are not exactly my favorite scents, but the exertion and movement, the manual labor of fatiguing my muscles is an amazing place I turn to when I need to center myself, day in and day out. A great workout is like a primer to the rest of my day: without it, nothing can stick, stay or exist. It’s like I’m floating in the air. A workout keeps me tied to the ground as I need to be, but also inspired thanks to those feel-good hormones released when I sweat.
My Bench & Neighborhood
In my front yard, I have a bench I love to sit on and read. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but it’s there throughout each season. And when I just want to walk away from it all but know that I certainly can’t, I love strolling around my neighborhood—or running, enjoying the fresh air and the quiet.
No matter who you are or where you are in your life mentally and also physically, it’s important to carve out spaces where you can find a bit of sanity in this insane and confusing world. One thing is for sure: life always changes and stress is always present. It’s up to you to manage it and make sense of the chaos!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.